Home / Entertainment / "Harriet": A studio director wanted Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman in film, says biopic screenwriter

"Harriet": A studio director wanted Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman in film, says biopic screenwriter

Harriet Tubman biopic has been more than 25 years in the making. In the historical drama released earlier this month, Cynthia Erivo plays the legendary abolitionist – but a Hollywood executive initially thought the role would go to Julia Roberts.

Gregory Allen Howard, screenwriter and producer of "Harriet" recently revealed in several interviews that Roberts was proposed to star in a meeting with a studio president in 1994.

"The climate in Hollywood … was very different then," she said Howard. "I heard how a studio manager said in a meeting, & # 39; This script is fantastic. Let's get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman. & # 39;"

Howard said that a black person at the meeting said casting Roberts would be impossible because she is white.

"It was so long ago. No one will know," the CEO replied, according to Howard.

Howard was determined to adapt Tubman's life to an action-adventure movie after studying her life and the subway in college. Now his film is finally in theaters, starring black British actress Cynthia Erivo.

"I first saw her when the other producers flew me to New York to see her in" The Color Purple "," Allen said of Erivo, who won a Tony Award for her role in Broadway play. "As soon as she opened her mouth I thought, & # 39; Yes, it's Harriet. & # 39; Later I emailed the other producers," That's Harriet. She is a little stick of dynamite. "" Harriet "to finally come to life on the big screen.

" When & # 39; 12 Years a Slave & # 39; became a hit and made a few hundred million dollars around the world, I told my agent, & # 39; You can't say that this kind of story won't make money now. & # 39; When " Black Panther " really blew the doors open, "Allen said.

He said he wanted the film to inspire others to overcome insurmountable odds.

" She must have been terrified every time she went back to the south, but she kept going back to save more people, "he said of Tubman." If it doesn't inspire you, nothing will. "

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