The cast of the new film “Harriet” hit the carpet for a Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday.
The movie, which was 20 years in the making, is about American freedom fighter Harriet Tubman, her escape from slavery and how bravery lead her to help free hundreds of slaves in the late 1800s.
British actress Cythina Erivo portrays Tubman and said she felt her spirit while filming.
“You kind of have to get out of the way and allow it take over, I guess. It just, it felt like it was a real help and a guide to go forward. I guess it’s like a small still voice that tells you when you’re doing ok. You know, that’s what it was really like.”
The iconic historical figure has always been a hero of actress Janelle Monae, who plays Tubman’s best friend.
“It’s a dream to honor her and to play Marie Buchanan who is an amalgamation of like strong women during the movement era when Harriet was coming up north,” said Monae.
The cast described Tubman as a superhero and the film as uplifting and enlightening.
“When you see how hard she worked and who she is and what she did for our whole nation, but the black population, you know, population, the future, it’s amazing,” said actress Vanessa Bell Calloway.
“Hopefully being a part of something like this it opens the doors for more people to learn about her who might not had known before,” added actor Joe Alwyn.
Director Kasi Lemmons said the film shines a light on the person and not the struggle, something many slavery films in the past failed to do.
“I would hope that any film that deals with slavery and enslaved people tries to really touch on their lives. Not just their suffering, but what their lives where like. Who did they love, who did they marry, the relationship with their children, their relationship with God, you know? I mean, I think that, I think that there’s a lot more to be said about it. I, for one, don’t think there’s too many movies about it. I think that this is something that we need to be willing to look at, you know, and look at right in the face to kind of understand where we are today, how we got here.”