Harriet director responds to Julia Roberts casting controversy

Harriet director Kasi Lemmons believes “things have changed” since a studio executive suggested Julia Roberts play African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a biopic.Gregory Allen Howard, who co-wrote the Harriet screenplay with Lemmons, hit head…

Harriet director Kasi Lemmons believes “things have changed” since a studio executive suggested Julia Roberts play African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a biopic.

Gregory Allen Howard, who co-wrote the Harriet screenplay with Lemmons, hit headlines last month when he revealed that an unnamed studio head suggested the Pretty Woman actress portray the activist during a meeting in 1994.

Many social media users expressed outrage about the controversial suggestion, and during an interview with Variety, the director took an optimistic stance on the news, saying the response proves how much times have changed.

“It was a long time ago and things have changed. (The uproar) does go to show you how far we’ve come,” Lemmons said. “I think it has happened a lot. In fact, it’s happened a lot and not that long ago. We do have to be careful and check ourselves … (But) we’ve learned a lot since then. And in fact, in some ways, the way of approaching docu-drama is completely different than it was 25 years ago.”

Producer Debra Martin Chase said she’d heard the story long ago but had forgotten about it by the time it resurfaced.

“I wasn’t surprised. That’s how it used to be. People would say crazy stuff like that and get away with it. They would not be ashamed to say whatever they thought. That was the climate in this town – hostile,” she commented.

Roberts and Cynthia Erivo, who plays Tubman in the biopic, have yet to comment on the story, but actress Viola Davis recently weighed on the issue, calling it “ridiculous”.

In his original interview with Focus Features, Howard recalled, “I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”

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Screenwriter claims studio boss wanted Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman

Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harrie…

Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.

The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been in the works for over a decade – with the premise first pitched in the early 1990s.

And as bosses debated which actresses should be in line for the titular role during a meeting in 1994, one unnamed “studio head” had a surprising suggestion.

“When I got in the business, I wanted to tell these historical stories by turning them into entertainment,” Howard said in a Q&A for Focus Features. “I didn’t want to give history lessons. I wanted to turn Harriet Tubman’s life, which I’d studied in college, into an action-adventure movie. The climate in Hollywood, however, was very different back then. I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”

Erivo is already being tipped for awards season success for her role in the movie, which Howard said was only made following the release of films 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther.

“Two films really changed the climate in Hollywood to allow Harriet to be made,” he continued. “When 12 Years a Slave became a hit and did a couple hundred million dollars worldwide, I told my agent, ‘You can’t say this kind of story won’t make money now.’ Then Black Panther really blew the doors open.”

Roberts has yet to respond to Howard’s claim.

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Jennifer Aniston wants romantic comedies to make a comeback

Jennifer Aniston desperately wants to see more romantic comedies on the big screen.The Friends star misses the classic romcom era of the late 1980s and 1990s, which was dominated by the likes of Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan, and their iconic movies such …

Jennifer Aniston desperately wants to see more romantic comedies on the big screen.

The Friends star misses the classic romcom era of the late 1980s and 1990s, which was dominated by the likes of Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan, and their iconic movies such as When Harry Met Sally…, Pretty Woman, You’ve Got Mail, My Best Friend’s Wedding and Sleepless in Seattle.

Now, Jennifer has claimed that she wants to see more star-crossed lovers and budding romances make a comeback in Hollywood.

“It’s changed so much. I think we would so love to have the era of Meg Ryan come back. I just think it would be nice to go into a movie theatre, sit cosy. I think we should have a resurgence,” she told Variety. “Let’s get the Terms of Endearment back out there. You know, Heaven Can Wait, Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Goodbye Girl.”

The 50-year-old is no stranger to romantic comedies, and has starred in The Object of My Affection, Picture Perfect, Along Came Polly and The Break-Up.

And while she’s keen for that genre to have a revival, she revealed one particular type of movie that she refuses to be a part of.

“You’re seeing what’s available out there and it’s just diminishing and diminishing in terms of, it’s big Marvel movies. Or things that I’m not just asked to do or really that interested in living in a green screen,” the actress shared.

Earlier this year, Meg revealed that she was writing a new romantic comedy of her own, with plans to possibly direct it as well.

“It’s at Working Title Films. I’ll just leave it at that. My God. You feel like you’re jinxing it if you’re talking about it. Hopefully, it’s for me to direct,” she shared in a chat with The New York Times.

