Cynthia Erivo ‘too scared’ to tell Serena Williams about movie dream

Cynthia Erivo has set her sights on playing Serena Williams in a film about her life – but is "too scared" to talk to her about it.

The ‘Widows’ actress – who was recently nominated for the EE Rising Star Award ahead of the BAFTA Film Awards – would love to portray the tennis superstar because she has helped her to "feel normal" for having muscular arms, and loves the 37-year-old star’s "representation of work".

Speaking at the EE Rising Star Award nominees announcement at BAFTA HQ in London’s Piccadilly, she exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "I haven’t ever spoken to her about it. I think I’m too scared, because it’s weird, and she’s so awesome and cool.

"I think it’s one of those pipe dreams.

"I love her representation of work about how women can really be powerful. Not just in work, not just in sport, like physically she’s wonderful.

"As a woman who is also very muscular and very sporty, she was the woman I looked up to and she was the person who made me feel normal for having muscular arms, because she had muscular arms.

"I feel like that’s mostly why I would love to play her, because I feel like I understand that feeling of both feeling out of place, but having to learn to own that power, that strength."

The ‘Color Purple’ star admits she has some tennis talent, but would "happily" go into training to up her game ahead of portraying Serena, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest female tennis players of all time.

She added: "I’m OK at tennis, but I would definitely go into training, for sure. Happily, I would go into training."

Cynthia has made a great start to the year after receiving a nomination for the Rising Star Award alongside Jessie Buckley, Barry Keoghan, Lakeith Stanfield and Letitia Wright.

And the ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ actress – who has won an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony award for her role in musical ‘The Color Purple’ – cannot believe how successful she has been in her career.

She added: "It’s very surreal to be nominated. It’s another thing on the list of a very surreal, crazy year in 2018.

"This is awesome, it’s a really wonderful way to start 2019.

"I was telling a friend that if I wrote down all the things that have happened to me and told it to a complete stranger they would probably think I was crazy.

"They would probably say, ‘Wishful thinking. There, there, I wish you luck, darling.’ That would be the response.

"I’ve had to pinch myself a couple of times to remind myself this is happening for real."

EE Rising Star Award voting is now open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA and the winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 10 February 2019 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

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