Julia Roberts Was Suggested For “Harriet”

Julia Roberts Suggested For Harriet Tubman

Recently celebrated actress Cynthia Erivo played famed abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet” which has drawn rave critical and audience reviews along with better than expected box-office.

As part of a recent The L.A. Times piece, the film’s screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard discussed the film’s decades-long journey to the screen and revealed that at one point a very surprising name was suggested to play Tubman in the film – none other than the extremely caucasian Julia Roberts.

Howard explained that he had been working on the script for the film as long ago as the early-mid 1990s, but the “climate in Hollywood…was very different back then.” He goes on to say a “then-president of a studio sub-label” praised the script and 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. The president replied, ‘That was so long ago. No one will know that.'”

Howard credits the massive box-office successes of “12 Years A Slave” and “Black Panther” as paving the way for “Harriet”. Howard says he very much didn’t want to “write a history lesson” and saw her story as “a genre piece” and could be made very accessible to a mass audience.