A Hollywood executive wanted Julia Roberts to portray Harriet Tubman in the leading abolitionist's biopic, the screenwriter of the new film “Harriet” said according to NBC News.
After studying Tubman’s life in college, where she helped lead enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad, screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard was determined to adapt Tubman's story into a feature film, he told Focus Features, the distributor of “Harriet,” in an interview.
When he met with a studio president about the idea in 1994, his script garnered praise, Howard wrote in an essay in the Los Angeles Times. It also received a casting suggestion.
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“Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,” the executive told Howard.
Howard said the one other black person in the meeting said that would be impossible, as Julia Roberts is white.