Harriet Tubman Biopic Releases Trailer Before November Premiere

The first official trailer of the Harriet Tubman biopic was recently released with actress Cynthia Erivo staring in the leading role. Harriet chronicles the life of the brave abolitionist who escaped enslavement in the South only to return and bring dozens of enslaved people to freedom in the North. “Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes,” the film’s official synopsis reads. “Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.”

Born on a Maryland plantation sometime around 1820, Tubman daringly escaped from the South but returned to free other enslaved people as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. Reports claim that Tubman helped free up to 300 people, but she maintained that the number was much smaller.

Tubman is believed to have led at least 70 enslaved people to freedom by herself. “I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.”

The brave abolitionist — who befriended The North Star’s original founder Frederick Douglass, abolitionist Thomas Garrett who provided financial support to the Underground Railroad, and women’s rights activist Martha Coffin Wright — was also a nurse, Union spy, and a supporter of women’s suffrage.

The biopic will follow Tubman’s amazing escape and her tremendous work on the Underground Railroad. “God don’t mean people to own people,” 32-year-old Erivo says in the trailer. “I will give every last drop of blood in my veins until this monster called slavery is dead.”

Producers Debra Martin Chase and Daniela Taplin Lundberg told Slash Film that the film is “the story of a seemingly powerless woman who accomplished the extraordinary to save her loved ones and in the process became a leader of and the inspiration for her people.”

The producers added, “While Harriet Tubman is a household name, most people don’t know the breadth of her story — not only was she a conductor on the Underground Railroad, but she was a spy for the Union army and remains one of the few women to have led an armed expedition in US history.” Harriet stars Erivo, alongside Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monáe, Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, and Clarke Peters. The film was directed by Black Nativity director Kasi Lemmons and written by Lemmons and Remember the Titans writer Gregory Allen Howard. It was produced by Charles D. King’s MACRO, New Balloon, and Stay Gold Features.

The film will have a score composed by Oscar-nominated musician Terence Blanchard (BlackKkKlansman), costumes created by Emmy-winning designer Paul Tazewell (The Wiz Live!), and cinematography by two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer John Toll (Legends of the Fall, Braveheart), according to EW.

The biopic, which is slated to hit theaters on November 1, is already getting awards buzz. Esquire predicted that Erivo could be a favorite during the 2020 award season. Erivo, who starred in Bad Times at the El Royale, just needs an Academy Award to complete an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). She already won a Daytime Emmy, Grammy, and a Tony for her performance as Celie in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple in 2015.

In national politics, there is a push to place Tubman on the $20 bill, replacing President Andrew Jackson who owned 150 enslaved people. However, the Trump administration halted the plan in May. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the Treasury Department would not revisit the option to replace Jackson until 2026.

“The primary reason we’ve looked at redesigning the $20 bill is for counterfeiting issues,” Mnuchin told Congress. “Based upon this, the new $20 bill will now not come out until 2028.” The administration’s decision prompted a civil disobedience project aptly called the Tubman Stamp by New York graphic designer Dano Wall. People can purchase 3D printed stamps of Tubman’s face and stamp her image over Jackson’s on the $20 bill. Wall told The North Star that he was flooded with orders for the stamp following Mnuchin’s announcement.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.