Photo credit: National Geographic/Richard DuCree
Today, National Geographic and Fox 21 Television Studios released a first look photo of triple threat Tony-, Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning Cynthia Erivo ("Harriet," "The Color Purple") as Aretha Franklin during the GENIUS: ARETHA start of production. "Over the last few months, I've been preparing myself to embody the Queen of Soul, from relistening to her music to discovering her rare interviews and reading some amazing books on her - all to really capture Aretha's attitude and spirit," said Erivo. "I'm truly humbled to be working alongside a very talented and musical team. Together, we'll serve the Queen and create something special."
The ensemble cast includes Courtney B. Vance ("The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story") as C.L. Franklin, David Cross ("Goliath,","Arrested Development") as Jerry Wexler, Malcolm Barrett ("Timeless," "Preacher") as Ted White, Patrice Covington (Broadway's "The Color Purple") as Erma Franklin, Kimberly Hébert Gregory ("Vice Principals") as Ruth Bowen, Rebecca Naomi Jones ("The Big Sick") as Carolyn Franklin and Sanai Victoria ("Black-ish") as Little Re. The eight-part limited series will premiere on National Geographic in May 2020 in 172 countries and in 43 languages.