Yesterday (September 13), Focus Features announced that it is creating “Harriet,” a feature film on the life of Harriet Tubman, the Black woman who escaped slavery in 1849 and returned to the south to free more than 700 others from bondage.
The film will follow Tubman as she escapes slavery and runs missions on the Underground Railroad. Cynthia Erivo (“Widows”) will play the lead role. She’ll be joined by Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”) and Clarke Peters (“Love Is_”). Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”) will direct from a screenplay she wrote with Gregory Allen Howard (“Ali”).
“I’m so excited, humbled, inspired and deeply grateful to be on this journey with such exceptionally talented people. More to come!” Lemmons tweeted yesterday.
“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,” producers Debra Martin Chase (“Sparkle”) and Daniela Taplin Lundberg (“Beasts of No Nation”) said in a statement. “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 U.S. history.”
No release date is available for the film at press time, but Focus says it will be distributed worldwide.