Cynthia Erivo to play Arethan Franklin in Nat Geo's 'Genius'

Cynthia Erivo. (Getty Images)
Cynthia Erivo. (Getty Images)

Cape Town – National Geographic (DStv 181) has announced that Cynthia Erivo has been cast as Aretha Franklin in the anthology series Genius: Aretha.

The Tony, Emmy, and Grammy award-winning singer-actress will star in the first-ever authorised scripted limited series on the life of the Queen of Soul.

READ MORE: Aretha Franklin is Nat Geo's next Genius

Filming is expected to begin in November and will premiere in 2020.

According to a statement by the channel, the show will feature Aretha's hit songs including: I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), Chain of FoolsDon't Play That SongSince You've Been Gone and Baby I Love You.

"Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl," said Cynthia.

"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 honour. 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."

Aretha's niece Sabrina Owens said, "For Genius to honour Aretha is a great affirmation of her legacy, and Cynthia Erivo is an extraordinary talent with an amazing voice!"

Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht.