Studio Exec Once Suggested Julia Roberts Should Play Harriet Tubman in Biopic

November 20, 2019

The screenwriter and producer of the film Harriet says that a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts should play Harriet Tubman. Entertainment Weekly reports that Gregory Allen Howard was told by a studio head in 1994, "This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman." When told Roberts couldn't possibly be the slave turned abolitionist--y'know, because she's white--the executive reportedly said, "it was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference." The movie ultimately languished in development for years, but Harriet finally opened earlier this month with African-British actress Cynthia Erivo in the title role.