In the early ’90s, a Harriet Tubman movie almost happened. At the time, the studio had one actress in mind to play the role: Julia Roberts.
In the ’90s, we got close to a movie about Harriet Tubman happening. We also got one of the most ignorant casting ideas ever for the lead role.
Screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard revealed Tuesday that, during the early stages of development for the movie that would become 2019’s Harriet, the executive at the studio (in 1994) pitched a white actress for the lead: Julia Roberts.
Yeah, that seems problematic. At best.
Howard recently wrote an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times, where he shared the difficult journey his script had getting to the screen. According to Howard, a “then-president of a studio sub-label” suggested that the Pretty Woman star play Tubman, the woman vitally responsible for helping slaves along the Underground Railroad.
Source: No Film School