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Cynthia Erivo brings hero Harriet Tubman to life in new trailer for Harriet: ‘Be free or die’

The trailer for a new film about the astonishing life of Underground Railroad heroine Harriet Tubman has been released. 

It shows actress Cynthia Erivo in the central role, starring alongside Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., Jennifer Nettles and Joe Alwyn. 

The film, titled Harriet, tells the story of Tubman from when she was a young girl, born into slavery in Maryland, through her escape from her masters and her emancipation of dozens of fellow slaves through the Underground Railroad and later, her work for the Union Army, which saved hundreds more slaves. 

An icon of the women’s suffrage movement who also helped newly emancipated slaves find work for years after abolition, Tubman was due to become the first black person to ever be immortalized on a money note before Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced it would be delayed earlier this year. 

Her face was to be placed on a $20 note but in May, Mnuchin announced it had been delayed until President Trump left office. 

The idea to put Tubman on the note was an Obama-administration initiative which Trump criticized during his campaign. 

Mnuchin insisted that the delay was down to technical reasons and had nothing to do with President Trump’s opinion.  

Inspiring: The first trailer for new abolitionist-era biopic Harriet dropped Tuesday with Cynthia Erivo (pictured) shining in its title role

The trailer also shows singer-actress Janelle Monae who plays Marie, a free black woman that serves as Tubman’s mentor, giving her the tools and training she needs to forge her journey, before she breaks free herself. 

‘God don’t mean people to own people … I will give every last drop of blood in my veins until this monster called slavery is dead,’ Tubman says at one point. 

The film also delves into the tragic love story between Harriet and her first husband, John Tubman – who remarried after Harriet escaped.

‘They were a true love story, and the way in which it ended was horrific,’ Erivo explained to Vanity Fair in an interview last year.

‘She’d gone back to get him, and when she got back, she found out that he had married someone else.

Vicious: The first trailer centers on Tubman's initial quest north to achieve freedom of her own, escaping a brutal slave owner (pictured) before she eventually treks back to the south to assist more in escaping

Vicious: The first trailer centers on Tubman’s initial quest north to achieve freedom of her own, escaping a brutal slave owner (pictured) before she eventually treks back to the south to assist more in escaping

Guidance: Singer-actress Janelle Monae appears mid-way through the trailer as Marie, a free black woman that serves as Tubman's mentor of sorts, giving her the tools and training she needs to forge her journey

Guidance: Singer-actress Janelle Monae appears mid-way through the trailer as Marie, a free black woman that serves as Tubman's mentor of sorts, giving her the tools and training she needs to forge her journey

Guidance: Singer-actress Janelle Monae appears mid-way through the trailer as Marie, a free black woman that serves as Tubman’s mentor of sorts, giving her the tools and training she needs to forge her journey

Freed: 'God don’t mean people to own people ... I will give every last drop of blood in my veins until this monster called slavery is dead,' Tubman says in the harrowing trailer for the film that also features supporting actors Leslie Odom, Jr., musician Jennifer Nettles, and Joe Alwyn

Freed: ‘God don’t mean people to own people … I will give every last drop of blood in my veins until this monster called slavery is dead,’ Tubman says in the harrowing trailer for the film that also features supporting actors Leslie Odom, Jr., musician Jennifer Nettles, and Joe Alwyn

Fighter: As it's already in talks to become an awards season favorite, it might come as no surprise that award-winning talent already surrounds the film

Fighter: As it's already in talks to become an awards season favorite, it might come as no surprise that award-winning talent already surrounds the film

Fighter: As it’s already in talks to become an awards season favorite, it might come as no surprise that award-winning talent already surrounds the film

‘And to her, marriage was sacred. Believer in God, believer in death do them part … that’s something I didn’t know.

‘I didn’t know how deeply in love she was.’

As it’s already in talks to become an awards season favorite, it might come as no surprise that award-winning talent already surrounds the film. 

Academy Award-nominated musician Terence Blanchard is behind the score, Emmy-winning designer Paul Tazewell was in charge of costuming, and two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer John Toll manned cameras for the film. 

And come what may when trophies are handed out, Erivo says the role has already left its mark on her own life.

‘It’s already gonna leave a scar on my soul,’ she told Vanity Fair. 

‘This is gonna be with me for the rest of my life. I’m fully ready for it.’    

Hopeful: And come what may when trophies are handed out, Erivo says the role has already left its mark on her own life. 'It’s already gonna leave a scar on my soul,' she told Vanity Fair. 'This is gonna be with me for the rest of my life. I’m fully ready for it'

Hopeful: And come what may when trophies are handed out, Erivo says the role has already left its mark on her own life. ‘It’s already gonna leave a scar on my soul,’ she told Vanity Fair. ‘This is gonna be with me for the rest of my life. I’m fully ready for it’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk