Harriet, a biopic about Harriet Tubman, was just released earlier this month to favorable reviews, but apparently not everyone had the same ideas about exactly who should portray the American hero.
Screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard stated in an interview with Focus Features that one studio executive suggested that Julia Roberts, a white actress, should play Harriet Tubman. When someone else chimed in about what an absurd idea that would be, the same exec replied, “It was so long ago, no one is going to know the difference.” We wish we were joking about this but alas.
Thankfully, the Hollywood honcho didn’t get his way, and flash forward to 2019 … Howard’s movie about the legendary abolitionist who led hundreds of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad is finally in theaters.
Of course, the casting of black British actress Cynthia Erivo was also criticized … because she’s not African-American. Can’t please everybody.
BTW — Howard’s best known for another hit movie touching on race relations in America … “Remember the Titans.”