Los Angeles: “Harriet" star Cynthia Erivo will play the lead role in an upcoming feature based on the life of 19th century African princess Sarah Forbes Bonetta. According to Variety, the actor will also produce the movie through her banner Edith’s Daughter, with British star Benedict Cumberbatch serving as an executive producer.
Born Omoba Aina, an Egbado princess of the Yoruba people, she was “gifted" to Queen Victoria in 1850, taken to England and renamed Sarah Forbes Bonetta. The Queen’s patronship was a thorny rose that put Sarah at the centre of British aristocracy but did not shield her from public scrutiny, personal suffering or the dangers of a capricious court that was fundamentally suspicious of her as a strong, educated Black woman. SunnyMarch’s Leah Clarke and Adam Ackland, and Rienkje Attoh from So & So Productions are also producing the movie.
Author Walter Dean Myers’ 1999 book At Her Majesty’s Request has been optioned as source material. “I am excited to embark on this journey. It has taken a long time to get to a point where we can even begin to realise this dream. As a Nigerian British woman, to get the opportunity to tell the story of another Nigerian British woman who until now has been erased from the history books, is an honour," Erivo said.
“Ms. Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Omoba Aina, is truly a passion of mine and I’m so pleased to have been able to find partners in the incredible women, Leah Clarke and Rienkje Attoh, to tell the story and finally give her a voice. I cannot wait to dive into her story. She is indeed the forgotten princess, forgotten no more," she added.