Cynthia Erivo's Aretha Franklin Series Shut Down Following Covid-19 Scare
National Geographic/Richard A DuCree

The National Geographic project has halted production on the upcoming 'Genius: Aretha' series after one of the cast members contracted the deadly virus.

AceShowbiz - Production on Cynthia Erivo's Aretha Franklin series has been shut down after a cast member tested positive for COVID-19.

Filming on National Geographic's "Genius: Aretha" resumed three weeks ago after the pandemic shut the show down in March (20), and now it's on hold again.

Deadline sources claim the set went into lockdown early on Tuesday (20Oct20) after a background actor contracted the coronavirus. It is unclear how long the shutdown will last and the show's producers at Touchstone Television have yet to comment.

Executive producer and director Anthony Hemingway had completed half of the eight-episode drama, in which Erivo plays the late Queen of Soul, when production shut down in mid-March. Filming began in December (19).

The life and legacy of Aretha Franklin was also brought to the big screen in a biopic called "Respect". The late music icon handpicked Jennifer Hudson to play her on the movie before she passed away in 2018.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hudson weighed in on the Nat Geo project, "I know that Aretha was adamant that [her life] be a film. If it's not a film, it's nothing. I'm just honored that she picked me to play her. I mean, who can say that? And again, I would have never done it without her wishes."

Following Franklin's death, Hudson saved her text exchange with the icon. "I still have the text chains, so every now and then I look back at them," she explained of their connection. "The last time I spoke to her was Aug. 8, [2018,] and I can honestly say she sang until her last breath."

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