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Cynthia Erivo asks ‘Harriet’ casting critics to give film a chance


ABC/Eric McCandlessAfter some fans took issue with British actor Cynthia Erivo taking on the iconic American role of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in the new biopic Harriet, Ervio is addressing the backlash, asking critics to give the film a chance.

“People are definitely allowed to have feelings. People are definitely allowed to have opinions because we’re human beings,” Erivo told Essence. “I don’t want to negate that at all. I do want people to see this and hopefully change their minds.”

In Harriet, which centers on Tubman’s escape from her own plantation in Maryland to the free state of Philadelphia, Ervio takes on the daunting task of embodying the American heroine who willingly traveled back to the South to free not only relatives, but perfect strangers.

“The most important thing is that we’re getting to tell the story at all,” Erivo continued. “This is a story that was held on the shelf for a really long time. It was written 20 years ago…and just 10 years ago, [producer] Debra Martin Chase was determined to make it.”

Erivo also said that Chase had her in mind for the film three years ago and it’s taken the same amount of time to bring the project to the big screen.

Harriet, also starring Janelle Monae and Vanessa Bell Calloway, is in theaters Friday.

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