National Geographic will premiere the third installment in their Genius anthology series later this year with a focus on the life of the iconic Aretha Franklin. The eight-part series will "explore Franklin's musical genius and incomparable career - and the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world."
Aretha will be played by Cynthia Erivo, a two-time nominee at this year's Oscars for Best Lead Actress and Original Song ("Stand Up") for Harriet. Widely considered the "Queen of Soul," Franklin's interest in music started when she heard gospel music inside the church where her father was a Baptist preacher in Detroit. In her late teens, Aretha broadened her musical interests outside of being a gospel singer, which spawned a wildly successful career that includes 18 Grammys, being the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and we can go on and on with the accolades, but you get the idea.
"Over the last few months, I’ve been preparing myself to embody the Queen of Soul, from relistening to her music to discovering her rare interviews and reading some amazing books on her — all to really capture Aretha’s attitude and spirit," Erivo said in a statement, per People. "I'm truly humbled to be working alongside a very talented and musical team. Together, we’ll serve the Queen and create something special."
The Genius series previously followed the early years of Albert Einstein's life and told the story of Pablo Picasso. Genius: Aretha will begin airing for four consecutive nights starting Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.