The first trailer for the upcoming Harriet Tubman historical biography, Harriet, is here and, yeah, you could say it’s going to win some awards (or at least snag some nominations).
A quick history lesson: Tubman, who was born into slavery circa 1820, was one of the most important American abolitionists and political activists during the Civil War and antebellum period. After escaping slavery, she went on to free about 300 slaves in a ten-year period using the Underground Railroad; during the war she served as a cook, nurse and armed spy. After the Emancipation Proclamation and toward the end of her life, Tubman became involved in the women’s suffrage movement.
Directed by Kasi Lemmons (Eve's Bayou), Harriet follows Tubman as she escapes from the South to Philadelphia; her return trips along the Underground Railroad (when she rescued her family and other slaves); and her involvement in the early days of the Civil War as a member of the Union Army. It starts Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale) as the titular character, alongside Leslie Odom Jr. (of Hamilton fame), Janelle Monáe and Joe Alwyn (The Favourite).
And while there was some initial backlash for casting a British actress and non-descendant of slavery, Erivo spoke on the decision in an Instagram post, saying, “[I] guess there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was. That can not be had in an Instagram post, [but] what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly. I hope that I do everyone, even those who are in doubt or are upset, proud. I hope I quell your fears, because I understand that is what it is. I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story.”
Harriet has a release date of November 1, 2019.