Cynthia Erivo felt Harriet Tubman was ‘around’ while she filmed biopic

Cynthia Erivo felt like former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was “around” while she played her in the biopic Harriet.In the drama, the Widows actress portrays the famed slave liberator, who passed away in 1913, as she escapes from slaver…

Cynthia Erivo felt like former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was “around” while she played her in the biopic Harriet.

In the drama, the Widows actress portrays the famed slave liberator, who passed away in 1913, as she escapes from slavery and travels 100 miles on her own to safety in Philadelphia. However, she cannot find peace knowing her family and friends are still enslaved so she journeys back and forth to free them all, plus hundreds of others.

Tubman regularly speaks to God to ask for guidance and Erivo, who describes himself as a person of faith, prayed before going on set, where she felt the activist’s presence.

“(I prayed) to make the space safe and open for her because I feel as if Harriet is complicit in this storytelling. I feel that she’s around. It’s comforting to be able to reach into your faith to tell the story of somebody who has faith,” she told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

The production was physically demanding, with the British actress having to sprint through forests, jump off bridges and wade through rivers, but she kept it all in perspective by thinking of what Tubman went through in real-life.

“While we were on set, if anything got difficult there was a saying: ‘HTH’, which was ‘Harriet Tubman hard’. So, if it wasn’t Harriet Tubman hard, it was fine, we were going to get through it. And nothing was Harriet Tubman hard, so we always got through it,” the 32-year-old stated.

Harriet marks the third film role for Erivo, who is earning Oscars buzz for her performance.

The biopic, which also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae, and Joe Alwyn, is in cinemas now.

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Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki board Christopher Nolan’s next film

Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki are set to star in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film.In January (19), executives at Warner Bros. announced that the Interstellar director was working on an untitled project and set the release date for 17 July 202…

Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki are set to star in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film.

In January (19), executives at Warner Bros. announced that the Interstellar director was working on an untitled project and set the release date for 17 July 2020, with the movie also to be released in IMAX.

While all further details remain under wraps, with the feature currently only being described as an “event” film, editors at Collider reported on Wednesday (20Mar19) that High Life’s Pattinson will take on a lead role. Reporters at Variety have also claimed that Widows actress Debicki has landed a key role, with BlacKkKlansman star John David Washington, 34, previously attached.

No character details are known, though it is rumoured to be an “action blockbuster”. Nolan will be working on the film with his wife and collaborator, producer Emma Thomas.

Bosses at Warner Bros. previously reserved the same July slot for when Nolan unveiled Dunkirk in 2017, with the World War II feature about the Dunkirk evacuation – which featured Fionn Whitehead, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy – garnering eight Oscar nominations, including nods for Best Picture and Best Director.

The filmmaker, also known for making Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy, is not currently working on any other movies.

Pattinson, 32, has been busy in recent months shooting a number of films and is now in the post-production phases of Waiting for the Barbarians, The Lighthouse, and The King. He is also shooting The Devil All the Time and The Souvenir: Part II.

Meanwhile, 28-year-old Debicki has completed work on TV series Lovecraft Country and is next set to reprise the part of Ayesha in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3.

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Steve McQueen: ‘I deal with racism every day’

Widows director Steve McQueen has claimed he experiences racism every day.In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave director discussed the lack of Golden Globe nominations for his latest film, which is based on an …

Widows director Steve McQueen has claimed he experiences racism every day.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave director discussed the lack of Golden Globe nominations for his latest film, which is based on an ’80s British TV series about four women who plan a daring heist, and stars Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo.

When asked if he had experienced more racism since Brexit, when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, he scoffed: “Every day, mate. Yes, of course!… You deal with it. You have to or you go mad.”

The 49-year-old insisted that Britain has taken “two steps backwards”, blaming a rise in Nationalism for the hostile political climate. He also recounted a racist moment experienced by his mother when she was out shopping.

“She had a new credit card with her and was struggling to remember the pin. The guy behind the till said: ‘It’s four digits in this country,'” he recalled. “But the day before Brexit you wouldn’t have even thought about saying that. Apparently, you’re allowed to now.”

McQueen’s film, which received rave reviews in some quarters, was snubbed at the nominations for the Golden Globe, which is run by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

While many in the movie industry were shocked, the Hunger director was pragmatic about the omission.

