Go Behind the Scenes of Genius: Aretha in New Featurette

National Geographic has released the first featurette for the upcoming third installment of their award-winning anthology series Genius, providing us with a behind-the-scenes look at Cynthia Erivo’s portrayal of the legendary Aretha Franklin.  Originally scheduled to return in May, the Season 3 premiere has been indefinitely delayed due to the temporary production shutdown caused by the ongoing pandemic. Check out the video in the player below!

During a recent appearance at a TCA virtual panel (via Deadline), executive producer Anthony Hemingway has revealed that they still don’t have a definite date of when they can be able to resume production on the last episodes of the 8-episode season. He also confirmed that they’ve been actively discussing with the network on what steps they could take in order to implement a safe and healthy environment for the cast and crew.

“We have not set an actual date yet,” Hemingway said. “We are having a lot of conversations now with the studio and the network just trying to figure it out,” Hemingway added. “It’s all about safety and working within the new parameters of protocols that so many of us are going to have to learn about the way we approach our work.”

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Genius: Aretha will star Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Outsider) as Aretha Franklin, Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story) as C.L. Franklin, David Cross (Arrested Development) as Jerry Wexler, Malcolm Barett (Timeless) as Ted White, Patrice Convington as Erma Franklin, Kimberly Hebert Gregory (Vice Principals) as Ruth Bowen and Rebecca Naomi Jones (Someone Great) as Carolyn Franklin.

The third installment of Genius will be the first-ever, definitive scripted miniseries on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul, who passed away at the 76 last August 2018. The production will feature many of Aretha Franklin’s biggest recordings and hit songs from her comprehensive Warner Music catalog, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” and “Baby I Love You.” In addition, the series will feature Franklin’s performances of “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” “Freeway of Love” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.”

Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog, will be executive producer and showrunner for Genius: Aretha Franklin. Fox 21 Television Studios (The Assassination of Gianni Versace, The People v. OJ Simpson)will also return to produce the next installment.

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Imagine is partnering with Warner Music Group for this third season, which will again be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Francie Calfo. Legendary hit record producer Clive Davis and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman have also joined as executive producers. Returning executive producers include Ken Biller (Genius: Einstein, Genius: Picasso), Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane (MWM Studios), and Sam Sokolow (EUE/Sokolow). Diana Son joins as executive producer. In addition, Imagine’s Anna Culp serves as producer alongside Peter Afterman.

National Geographic premiered the first season of Genius in 2017, which starred Geoffrey Rush as the brilliant scientist Albert Einstein, which earned 10 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series, as well as Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for Rush. The follow-up season, Genius: Picasso, starred Antonio Banderas as the titular Spanish painter, and matched much of the success of its predecessor, earning seven Emmy nominations – and two wins – as well as Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for Banderas.


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