A Hollywood executive once gave an odd suggestion for an actress to play Harriet Tubman.
“Harriet” screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard recently opened up about bringing the movie to life and how “the climate in Hollywood … was very different” back in 1994, according to a report published Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times. The comments by Howard were first mentioned in a Q&A published earlier this month.
“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,'” Allen explained. “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.'” (RELATED: Oprah Responds To Harriet Tubman On The $20)
Instead, actress Cynthia Erivo was cast as Tubman in the movie over twenty years after the screenwriter set out to tell her story in an action-style film. Howard pointed at two films that paved the way for “Harriet” to make it to the big screen.
“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,'” Howard recalled. “Then ‘Black Panther’ really blew the doors open.”