“As an artist, you have your path and that’s fine. And sometimes the world won’t agree with you…,” he continued. “I’m here hopefully for a little while and will do my work. I’m just telling a story about four women trying to get their s**t together, about the environment in which we’re living, in a way that’s not high heels and handbags, that’s about human beings and full-on conversations.”

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Valentino plays with colour for debut co-ed pre-fall show in Tokyo

Valentino displayed an evolution of colour at its first-ever men’s and women’s pre-fall show.Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli chose to unveil his latest collection in Tokyo on Tuesday evening (27Nov18), having last hosted a presentation in Japan’s …

Valentino displayed an evolution of colour at its first-ever men’s and women’s pre-fall show.

Creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli chose to unveil his latest collection in Tokyo on Tuesday evening (27Nov18), having last hosted a presentation in Japan’s capital in 1982.

Guests included Widows actress Elizabeth Debicki and Chinese singer-songwriter Lay Zhang, who were treated to an explosion of colour and opulence by the Italian fashion house, while a four-piece string section and pianist created drama with a hypnotic soundtrack.

Against a futuristic grey backdrop, models, including 17-year-old Kaia Gerber, descended on the catwalk sticking entirely to a regal red palette.

Dark furry coats were layered over crepe pussy bow dresses, while the hue was also exuded through sheer capes, smart leather handbags, and casual lace-up brogues. The palette started to evolve through black and red floral prints, until all-black outfits became the next trend, complete with dark eyewear and streamlined hats.

Piccioli then started to incorporate white through monochrome pieces such as a creamy knitted jumper with a black crescent-style motif, before the palette shifted to a navy blue, later returning to black and coming full circle by concluding the presentation with frothy red evening gowns.

Pops of colour were implemented in the make-up, with some models flaunting icy blue matte lips or fiery red eyeliner. While the women’s wardrobe tended to stick to luxurious dresses, the menswear offering featured shirts, trousers, and jackets in casual cuts, paired with bold accessories like oversized feather hats, leather lanyards, and cool backpacks.

Later this week (ends02Dec), Kim Jones will also stage his Dior Homme pre-fall show in Tokyo, while Stuart Vevers will show his men’s and women’s Coach 1941 pre-fall collections in Shanghai, China on 8 December.

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Steve McQueen didn’t want Viola Davis wearing a wig in Widows

Director Steve McQueen denied Viola Davis’s request to wear a wig for her role in new heist movie Widows because he wanted the Oscar winner to be recognised onscreen. The Fences star portrays the wife of a veteran thief who is killed alongside his cre…

Director Steve McQueen denied Viola Davis’s request to wear a wig for her role in new heist movie Widows because he wanted the Oscar winner to be recognised onscreen.

The Fences star portrays the wife of a veteran thief who is killed alongside his crew in a job-gone-wrong, prompting their widows to step up and complete one last crime.

The movie, based on the 1983 British TV series of the same name, also features Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo as the other leading ladies, and McQueen was keen to incorporate aspects of their own experiences into the storyline, which at its heart, is a tale about female empowerment.

“(We discussed) all the things in our lives that we felt people didn’t see,” Viola explains to The Associated Press. “Like my femininity.”

That was partly why McQueen refused to let the actress cover up her natural hair with a wig, because he wanted Viola to stand out and prove that she is worthy of more leading lady roles.

She recalls McQueen telling her, “I know this woman. She just hasn’t been in the American cinema. So it’s about time we introduced her.”

The British director cannot understand why Viola isn’t being offered more big Hollywood projects, even though the How to Get Away with Murder star is an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony Award winner.

“She can only be judged by the films she gets to do,” he tells the outlet. “Don’t forget: she could not really make a living in film because no one was giving her any roles. She was not given an opportunity to fulfill her craft. So she had to go on television (for How to Get Away with Murder). Viola’s 53 years old. She should have a vast body of work by now.”

And while Viola is grateful for McQueen’s support, she refuses to feel bitter about her Hollywood journey.

“I sort of feel that (the same way as McQueen) sometimes. But I’m honoured that I’ve gotten to this point,” she says. “This is a very privileged life. I feel like if I sit here and I say, ‘I should have had more lead roles,’ some dissatisfaction with the moment – I can’t do that. I really can’t.”

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Steve McQueen begged Michelle Rodriguez to accept Widows role

Steve McQueen had to “literally beg” Michelle Rodriguez to say yes to a role in his new movie Widows after she kept turning it down.In the 12 Years A Slave director’s new crime thriller, The Fast and Furious actress is joined by Viola Davis, Elizabeth …

Steve McQueen had to “literally beg” Michelle Rodriguez to say yes to a role in his new movie Widows after she kept turning it down.

