• Today
    November 21

  • 11:31 AM

Movie tells different story about Harriet Tubman

REUTERS,

Added 03 November 2019

cynthia-erivo-as-harriet-tubman

British born actress Cynthia Erivo has been cast as Harriet Tubman. (GP)

NEW YORK – When director Kasi Lemmons started work on the first major movie about Harriet Tubman, the 19th Century slave turned hero of the Underground Railway, she decided to focus less on the brutality of slavery and more on human stories.

“I really felt that I wanted to speak about a different kind of violence, which was family separation, which I hadn’t seen as much of but is very much the Harriet Tubman story and what she was motivated by,” said Lemmons.

He co-wrote the screenplay for Harriet, which opened in U.S. movie theatres on Friday.

“This image of her sisters being taken away, her brother having to leave his wife right after childbirth, her sister saying, ‘no, I can’t leave my children’; the choices that people had to make and the fact that she was motivated to go back to rescue her family,” Lemmons added.

Tubman was born into slavery in the early 1800s in Maryland. As a young adult, she escaped slavery by running nearly 100 miles through forests and fields. She then risked her life several times to return to Maryland and lead dozens of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad.

The petite, 5 foot-tall Tubman is played by Cynthia Erivo, a London-born actress with Nigerian parents who won a Tony award in 2016 for her lead role in the Broadway revival of the musical The Color Purple.

The casting of a British actress to play a woman seen as an African-American icon has caused controversy in the United States, but Lemmons said she thought Tubman’s story “was big enough to share”.

Lemmons said she was struck by Erivo’s “physical stature and her athleticism and her singing voice and those cheekbones. ... I felt like, ‘Oh, I’m looking at somebody who really, really could make me believe it.’ And I really think that that’s what it’s about. I think the most service that I can do to this character is to bring, help bring this perfectly realistic performance.”

Erivo said she worked hard to capture Tubman’s physicality.

“It was really about finding the map of her face,” she said. “So we would look at pictures, discuss, you know, her downturned mouth, her eyes, how she would hold them, her body, where the tension was, try to find her voice. Because I knew I didn’t want her to sound like me.” (Reuters)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Will the placing of metal detectors in schools curb violence there?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM