Friday, July 30, 2021

Kasi Lemmons Talks Directing Cynthia Erivo in ‘Harriet’ [VIDEO]

*Acclaimed director Kasi Lemmons is speaking out about working with Nigerian actress Cynthia Erivo, who is set to star in the titular role of “Harriet.”

The film is “tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history,” per Rotten Tomatoes.

Lemmons and Erivo worked hard to present an authentic picture of the legendary abolitionist, per Deadline

“I can remember you being at my house and [talking about], ‘Look at her face to face, and her mouth, and her eyes, and really study her, and try and channel her,’ which you did amazingly,” Lemmons told Erivo at Deadline’s TIFF studio. “I mean, from the first moment that first day. I mean, I felt it so deeply.”

“I knew that I could cry, sob, ugly cry with her,” Erivo said of working with Lemmons. “She didn’t mind me doing that, which meant the world to me, which just gave me the space to discover her movement, her body, where she was, the mindset, the way she would speak. We talked about, ‘Where are we placing her vocal resonance? Where are we putting her, in speech? What’s her pace?’ Those kinds of things. And those are the things that really matter to me, because I feel like those are the things that make a human, human—everyone’s rhythm, everyone’s sound.”

Leslie Odom Jr., who plays famed Underground Railroad conductor William Still, noted how he bagged the role thanks to his friendship with Erivo and producer Debra Martin Chase.

“I got roped in by some very strong women,” he said. “My friend Cyntha Erivo, and Debra. I just kept hearing about this project from different people that I cared about, and then when Kasi came on, it was a no-brainer for me. I just wanted to be a part of this moment and this movement, to help tell this woman’s story with these powerful women.”

Scroll up and watch the trio dish about the project via the clip above. 

“Harriet” hits theaters in limited release on Nov 1, 2019.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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