In the 12 Years A Slave director’s new crime thriller, The Fast and Furious actress is joined by Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Cynthia Erivo, who play four widows that team up to finish off a heist job after their husbands die during their failed attempt.

Michelle, who is known for playing feisty characters onscreen, stars as Linda, an impoverished and abandoned mother of two children, but she kept turning the role down because she didn’t want to portray such a weak woman.

“That’s the epitome of everything I despise,” she told Britain’s Vogue magazine. “The horror of having your security and your life ripped out from under you, I hate it. It’s the thing about poverty – coming from nothing, as I have – I’ve always been repulsed by it.”

The British director admitted he had to “literally beg” her to accept the role, and asked Michelle to examine why the part made her so uncomfortable.

She revealed the role hit close to home, adding, “My mother was that woman.”

The filmmaker also shared that he got lucky finding a foursome that worked so well together.

“During casting I only thought about who was best to play each individual character,” he explained. “There was this energy when you combined these four, though.”

Australian actress Elizabeth says that Steve deserves all the praise for putting such a diverse group of women together and creating “a beautiful thing”.

“I mean, we could not be more varied in who we are,” she said. “Where we come from, how we look, how we sound, our senses of humour. Then you put us together with Steve as the conductor and it’s a beautiful thing.”

Widows, based upon the 1983 British TV series of the same name, hits cinemas in November (18).

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Brian Tyree Henry joins Millie Bobby Brown in Godzilla vs. Kong

Two of TV’s biggest stars are teaming up on the big screen as Brian Tyree Henry and Millie Bobby Brown sign on to Godzilla vs. Kong.Atlanta star Brian, who was nominated for an Emmy earlier this year for his turn as Paper Boi in Donald Glover’s hit…

Two of TV’s biggest stars are teaming up on the big screen as Brian Tyree Henry and Millie Bobby Brown sign on to Godzilla vs. Kong.

Atlanta star Brian, who was nominated for an Emmy earlier this year for his turn as Paper Boi in Donald Glover’s hit series, is continuing his move into film, after also landing parts in Hotel Artemis, White Boy Rick and Steve McQueen’s highly-anticipated heist movie Widows.

And 14-year-old Millie, a household name thanks to Netflix smash Stranger Things, will be reprising her role of Madison Russell in the Godzilla franchise, after already filming Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which hits screens in 2019.

Godzilla vs. Kong marks the fourth film in the latest incarnation of the monster movies which originated from a series of Japanese films in the ‘50s. The first was 2014’s Godzilla, which starred Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen, followed by 2017’s Kong: Skull Island, with Tom Hiddleston taking the lead with support from Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and John Goodman.

And 36-year-old Brian could soon be following in the footsteps of the franchise’s other stars by starring in a superhero movie.

“I would love to,” he told GQ America. “I’m looking for any reason for somebody to go and make me train. I’m not going and working out on my own, so if somebody wants to give me the Marvel treatment and go, ‘Hey man, look, We want you to go get jacked for four months so you can be… Spy Lord. F**k. Yes. When you run this interview, make sure you put this in all bold caps so the Comic-Con and the people at Marvel can see that I’m serious, okay?”

Godzilla vs. Kong, directed by Adam Wingard and also starring Kyle Chandler and Danai Gurira, is slated for a May 2020 release date.

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Viola Davis on ‘terrifying’ Widows love scene with Liam Neeson

Viola Davis was extremely nervous about her onscreen sex scene with Liam Neeson.The 53-year-old actress opened up about filming a love scene with the Taken star for Steve McQueen’s movie Widows, which garnered rave reviews at its Toronto International …

Viola Davis was extremely nervous about her onscreen sex scene with Liam Neeson.

The 53-year-old actress opened up about filming a love scene with the Taken star for Steve McQueen’s movie Widows, which garnered rave reviews at its Toronto International Film Festival premiere earlier this month (Sep18).

And in a new interview, Viola admitted she was definitely not as relaxed about filming the bedroom scene as Liam was.

“It was absolutely terrifying, to tell you the truth,” she told Inquirer.net.

“He was cool. He was like, ‘OK, where do you want me to be? Do you want me to take my clothes off?’ He was very respectful, great, an elegant gentleman, everything you could possibly imagine,” she added praising her Northern Irish co-star.

