Jennifer Nettles Joins Upcoming Harriet Tubman Biopic
Nettles will appear in Harriet, an upcoming film from Focus Features. Tony Award winner Cynthia Erivo will portray Tubman in the film, and in addition to Nettles, the cast will include Tony and Grammy Award winner Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn and Clarke Peters. Their specific roles have not yet been revealed.
According to a statement announcing the project, Harriet "follows Tubman on her escape from slavery and subsequent missions to free dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity."
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Award-winning Eve's Bayou director Kasi Lemmons will direct Harriet, based on a screenplay she co-wrote with Gregory Allen Howard, the screenwriter behind Ali and Remember the Titans. Debra Martin Chase with Martin Chase Productions, Daniela Taplin Lundberg with Stay Gold Features and Gregory Allen Howard will serve as producers on the project, which also features cinematographer John Toll and costume designer Paul Tazewell. Focus Features President of Production Josh McLaughlin will oversee production.
"This 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 inspiration for her people,” Chase and Lundberg state. “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 U.S. history.”
“Tubman’s courageous life and the scope of her bravery is truly made to be told on the big screen. The countless lives she saved, during a time of such hatred and danger to herself, can be described only as heroic,” Focus Features Chairman Peter Kujawski adds. “We’re thrilled to be working with this incredibly talented group of filmmakers led by Kasi, Debra, Daniela, and Greg and this multi-talented group of actors in bringing Tubman’s life to film.”
Jennifer Nettles made her screen debut playing Dolly Parton's mother, Avie Lee Parton, in the 2015 TV movie Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors, and reprised the role in Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love in 2016. Prior to that, she appeared on Broadway in early 2015, starring as Roxie Hart in Chicago.
Harriet is slated to begin filming in Virginia in October of 2018.
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