Studio Exec Suggested Julia Roberts Play Harriet Tubman, ‘Harriet’ Screenwriter Says
Multi-talented multi-hyphenate Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet.” But according to “Harriet’s” screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts — yes, white woman Julia Roberts — was once suggested by a studio executive to play the role.In a Q&a for “Harriet” studio Focus Features as well as a piece for the L.A.
Times, Howard explained he had been working on the script for a Harriet Tubman biopic as far back as 25 years ago, but that “the climate in Hollywood…was very different back then.”According to Howard, a “then-president of a studio sublabel” praised the script and then suggested Roberts play Tubman.
“Fortunately, there was a single black person in that studio meeting 25 years ago who told him that Harriet Tubman was a black woman,” Howard wrote in the Times piece.
“The president replied, ‘That was so long ago.
No one will know that.’”In the Q&a,
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