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Julia Roberts as Harriet Tubman (a Black Woman)?

Who came up with this "brilliant" idea?

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Rumor has it, that the 3 time Golden Globe Award winner and star of Erin Brockovich, Julia Roberts, was suggested to play the role of Harriet Tubman (a black woman). The news has shocked and outraged many social-media users.

Who is Harriet Tubman and What is the Movie about?

The executive suggested that Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman) portray Née Araminta Ross (Harriet Tubman). Harriet Tubman was an African-American bondwoman who escaped from slavery in the South to become a leading emancipationist before the American Civil War.

The bio-pic, Harriet, is an extraordinary tale of her escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Who came up with the “Brilliant” idea of Casting Julia Roberts for the role?

The now, Cynthia Erivo starer film, could very well have been a Julia Roberts version of Harriet Tubman, if one particular studio executive had their way. The Gregory Allen Howard production met with some atrocious casting requests. Allen started the film’s screenplay over two decades ago. In an interview this month, with Focus Features (the distributor for Harriet), he revealed the shocking news:

Harriet, which was set up at Disney 26 years ago, was my first assignment. … Hollywood, however, was very different back then. I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’

He recalls the day when the exec made the  outrageous request to cast Julia Roberts:

When someone pointed out that Julia Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.’

Social Media Reacts

The social-media went crazy upon hearing the news.

@PRanganathan tweeted:

I wonder if the original version of that Notting Hill line had Roberts saying this: ‘I’m just a girl standing in front a studio exec asking him to go to hell for suggesting I play Harriet Tubman.

Others mocked the casting suggestion.

The thankfully, non-Julia Roberts-starer, Harriet released on 1st of November, 2019. Hollywood has a history of whitewashing prominent people in history that were actually African-American or Asian. So, the fact that they didn’t go with Roberts with this one was a good call.

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