Courtney B. Vance To Star Alongside Cynthia Erivo As Aretha Franklin In Nat Geo's 'Genius'

November 7th 2019

Courtney B. Vance is the latest star to join Cynthia Erivo in the third season of National Geographic's anthology series, Genius: Aretha.

The cast also includes Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Sanai Victoria.

The latest Genius installment is being billed as "the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul." Brian Grazer and Ron Howard executive produce the series, which is from Imagine Television and Fox 21. Suzan-Lori Parks is the showrunner and an executive producer.  An April 2020 premiere date has been scheduled for the newest season. The first two seasons of Genius focused on Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein.

Here's the official description: Genius dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators, exploring their extraordinary achievements along with their volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. The third season of the anthology series will explore Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. Grammy Award winner Franklin was a gospel prodigy and outspoken civil rights champion and is widely considered to be the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career.

Vance will portray Aretha's father, C.L. Franklin, "an influential reverend and civil rights activist. The description of the character states, "A star in his own right, C.L.’s legendary sermons were published and sold in record stores and broadcast on a weekly radio show, and he booked national ministry tours and public appearances. C.L. had a close but fraught relationship with his daughter and supported her throughout her career, most notably when he encouraged her transition from singing gospel to more popular genres."

“It’s an honor to join the Genius: Aretha team, and to bring to life the magnificent story of the Queen of Soul, an amazing woman who my wife, Angela, and I loved dearly. Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin, had a profound impact on her trajectory from a girl in a gospel choir to a global phenomenon--both in a good way and a bad way. I’m eager to dive into his story, and to have the tremendous opportunity to work with the undeniable talents of Suzan-Lori Parks and Cynthia Erivo. And I’m always excited to work with Anthony Hemingway," said Vance.

READ MORE:

Cynthia Erivo To Star In 'Genius: Aretha' Scripted Limited Series From Suzan-Lori Parks At Nat Geo

Courtney B. Vance Named New President Of SAG-AFTRA Foundation

Photo: Getty Images 

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