Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo has been cast as the title role in National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha. The third season of the anthology series, which explores the lives and accomplishments of famous icons like Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, will center on the Queen of Soul and is set to begin production next month. It will be the first-ever authorized scripted series about the Grammy-winning singer.
“Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” Erivo told Variety. “Her strength, passion and soul are evident in her everlasting legacy, not only as a transcendent artist, but as a humanitarian and civil rights icon. To have the opportunity to bring her legacy to life and show the fullness of her being, her humanity and brilliance, is an honor.” Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in the upcoming biopic Harriet, and she has won a Tony Award for her work in The Color Purple on Broadway.
The new season of Genius will feature some of Franklin’s most popular songs, including “Chain of Fools,” “Don’t Play That Song,” and “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You).”