British actress Cynthia Erivo wants fans to move past the criticism surrounding her role as legendary African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, because it’s more important the biopic is a hit.
The Widows star portrays the anti-slavery activist in new movie Harriet, but her casting upset some who believed the job should have gone to an African-American.
Erivo is sympathetic to their views, but now the film is about to be released, she is convinced supporting the project is the best way to provide future opportunities for more women of color to put their spin on Tubman, who escaped slavery to help free others via the network of secret routes and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
“I understand that people would feel strongly about this woman (Tubman) because she means a lot to a lot of people,” Erivo said, “but I think the thing that is really important is this is the first time we’re getting to see her (story in Hollywood), and really and truly, I hope that people come out to support this, so we can make more.
“It’s not a story that should be told in one film, it’s definitely a story that lasts and lasts. She was 91 years old by the time that she died, and she did a lot of work in her time.”
“Hopefully this just opens doors for many other actresses,” she added.
Directed by Kasi Lemmons, Harriet also co-stars Joe Alwyn, Leslie Odom Jr., and Jennifer Nettles.