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Julia Roberts: Studio Executive Wanted Her To Play Harriet Tubman



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Julia Roberts was close to playing Harriet Tubman if the studio executive that suggested it got their own way. 

According to screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard, a pitch meeting took place more than 25 years ago in relation to the Tubman project.

During said meeting, a studio executive allegedly announced to the room, “This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.” and when it was pointed out to the studio exec that Tubman was African-American, they replied, “It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.”

At the time of the pitch meeting, Roberts was considered America’s Sweetheart, with the now 52-year-old acting in Pretty Woman, The Pelican Brief and Steel Magnolias.


It has taken until 2019 for the film about the abolitionist who led hundreds of slaves to freedom via the Underground Railroad to appear in the cinema — with Harriet played by British actress Cynthia Erivo.

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