|GENIUS: ARETHACYNTHIA ERIVOFIRST LOOKNAT GEO|
Two years after Aretha Franklin‘s death, Hollywood is looking to immortalize the Queen of Soul in two separate projects. And after one of them, MGM’s feature film called Respect, was pushed into an awards season-friendly date last week, National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha has been postponed until later in the year.
Respect, the feature film debut from The Walking Dead and Jessica Jones director Liesl Tommy, stars Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin, the incredibly gifted singer with the highest number of songs on the Billboard charts in history. Hudson’s performance is supposed to be incredible in that movie, with her “mind-blowing” dailies causing MGM to shift the movie to a more awards-friendly Christmas Day release.
But National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, which has Broadway star and nascent movie star Cynthia Erivo in the lead role, has been delayed for a different reason: the coronavirus outbreak forced them to shut down before production was completed. The network released a statement to Variety which reads in part “it has become clear that the series will not be completed in time for our previously announced Memorial Day airdate”:
“We look forward to resuming work as soon as is possible and safe, and at that time will announce a new premiere date for later this year. We cannot wait to let Aretha’s voice sing, and in the words of the Queen herself, ‘Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.’ In that spirit, we wish all of our viewers well in these challenging times, particularly those who are working in our communities to keep us all safe.”
Genius is NatGeo’s anthology series focusing on a different person each season. Season one which centered on Albert Einstein earned ten Emmy nominations, while season 2 which centered on Pablo Picasso was nominated seven times and won two. Unfortunately for Erivo and the rest of the cast and crew, the delayed release of Genius: Aretha almost certainly means they won’t be able to meet this year’s Emmy eligibility deadline of May 31, 2020. No official premiere date has been set yet, but considering there’s still some filming to do and most productions like this require relatively large crews, it may be a while yet before we get to see Erivo let loose as the Queen of Soul. In the meantime, listen to the mega-talented performer belting out a classic Isley Brothers song in Bad Times at the El Royale:
It’s almost time for Adventure Time to return to our screens. The acclaimed Cartoon Network show is making a short comeback on HBO Max in the form of four animated specials that catch up with our favorite residents of the Land of Ooo. As we near the May launch of HBO Max, the streamer has released the first Adventure Time: Distant Lands teaser, along with synopses of the four exciting new specials.Adventure Time Distant Lands Teaser
Come on, grab your friends. The adventure continues with Adventure Time: Distant Lands, a series of four animated specials that will each focus on a different character from the disarmingly good Cartoon Network series created by Pendleton Ward. The teaser for Adventure Time: Distant Lands doesn’t show us much from the upcoming specials apart from some flashes of our favorite characters including Finn, Jake, Marceline, Princess Bubblegum, BMO and Peppermint Butler, but it’s enough.
It feels like it’s been years since we’ve seen these characters, who all went through drastic journeys during the whimsical, surprisingly sad, original series. But the synopses for the specials hint at an exciting reunion for Finn the human and his best friend Jake the dog, after the ambiguous, bittersweet ending of the original series. The other specials focus on BMO, Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, and Peppermint Butler.
Here are the official synopses for the four specials:
Episode 1 titled “BMO” – “When there’s a deadly space emergency in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, there’s only one hero to call, and it’s probably not BMO. Except that this time it is!”
Episode 2 titled “Obsidian” – “Marceline and Princess Bubblegum journey to the imposing, beautiful Glass Kingdom — and deep into their tumultuous past — to prevent an earthshaking catastrophe.”
Episode 3 titled “Wizard City” – “Peppermint Butler starts over at the beginning, as just another inexperienced Wizard School student. When mysterious events at the campus cast suspicion on Pep, and his checkered past, can he master the mystic arts in time to prove his innocence?”
Episode 4 titled “Together Again” – “Finn and Jake [reunite] to rediscover their brotherly bond and embark on the most important adventure of their lives.”
Adventure Time: Distant Lands debuts on HBO Max soon.
National Geographic’s forthcoming Genius: Aretha will no longer debut on May 25. The limited series about the legendary singer Aretha Franklin starring Cynthia Erivo will premiere at a later to-be-announced date due to production delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Below sent to Deadline from National Geographic.
Production on National Geographic's limited series Genius: Aretha from Fox 21 Television Studios and Imagine Television Studios remains suspended and it has become clear that the series will not be completed in time for our previously announced Memorial Day airdate. We look forward to resuming work as soon as is possible and safe, and at that time will announce a new premiere date for later this year.
We cannot wait to let Aretha's voice sing, and in the words of the Queen herself, “Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.”
In that spirit, we wish all of our viewers well in these challenging times, particularly those who are working in our communities to keep us all safe.
Earlier this month, Disney Television Studios announced that they would be suspending production on the limited series for at least three weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak. The studio, comprised of 20th Century Fox, ABC Studios and Genius producer Fox 21, also postponed the start of production on all of its in-cycle pilots.
Genius: Aretha joins a growing list of shows forced to shift their premiere dates due to the coronavirus-imposed mass production shutdowns. The fourth installment of FX's Fargo starring Chris Rock pushed its previously scheduled April 19 premiere to a date to be determined. The second season of the CW's In the Dark will premiere April 16, more than a month ahead of its previously scheduled date of May 28, to fill the hole left by Legacies, which has aired all of its episodes that completed production prior to shutting down. The CW also is moving up the network premiere of DC's Stargirl by a week, to Tuesday, May 19 at 8 PM. It will succeed The Flash, which will have wrapped its abbreviated season by May 12.
Genius: Aretha is the third installment of the Nat Geo anthology, following Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. It is dubbed as the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the Queen of Soul. Production kicked off in December and the series also stars Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Shaian Jordan, Marque Richardson, Pauletta Washington, Steven Norfleet and Omar J. Dorsey....