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‘Harriet’ Shows “The Human Woman Behind The Hero” Says Star Cynthia Erivo | TIFF

– What is the last film
or TV show you watched that made you cry? – Probably Coco. – [Cynthia] Oh my gosh, yes. – Probably Coco. My daughter, it was the second movie, I have a two year-old, you know, it was the second movie
that we allowed her to see. You know, when you have
these little people that come, like they’re
like blank slates, you know. So, we have to, we’re
super intentional about, okay now we introduce this one. And, my sister showed her Coco before. Anyway, it happened before we could, like, decide if it was okay. So, I sat down and I
watched Coco with her. I was done. – [Cynthia] Done. (laughs) (slow techno music) – It’s a historical adventure
film about Harriet Tubman, the first theatrical film
about Harriet Tubman. And, it really takes place in freedom. It starts just before she
runs for the first time. And it really follows about a decade, a little more than a decade of her life, when she was at her most active and doing her most kind of exciting work. – My main priority was for people to see the human woman behind the hero. You know, we know of her heroics, we know of the incredible
things that she had done. But, I felt like knowing
how human she was, the losses that she had suffered, the love of her life leaving her, all of that made her heroics
even more incredible. Because, it’s one thing to
do something and be a hero, but it’s quite another to be very human, suffer a loss, and decide
to keep moving forward. And, that’s what she did. Paul Tazwell, who did our costumes, allowed us to sort of work with him to discover who these people were. His intention, I believe, was to also tell the story of each person’s growth through what they wore. Definitely for Harriet, her costume changes. She went through another
phase in her life, another moment in the
time that she was working. So, by the end, it felt really rich and heavy, and it felt like I was
wearing a superhero costume by the end of the movie. You know, it progresses right
from the beginning to the end. And, to be able to be on the set, with the people in that place. We were in Richmond, Virginia shooting. It felt rural. It felt connected. – [Interviewer] And Leslie, for you, what was it like to step
into this character? How did you sort of find out who he was and what was sort of driving his work? – William’s a storyteller, you know, in this movie, and in life. You know, he understood the importance of, you know, not just not just helping anybody who
wound up on his doorstep. You know, anybody who had
the courage and the great, you know, luck, and fortune,
to make it all that way to him in Philadelphia. So, he’d help them, but he really knew the
importance of recording that. Of putting that down for all time, you know, of writing that down,
which was an act of bravery. And, you know, risking his
life and everybody else’s life to write those narratives down. But, I’m so glad he did. – History’s so heavy, can be so heavy, but there’s so much
amazing inspiration in it. You know what I mean? These people were so
amazing to have fought, and survived, and achieved so much. These incredible acts
of bravery, you know. And bravado, you know. I think of William, still,
like hiding that book every night in a graveyard, you know, these wonderful stories. Harriet was so, became such
a guiding light in my life. She became very, very present to me. Like, with us all the
time, with us all the time. And, you know, Cynthia really brought her. So she was just, it was like, it was a blessed, you know,
couple of years of my life that I spent really deeply
involved with Harriet. (slow techno music)


  1. Fillmore Pockets Author

    Gonna skip this Slave Movie. This genre of movie is getting played out and it would've been nice if they casted an American as Harriet Tubman. I've been to the UK and America has a different flavor of racism that if lived most likely would aid the title role.

  2. mpeekay76 Author

    Black people are the biggest enemy of other black people. The only reason is the casting of the one actress, while the director and writer are African American hence taking food off the table of your own people. Dumb logic.

  3. 71marshe Author

    How is an African(Ham/Hamite)woman gonna know how to play an Israelite/Jacob(Shem/Shemites(so called Black/Afro Amer/Negroe who fits the CURSES in Deu 28:15-68(KJV)) woman whom the Africans sold the 12 Tribe of Israelites into their slavemasters hands? C'mon now!! I wouldn't spend a dime on this movie bcuz it's like mockery to the so called Black/Afro Amer/ Negroe ppls.

    Black/Afro Amer/Negroe ppls, you are not Africans!! You are the true 12 Tribe of Israelites the Bible speaks about and Africans had their evil hands with us from the Biblical days. Remember, Pharoah the Egyptian King wanted all the Israelite males dead(why?males carriers the seed)which can be read in Exodus 1 (KJV). The Israelites were held in bondage and they are the ppls who build the pyramid. My ppls identity is hidden bcuz they lack knowledge n they refuse to obey their God Commandments, Laws n Statues.

    I repeat! The Israelites that got shipped IN them slaveships like sardines were no AFRICANS! They are the 12 Tribe of Israelites the Bible speaks about whom came from the seed of Shem(Jacob)one of Noah's 3 sons(Gen10(KJV)). The Israelites(so called Blacks/Afro Amer/Negroes) and Hamites(Africans)might hv the same complection but we are not under the same nation of ppls like the whole world like to lump us all under one nation which the KJV Bibles prooves we're not under the same nation of ppls.

    Peace n Grace!💕

  4. Just DeJane' Author

    They should have had a Black American play the honorable mother Harriet. This lady cannot channel that warrior spirit because shes not a Black American. Period. I'll pass. This movie is going to flop.

  5. Ayo Oluwajesu Author

    Afrophobia not Xenophobia is what you see on the comment section.Self hate.Common practice in (FEW) Black Americans and South Africans..Comment Section speaks for few hateful black people not the majority

  6. Adesuwa's Two Kobo worth Author

    HAven't seen the movie and i love cynthia Erivo but after seeing Aisha Hinds' portrayal of Harriet Tubman in Underground I don't see anyone in that role except Aisha Hinds.


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