In the new heart-racing trailer for Harriet, Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman as she makes her harrowing escape north, then returns south to lead scores of slaves to freedom.
Directed by Kasi Lemmons, who co-wrote the script with Gregory Allen Howard, the biopic’s preview opens as Tubman flees from her would-be captors, who eventually surround her. “I’m gonna be free or die,” she defiantly says before jumping from a bridge into the water to narrowly escape.
While Tubman’s 100-mile journey north by herself was remarkable, those were only her first steps as she eventually decides to free her family and other slaves as well. Her mentor, portrayed by Janelle Monáe, coaches Tubman before she returns to the South and begins leading slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad. “You’re confident, composed,” Monáe’s character tells her as she hands Tubman a gun. “When trouble comes, you’ll be ready.”
“I would give every last drop of blood in my veins until this monster called slavery is dead,” Tubman says before the clip ends in a chilling standoff.