Janelle Monáe will lend her acting prowess to the story of an American hero for her next big-screen role.
Focus Features announced Tuesday that the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has joined the cast of filmmaker Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet alongside previously announced cast members Cynthia Erivo (in the title role), Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, and Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles.
Details regarding Monáe’s role are still under wraps, though the film itself tells the story of the film’s namesake abolitionist who escaped from slavery and subsequently fronted numerous missions to free dozens of enslaved people through the Underground Railroad in the pre-Civil War American south.
Though she rose to prominence for her music — including her critically acclaimed third studio album Dirty Computer, released in April — Monáe has taken on significant acting parts in recent years, notably appearing in two best picture nominees (Moonlight and Hidden Figures) at the 2017 Oscars. She will next star in December’s Robert Zemeckis-directed fantasy Welcome to Marwen opposite Steve Carell.
Written by Ali scribe Gregory Allen Howard, Harriet marks Lemmons’ first directorial feature since helming 2013’s Black Nativity. Prior credits include Eve’s Bayou in 1997 and Talk to Me in 2007.
A release date for Harriet has yet to be announced. Filming begins later this month in Virginia.