“Genius: Aretha” premiered on National Geographic on March 21 telling the story of the soul queen’s life, Aretha franklin (played by Oscar nominated “Harriet” Cynthia Erivo). The eight-part limited series was NatGeo’s third installment after previous seasons on Albert Einstein in 2017 and Pablo Picasso in 2018. Scroll down to watch our nine exclusive video interviews with the program’s top Emmy nominees.
The series chronicles the rise of the legendary musician after singing with her father, Reverend CL Franklin‘s (played by Courtney B. Vance), church to become a Grammy Award-winning global icon. Previous seasons of “Genius” have garnered a total of 17 Emmy nominations, including back-to-back best limited series bids. Previous stars Geoffroy Rush (Einstein) and Antonio Banderas (Picasso) were also nominated in the lead actor category.
Erivo and Vance are each seeking their second Emmy win. Erivo won a Daytime Emmy in 2017 for Best Musical Performance on “Today” with the Broadway cast of “The Color Purple”. Vance won the Best Actor in a Limited Series award in 2016 for his portrayal of Johnnie cochran in “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story”. Plus, various crew members had their own luck at the Emmy the night before.
Director Anthony hemingway won his first statuette for co-producing the best limited series of 2016, “American Crime Story”, with Vance. He was also nominated for directing one of those episodes, “Manna From Heaven”. Head of hairdressing department Louisa V. Anthony won her first Emmy in 2004 for her work on the HBO series “Carnivàle”. She received a previous nomination in 1998 for “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and a Daytime Emmy offer in 1994 for her hairstyles in the soap opera “The Young and the Restless”.
“Genius: Aretha” has been the most watched and acclaimed season of this anthology series to date. Will that translate to even more Emmy nominations for the cast and crew? True Stories have been proven successful with Emmy voters, including recent wins for Best Limited Series For Shows on Sarah palin (“Game change” in 2012), Release (“Behind the candelabras” in 2013), JO Simpson (“The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” in 2016), Gianni Versace (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” in 2018) and those involved in the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 (“Chernobyl” in 2019.) Follow the links below to see what some members of the creative team behind “Genius: Aretha” have to say.
Cynthia Erivo, Actress
Courtney B. Vance, Actor
Anthony hemingway, Director
Suzan-Lori Parks, Showrunner
Kevin McKnight, Director of Photography
Tim galvin, Production designer
Jennifer bryan, Costume designer
Louisa V. Anthony, Hair
Marietta Carter-Narcissus, Reconcile
TO PREDICT 2021 Emmy nominees until July 13
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