Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Cynthia Erivo says Harriet Tubman, a former slave who joined the abolitionist movement and helped lead other slaves to freedom, was an "incredible" and ingenious woman.
The 32-year-old British actress voiced her admiration for Tubman, who died in 1913, during Thursday's episode of Today ahead of the debut of her movie Harriet.
Harriet recounts Tubman's escape from slavery and subsequent work with the Underground Railroad. Erivo said one thing people might not know about Tubman was her ingenuity.
"She saved her money. She was hired out on other farms and saved the little she would get to hire a lawyer to draw up papers that proved that her mother was supposed to be free when she was 45, thus meaning she was also supposed to be free," she said of Tubman. "She was just an incredible woman."
Erivo, who starred in a Broadway revival of The Color Purple, said she sings in the new film.
"There is a little bit of music, but that's just written into her story. She used to use song to communicate with people, and so you'll hear some traditional spirituals in there because that's what she did," she said.
Harriet co-stars Leslie Odom, Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles and Janelle Monae, and opens in theaters Nov. 1. The film released a first official trailer in July that shows Tubman helping her family escape from slavery.
Erivo will also play singer Aretha Franklin in Season 3 of the National Geographic series Genius.