Uncategorized

Julia Roberts Was Suggested to Play Harriet Tubman by a Studio Exec in 1994

Photo Credit: Time Life Pictures/Library Of Congress/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images  & Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t play Tubman, the executive said, “It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.”

Harriet, the historical drama centering Tubman recently hit theaters earlier this month starring British actress Cynthia Erivo. Back in 1994 during the beginning stages of the film, Harriet‘s screenwriter and producer Gregory Allen Howard recently shared that a studio executive suggested Julia Roberts to play Tubman.

According to Entertainment Weekly, in an interview with Focus Features, Howard shared that the climate in Hollywood was much different 25 years ago. He also said:

“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”

He also shared which two movies impacted Hollywood and race in film:

“Two films really changed the climate in Hollywood to allow Harriet to be made. When 12 Years a Slave became a hit and did a couple hundred million dollars worldwide, I told my agent, ‘You can’t say this kind of story won’t make money now.’ Then Black Panther really blew the doors open.”

Ultimately, Erivo was selected to play Tubman. When speaking on why he selected her he said, “I first saw her when the other producers flew me to New York to see her in The Color Purple. As soon as she opened her mouth, I thought, ‘Yes, that’s Harriet.'” Kasi Lemmons, the award-winning director of Eve’s Bayou directed Harriet.

Entertainment Weekly also reports there were numerous stages of development for Harriet. At one point Viola Davis was slated to direct and star in a similar biopic. Janelle Monae, Leslie Odom Jr., and Joe Alwyn also played major characters in the 2019 film.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

Share
Published by
Robyn Mowatt

Recent Posts

Questlove Will Co-Curate a Hip-Hop 50 Performance During the 2023 Grammys

In partnership with Mass Appeal, Questlove will co-curate the Hip-Hop 50 tribute during the 65th… Read More

January 31, 2023

This AI Generator Will Allow You to Turn Mundane Topics Into a Drake Song

Drake fans are using website AI generator website Drayk.it to make automatic versions of songs… Read More

January 31, 2023

Will Smith & Martin Lawrence Announce Fourth ‘Bad Boys’ Movie

On Tuesday, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence went to social media to announce the fourth… Read More

January 31, 2023

Lil Wayne Is Hitting the the Road for ‘Welcome to Tha Carter Tour’

Rap icon Lil Wayne will embark on the 'Welcome to Tha Carter Tour' in April,… Read More

January 31, 2023

This ’70s Song is Seeing a Huge Boost in Streams Thanks to ‘The Last of Us’

The 1970 Linda Ronstadt song "Long Long Time" was used in the third episode of… Read More

January 31, 2023

Donald Glover Gives First Look At Forthcoming Show ‘Swarm’

In a Vanity Fair exclusive, Donald Glover and Janine Nabers shared first look images and… Read More

January 31, 2023