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Red carpet performance helped Cynthia Erivo land Aretha role

American Black Film Festival Honors Awards Ceremony
Cynthia Erivo

Cynthia Erivo landed her latest role as Aretha Franklin thanks to a red carpet performance of a favourite soul song.

The actress and singer was asked to sing her favourite tune by a Variety reporter at the 2019 Tony Awards, which led to her being cast as the lead in Genius: Aretha.

“I was going to the Tonys and Marc from Variety asked me to sing my favorite song and my favorite song happens to be Ain’t No Way,” Erivo told Good Morning America, referring to the Queen of Soul’s hit from 1968. “So I started singing a couple bars of Ain’t No Way,” she went on, explaining: “It was filmed and that film made its way back to (producers) Brian Grazer and Clive Davis and everyone at National Geographic.”

The tape was such a hit that Erivo landed her part in the show.

“I got a call a couple of days after from my agent, who said they’d seen the tape and were doing this series and they wanted me to come on board.”

The actress briefly met Franklin before she died when the Queen of Soul came to see her perform in The Color Purple on Broadway.

They met up backstage after the concert and the Brit said: “She was just really funny and sweet.”

Genius: Aretha premieres on the National Geographic channel and streaming service Hulu from Sunday.

– Cover Media