First trailer for Harriet Tubman biopic prompts 'boycott' talk over British casting

By Kerry Justich, Yahoo Movies

The trailer for the anticipated Harriet biopic was released on Tuesday morning, and already thousands of reactions are flooding in about the overdue film honouring American abolitionist Harriet Tubman — including those who are critical about the decision to cast Brit Cynthia Erivo.

Controversy surrounding the choice to have Erivo — the acclaimed black British actress — portray Tubman began back in September 2018, when it was announced that Erivo would be starring in the film.

Now, after her performance was captured in a more than 2-minute trailer for the movie coming out in November, some Twitter users are demanding that the film be boycotted and say #HarrietDeservesBetter.

Cynthia Erivo faces criticism after the trailer for Harriet Tubman's biopic was released. (Photo: Focus Features)

Similarly to the conversation sparked by Daniel Kaluuya’s casting in the film Get Out, people have suggested that an African-American actress, rather than a Brit, should have been cast as Tubman to more accurately portray the struggle of racism and slavery in America. Many said that it should have even been an American descendant of slavery (ADOS) to play the part.

Still, when Erivo posted the trailer to her own Twitter and wrote, “I hope i make you proud!!!” people commended her for her beautiful performance, despite the controversy.

Others, who have also watched the trailer in awe, are taking to social media to demand a different type of justice for Tubman — her face on the $20 bill.

The redesign of the note, which was announced in 2016 and supposed to be unveiled in 2020, is now on hold according to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. However, people hope that the film will expedite the process.