As Cynthia Erivo is on a roll with Widows and Bad Times at The El Royale, it seems only right that Focus Features has set production on the Harriet Tubman biopic which has her attached.
The Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner will star as Tubman. The cast has added Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles and Clarke Peters.
Kasi Lemmons will direct from screenplay she co-wrote with Gregory Allen Howard.
Debra Martin Chase, under her Martin Chase Productions, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, with Stay Gold Features and Gregory Allen Howard will be producers.
The film will begin production this October in Virginia.
The logline: Based on the story of iconic freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, Harriet follows Tubman on her escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity.
“This is the story of a seemingly powerless woman who accomplished the extraordinary to save her loved ones, and in the process became a leader of and inspiration for her people,” said producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg. “While Harriet Tubman is a household name, most people don’t know the breadth of her story - not only was she a conductor on the Underground Railroad, but she was a spy for the Union army and remains one of the few women to have led an armed expedition in US history.”
“Tubman’s courageous life and the scope of her bravery is truly made to be told on the big screen. The countless lives she saved, during a time of such hatred and danger to herself, can be described only as heroic,” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “We’re thrilled to be working with this incredibly talented group of filmmakers led by Kasi, Debra, Daniela, and Greg and this multi-talented group of actors in bringing Tubman’s life to film.”
Both Focus Features and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide.
It was initially reported, when the project was first announced, that MACRO was one of the financiers (with MACRO's Charles D. King as an EP) and that Seith Mann would direct. While this is no longer the case, original producers Chase, Lundberg and Howard (also co-scripting) remain.