In Widows, Viola plays Veronica, who leads a group of four women played by Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo, as they attempt a heist after their criminal husbands are killed after a robbery goes south.

However, the Oscar-winning actress has rarely had to disrobe in her movies, which meant she had to reveal quite a different side of herself onscreen.

“I am used to playing maids and drug addicts,” she laughed. “So it cost me something to be that vulnerable. You’ve seen a lot of sex scenes onscreen that have been way more graphic, but when I approach any kind of scene in that nature, it’s very private and you’re looking in on it.

“I was terrified and especially when you have cameras on you and Steve McQueen saying, ‘It’s got to be lustier! You have to open your mouths more!’”

Viola also shared that she often feels pressure to wear weaves and wigs to imitate mainstream beauty standards if she’s playing a romantic role. But Steve encouraged her to wear her natural hair.

“So there I was in bed with Liam Neeson, wearing my natural hair, being 53 and dark (skinned),” she continued. “It’s like what Steve said, ‘Viola, this woman exists. I see her all the time. In Europe, I see her in airports. I see her with a white husband who’s Irish, who’s whatever.

“She just hasn’t been introduced to the American cinema, so it’s about time we introduce her.”

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Cynthia Erivo to star as abolitionist Harriet Tubman in new biopic

Cynthia Erivo has landed the lead role in biopic Harriet, which will chronicle the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.The Tony Award-winner, who is garnering buzz for her role in Steve McQueen movie Widows, will begin filming Harriet in October (18) i…

Cynthia Erivo has landed the lead role in biopic Harriet, which will chronicle the life of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

The Tony Award-winner, who is garnering buzz for her role in Steve McQueen movie Widows, will begin filming Harriet in October (18) in Virginia, alongside cast members Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, and Clarke Peters.

Rising star Erivo, who won a Tony, Grammy and Emmy for her starring role as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple, has been attached to the Harriet project since last year.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the British-Nigerian actress spoke about playing the American icon, admitting she is slightly daunted.

“I can’t say I’m not frightened,” the 31-year-old told the publication. “I am, but that’s probably a good thing.”

Harriet follows African-American icon Tubman’s escape from slavery in 1849 and subsequent missions to rescue dozens of slaves through the Underground Railroad in the face of growing pre-Civil War adversity.

Kasi Lemmons of Eve’s Bayou fame will direct from a screenplay she co-wrote with Gregory Allen Howard, alongside Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll, who has worked on cinema epics Legends of the Fall and Braveheart.

Producers are Debra Martin Chase with Martin Chase Productions, Daniela Taplin Lundberg with Stay Gold Features, and Howard.

Josh McLaughlin will oversee the production, which tells the heroic story of a “powerless woman who accomplished the extraordinary to save her loved ones” and “in the process became a leader of and inspiration for her people”.

“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 the few women to have led an armed expedition in U.S. history,” explained Martin Chase and Lundberg.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures International will distribute the film worldwide.

Erivo’s Widows co-star Viola Davis was previously linked to a Tubman HBO film in 2015.

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Viola Davis regrets starring in The Help

Viola Davis has expressed some regrets about starring in The Help in 2011.The actress received an Oscar nomination for her role as Aibileen Clark in the movie, while Octavia Spencer won the Best Supporting Actress accolade. Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain…

Viola Davis has expressed some regrets about starring in The Help in 2011.

The actress received an Oscar nomination for her role as Aibileen Clark in the movie, while Octavia Spencer won the Best Supporting Actress accolade. Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain and Allison Janney also starred.

Though the film received predominantly positive reviews, some criticised The Help for its focus on the white characters and their contribution in improving race relations, instead of the black maids. For this reason, Viola said the feature is “on that list” of roles she regrets.

“I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard,” she told The New York Times at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I know Aibileen. I know Minny (Octavia). They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”

However, Viola, who went on to win an Oscar for Fences in 2017, acknowledged that, in spite of this, she still enjoyed the experience and forged close relationships with many of the people she worked with.

“The friendships that I formed are ones that I’m going to have for the rest of my life,” she smiled. “I had a great experience with these other actresses, who are extraordinary human beings. And I could not ask for a better collaborator than (director) Tate Taylor.”

The 53-year-old, who will next be seen in Steve McQueen’s Widows, also explained that acting as a role model for black women often adds pressure to her job.

“Being that role model and picking up that baton when you’re struggling in your own life has been difficult,” she lamented. ” ButI choose to be the leader.”

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