Hollywood executive wanted Julia Roberts to be cast as Harriet Tubman

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Recently, the screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, reminisced about the suggestions for casting a movie that he wanted to make 25 years ago that would feature Harriet Tubman, a famous black woman who led dozens of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

The suggestion was made the popular white actress, Julia Roberts, be cast as Tubman in a film called Harriet.

Howard mentioned that there was one other black man in the meeting and that he stated, “That’s impossible since Julia Roberts is white.”

The executive replied  to the black man that [the history of Harriet Tubman] happened so long ago that no one will know her color.

Jacob Martin a CHS senior said, “Roberts is white and Tubman isn’t. I’ve even seen Robert Downey Jr. use blackface in a movie called, Tropic Thunder. Although, I think Hollywood is getting better with casting more colored actors in films. I see more colored people being casted in places where a colored person is being portrayed instead of getting a white actor in place of.”

A black actress named Cynthia Erivo, was ultimately cast as Tubman in Harriet. The movie was recently released on Nov. 1.

Harriet Tubman played a big role in defeating slavery in the 1800s. She was an abolitionist who escaped from slavery herself and then helped other slaves escape their owners.

Kali Logan a CHS senior said, “It’s crazy how that idea of Roberts being Tubman was even thought of. Julia is white and Harriet is black so it doesn’t make sense. Hollywood isn’t getting better with casting more colored actors; I see more white people being cast.”

David Percario, a CHS senior said, “This whole situation is inaccurate and stupid. I don’t know if Hollywood is getting better with casting colored actors since I don’t keep up with those things.”

Tubman’s accomplishments are taught in history classes. She is very known and praised for her courage at that time.