Have your first look at Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul in the first teaser for Nat Geo’s “Genius: Aretha.” Watch it above now.
The clip is set to air on Nat Geo’s sister broadcast network ABC during Sunday’s Oscars telecast to promote the upcoming season of the anthology ahead of its May premiere.
Led by Ervio, who is nominated for multiple Oscars for her role in the Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet,” “Genius: Aretha” is the third installment of the Nat Geo anthology dramatizing the lives of histories greatest innovators.
“Genius: Aretha” will premiere on Nat Geo across four consecutive nights, beginning Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. Per Nat Geo, the eight-part series will “explore Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career — and the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world.”
Joining Erivo in the series is an ensemble cast including Courtney B. Vance, David Cross, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones and Sanai Victoria. Suzan-Lori Parks is showrunner on the new season, with Anthony Hemingway executive producing and directing. Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with MWM Studio’s Rachel Shane and Gigi Pritzker also return as executive producers.
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Although many biopics are formulaic enterprises, hitting familiar beats as the subject rises and falls and falls in love and writes that really popular song, they’re a vital element of the entertainment industry. Biopics allow filmmakers to humanize our myths, mythologize our contemporaries, re-evaluate history at a fundamentally human level and catalogue our present so that future generations can understand what the hell we are going through. It’s been an entire decade full of great biopics, too many to fit in a conventional list, but when all is said and done, we have to call these the 10 absolutely essential films in the genre from the 2010s.