In her 2016 memoir, “Around the Way Girl” actress Taraji P. Henson shared a story about losing out on a huge opportunity. A role the actress claims was written specifically for her was given to another actress simply because “the powers that be” couldn’t envision a black woman in the part.
The role was in the 2014 dramedy “St. Vincent” written and directed by Theodore Melfi, who later went on to direct Henson in “Hidden Figures.” Meanwhile, the actress who took on the role in “St. Vincent” was Naomi Watts.
But now, in a new interview with The Guardian, Taraji has revealed that the powers that be, who made the decision, were none other than now-infamous Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
When asked if race played a factor in his decision, Henson simply replied in the affirmative.
She explained, “Basically, I don’t think he saw my box-office appeal. What I heard-I didn’t sit down with the man- is that he wanted someone who was known ‘internationally,’ so they got Naomi Watts.”
“St. Vincent”, which also starred comedic actors Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, ultimately earned only fair reviews from the critics and a worldwide box office gross of $54 million. Still, Henson regretted losing out on the part, as she wrote in her memoir.
“Time and again, I’ve lost roles because someone with the ability to green-light a film couldn’t see black women beyond a very limited purview he or she thought ‘fit’ audience expectations,” she wrote. “It was a meaty gig. I would have loved it.”
Despite their history, Henson kept it coy and classy when asked about the current legal troubles Weinstein faces. He is currently awaiting trial in New York due to multiple sex crime charges and has denied all the accusations that have been lobbied against him of sexual misconduct.
“Well, you know, I just sit here, and I sip my tea,” Henson said slyly while literally sipping a cup of tea, per the interviewer. “I never wished anything bad on the man. I was just, like, ‘O.K., he’ll see. That’s another person who’ll have to eat crow. How would you like yours? Fried? Toasted?’”