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Amanda Seyfried named global ambassador for Lancome

Amanda Seyfried has been appointed the new global ambassador for Lancome.The 33-year-old joins the likes of Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Zendaya in the role, and will appear in ad campaigns for the French luxury perfumes and cosmetics…

Amanda Seyfried has been appointed the new global ambassador for Lancome.

The 33-year-old joins the likes of Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Zendaya in the role, and will appear in ad campaigns for the French luxury perfumes and cosmetics brand starting early next year.

“It’s hugely exciting to be welcomed to this incredible family of women ambassadors, all so different and yet all so united in their mission to represent Lancome, while also embodying the positive virtues and values that empower and bring happiness and self-fulfilment to women around the world,” Seyfried said in a statement to WWD.

Lancome boss Francoise Lehmann said the mother-of-one embodies the values of the French brand.

“As a true Lancome woman, Amanda brings her immense talent as an actress and singer, her natural beauty and unequaled zest for life to our world. She perfectly represents our values, and we look forward to an exciting time together,” he commented.

Lancome shared pictures of the Mamma Mia! star on Instagram and wrote in the caption, “Join us in wishing a warm and happy welcome to Amanda Seyfried, Lancome’s new global ambassador! Lancome is happy to welcome Amanda Seyfried into our family of talented, empowered and positive happiness activists. @mingey perfectly embodies the spirit of the Lancôme woman with her sunny spirit.”

The actress also posted a snap on her page and added, “Thanks for the sweetest welcome, @lancomeofficial.”

Seyfried has previously served as the face of Givenchy’s Very Irresistible fragrance, replacing fellow actress Liv Tyler as the French fashion house’s beauty ambassador, and is currently the muse for Japanese luxury cosmetics company Cle de Peau Beaute.

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Julia Roberts recalls terrible hair dye job for Mystic Pizza audition

Julia Roberts has hilariously recalled the terrible at-home hair dye job she did for her Mystic Pizza audition. In a new interview alongside Patricia Arquette for Variety, the two Oscar-winning actresses traded stories about their worst auditions when…

Julia Roberts has hilariously recalled the terrible at-home hair dye job she did for her Mystic Pizza audition.

In a new interview alongside Patricia Arquette for Variety, the two Oscar-winning actresses traded stories about their worst auditions when first starting out in Hollywood, and the conversation soon turned to the lengths they went to to transform their looks.

While Patricia recounted putting temporary dark dye in her hair for a prospective job, Julia told a story about the dye she used to get into character for an audition for her role in the 1988 coming-of-age drama.

“I had a success out of it, but I did have about two cans of coloured mousse that I got at (New York pharmacy) Lamston’s drug store,” the 51-year-old shared.

“My hair was stiff as a board. Leaving the subway after the audition, I had on my white blouse, walking from the subway in the rain with two cans of dark mousse just running down all of me…. And now we’re just rad 51-year-olds with naturally blond hair,” she joked to Patricia.

During the interview, the mother-of-three learnt that the True Romance star also auditioned for the role of prostitute Vivian in iconic ’90s romantic comedy, Pretty Woman – the part that catapulted Julia to superstardom.

However, the studio behind the film folded three days after she got the job, and it was a meeting with director Garry Marshall that eventually secured her the part in the movie.

“I think because he’s a great human being, he met me just because I had once had the job and he felt it would only be fair to at least meet me, since I had this job for three days and then lost it,” Julia said.

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Julia Roberts had ‘no business’ starring in original version of Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts still can’t believe she landed the lead in 1990’s Pretty Woman because the odds were stacked against her from the start.In a new Variety interview, the actress learned fellow Oscar winner Patricia Arquette also auditioned for the role of …

Julia Roberts still can’t believe she landed the lead in 1990’s Pretty Woman because the odds were stacked against her from the start.

In a new Variety interview, the actress learned fellow Oscar winner Patricia Arquette also auditioned for the role of down-on-her-luck Hollywood sex worker Vivian Ward, with the pair revealing that the movie was originally called 3,000 and had a “really heavy” ending.

While audiences are familiar with businessman Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) arriving at Vivian’s apartment to declare his love minutes before she’s due to leave Los Angeles, producers at the small film studio that initially had Pretty Woman wanted Edward to take a very different approach to his relationship.

“(Edward) threw her out of the car, threw the money on top of her, as memory serves, and just drove away, leaving her in some dirty alley,” said Julia. “I got the part in 3,000. I love that you’re asking me this question, but I had no business being in a movie like that. This small movie company folded over the weekend, and by Monday, I didn’t have a job.”

