Who Is Cynthia Erivo? About The Actress Playing Aretha Franklin – Hollywood Life

Cynthia Erivo: 5 Things To Know About The Actress Playing Aretha Franklin In ‘Genius’ Series

Cynthia Erivo is playing the legendary Aretha Franklin in the series 'Genius: Aretha.' Here's everything you need to know about Cynthia.

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Image Credit: National Geographic

Cynthia Erivo, 34, is one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood today. The British actress can be seen next in the highly-anticipated limited series Genius: Aretha, which premieres March 21 on National Geographic. But she’s not just a TV star. She’s also a renowned stage and movie star as well.

In just a few short years, Cynthia has become one of the most sought-after actresses. She has already been recognized for her immense talents at the Tonys, Golden Globes, and Oscars. HollywoodLife has 5 key things you need to know about Cynthia.

Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin in ‘Genius: Aretha.’ (National Geographic)

1. Cynthia takes on the role of Aretha Franklin in ‘Genius: Aretha’

Cynthia plays the iconic singer Aretha Franklin in the third season of the anthology series Genius. The 8-episode limited series, which will air over the course of 4 consecutive nights, will chronicle Aretha’s rise to fame. “Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” Cynthia said in a statement. “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. What I know and have learned about what my voice, as an artist, can do and the power in it has been highly influenced by Franklin. I feel privileged and excited to be a part of the sharing of her genius.” Like Aretha, Cynthia has one incredible voice and will be performing some of Aretha’s hits!

2. Cynthia was a double nominee at the 2020 Oscars.

The actress was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Harriet Tubman in Harriet. She received a second Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for “Stand Up,” a song Cynthia co-wrote and performed for the film. She was also nominated twice at the 2020 Golden Globes.

Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Erivo at the 2020 Oscars. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

3. She is an award-winning Broadway star. 

Cynthia gained nationwide attention for her role as Celie in the Broadway production of The Color Purple alongside Jennifer Hudson. Her performance earned her the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She also shared the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album with her castmates. In addition to The Color Purple on Broadway, Cynthia starred in the West End productions of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical.

4. She made her film debut in 2018. 

Cynthia’s first film role was in the 2018 movie Bad Times at the El Royale. She starred alongside Chris Hemsworth and Dakota Johnson. That same year, she also starred in Widows, which she technically filmed before Bad Times at the El Royale. Harriet, which earned her two Oscar nominations, was only her third feature film! She recently starred in the film Chaos Walking and will play the Blue Fairy in the upcoming live-action adaptation of Pinocchio.

5. ‘Aretha’ isn’t her first TV role. 

Cynthia starred as Holly Gibney in the 2020 HBO series The Outsiders, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel. She has also appeared on shows like Mr. Selfridge and Broad City.