Actress Cynthia Erivo Says Playing Harriet Tubman Strengthened Her Christian Faith


Cynthia Erivo recalled a challenging moment while filming “Harriet” and revealed that all she did to overcome that challenge was to pray. It was a scene on Harriet’s first rescue mission and the actress felt momentarily hesitant to act out the scene.

The Tony and Grammy-award winning actress talked about her apprehensions during filming in a Q&A following a pre-release screening of “Harriet” at the Urbanworld Film Festival. The cast shared the “aha moment” they experienced while filming and Erivo turned spiritual.

The actress, who plays Harriet Tubman, said hers happened while filming for Harriet’s first rescue mission. Erivo said it was a scene where Tubman was fearful of her mission to rescue loved ones and she prays to God for help. Erivo said all she did to focus herself on the scene was to pray.

“The only thing I could do, really, to center myself was to pray and I was listening to Gospel music just before I went in. And as I walked in to say that prayer, it didn’t feel like I was just saying it as Harriet. It felt like I was saying it as me,” AmboTV quoted Erivo as saying.

The actress revealed that putting the remarkable story of Tubman to life on screen was a spiritual experience for her. It strengthened her faith and reminded her about the importance of faith in one’s life.

“I think the thing that happened as that was happening and throughout, was my faith got stronger. The idea that faith really can bring you through something. That was an intense “oh I get it now. I understand,’’’ Erivo said.

“Harriet” opens in US theaters on Nov. 1. Joining Erivo in the biographical movie are singer Janelle Monáe, as one of Tubman’s mentors, Jennifer Nettles, Joe Alwyn, and Leslie Odom Jr. The film tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and subsequent transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her faith, courage, and ingenuity saved hundreds of slaves and changed history’s course.