Viola Davis responded to recent reports that a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play the lead role in the story of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
“It happens all of the time [in Hollywood],” Davis, 54, recently told MadameNoire when asked to comment.
“Here’s the thing, simply put: Julia Roberts as Harriet Tubman is ridiculous,” she said. “That barely warrants a response. That’s ridiculous. I understand that the film industry very much is about commerce and money; I get it. But that’s ridiculous.”
According to People, Davis added that she is “always a little concerned that the people who are questioned about race and diversity and inclusion, are the people in need and not the people in power.”
The Academy Award-winning actress told the reporter, ”You don’t question the people who have not been invited to the party, you question the people who are throwing the party,” she continued. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
“And the people who are out there who are living in any way, even within this industry, who have the green light vote, who have the power to finance films, who are making those choices to want to cast a Julia Roberts as a Harriet Tubman, this is a better question for them.”
Screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard — who co-wrote the screenplay for “Harriet” — confirmed with Baller Alert that a studio head had suggested Roberts to play the title role.
“Fortunately, there was a single black person in that studio meeting 25 years ago who told him that Harriet Tubman was a black woman,” Howard later wrote in a column for Los Angeles Times. “The president replied, ‘That was so long ago. No one will know that,'” Howard said.