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Harriet Writer Says Studio Exec Wanted Julia Roberts to Play Harriet Tubman – Deadline

There are some wacky stories coming out of Hollywood, but this one is really amazing.

According to screenwriter and producer Harriet Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts was once proposed by the studio's executive director to play Harriet Tubman.

The Oscar-winner, who is white, does not look like Tubman, who was black. However, the unnamed performer thinks the casting makes sense.

Howard shared the story of Focus Features Q&A earlier this month, as well as in an essay published on Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times. Howard, who has been working on the script for Harriet for about 25 years, said the climate in Hollywood was "very different" in 1

994 when the meeting took place.

"They told me how a studio manager said in a meeting, 'This scenario is fantastic. Let's get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman, "Alan recalled. "When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn't be Harriet, the executive said, 'It's been so long. No one will know the difference. "

Howard said that the man who indicated that the casting might not work was" the only black man "in the room. The writer credits two groundbreaking films that have since helped change his mind about the importance of realistic casting.

"When a 12 year old slave hit it and made several hundred million dollars worldwide, I told my agent, 'You can't say this kind of story won't make money.' Then Black Panther really blew the doors, "Howard said.

Harriet opened in the U.S. on November 1. The dramatic stars, directed by Cassie Limoni, won Tony actress Cynthia the actress Cynthia freedom that escaped slavery in Maryland and later directed hundreds of enslaved African Americans north to freedom.

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