With all of the drama, Julia felt sure her dream role would never see the light of day.

However, one of the original producers continued to champion the project, with the movie ending up at Disney and in the hands of director Garry Marshall.

“I thought, ‘Went to Disney? Are they going to animate it?'” the 51-year-old remembered. “Garry Marshall came on, and because he’s a great human being, he felt it would only be fair to meet me, since I had this job for three days and lost it. And they changed the whole thing. And it became more something that is in my wheelhouse.”

During the conversation, Patricia also noted that she has a “fantasy of recasting” Julia in the original 3,000 script, and is adamant the star “could even do it now”.

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Chiara Ferragni unveils debut cosmetics collection for Lancome

Chiara Ferragni has launched her first capsule collection of cosmetics for Lancome.The Italian fashion star has risen to prominence since launching her blog The Blonde Salad in 2009 and now boasts over 11 million followers on Instagram. Chiara was nam…

Chiara Ferragni has launched her first capsule collection of cosmetics for Lancome.

The Italian fashion star has risen to prominence since launching her blog The Blonde Salad in 2009 and now boasts over 11 million followers on Instagram.

Chiara was named as Lancome’s latest muse last March, seeing her follow in the footsteps of Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz, Taylor Hill, Lupita Nyong’o and Lily Collins, and on Monday, she unveiled her Lancome x Chiara Ferragni line on social media.

“This is such a milestone for me: my own capsule collection for @lancomeofficial, that is going to be available worldwide. Later in (Instagram) Stories (here it’s 5am) I’ll show you how the palette and products look like and all of the different sort of make-up looks you can achieve but for now, thank you for loving it and making me feel special,” she captioned a post on Instagram. “The #LancomexChiaraFerragni capsule is now available online (link in bio) and soon in stores all over the world and it’s better than in my dreams.”

The range features the Flirting Make-up Palette, which is made up of pink, red, and gold-toned eyeshadows and blushers, and contains three brushes. There is a black Hypnose Drama mascara too, as well as three new shades each of Lancome’s L’Absolu Mademoiselle Shine lipstick and L’Absolu Lacquer gloss. Each item is presented in sparkly pink packaging with Chiara’s signature blinking eye logo, with prices ranging from $35 – $67 (£28 – £53).

Regarding the concept, Chiara told Harpersbazaar.com she was determined for the products to work with all skin tones.

“I feel like the palette, out of everything in the collection, defines what I feel about beauty,” the 32-year-old commented. “I love that you can achieve so many different looks by just buying one product, because it has a little bit of everything – whereas normally palettes just focus on one thing. It means you don’t have to carry around as many beauty products.”

The Lancome x Chiara Ferragni collection is now available to buy at Douglas stores in Italy and will roll out across Europe and the U.S. later in the year.

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Julia Roberts considers stylist her ‘dream girlfriend’

Julia Roberts has found a “dream girlfriend” in stylist Elizabeth Stewart. The actress credits the fashion visionary for her flawless red carpet style and reveals she can rely on her when it comes to relieving the stress of having to pick out outfits …

Julia Roberts has found a “dream girlfriend” in stylist Elizabeth Stewart.

The actress credits the fashion visionary for her flawless red carpet style and reveals she can rely on her when it comes to relieving the stress of having to pick out outfits for events.

“Elizabeth is like the dream girlfriend who builds a closet around your trip and (says), ‘Oh, this is what you can wear to lunch, and then when you work that evening, you can wear this, and then, you can change into these shoes’. It’s a dream scenario,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Stewart is behind some of the star’s most famous looks, including the vintage black and white Valentino dress Julia wore to the 2001 Academy Awards, when she picked up the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Erin Brockovich.

“It takes a village,” she shares. “This woman is tireless in her efforts to make me look like I am effortless.”

The interview with Roberts is part of the publication’s 25 Most Powerful Stylists in Hollywood issue, which also features Emily Blunt and her stylist Jessica Paster.

In a sit down for the feature, Blunt recalls Paster’s influence on her love of self expression through fashion.

“I do really love red carpets because they’re full of fantasia and it’s so not what I wear every day, and so I think she’s taught me a great deal about boldness and it can bring out an element of yourself you didn’t quite know was there, and I think then the dress never wears you,” Blunt shares. “You’re always comfortable.”

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Julia Roberts: ‘My latest role has made me less judgmental’

Julia Roberts has resolved to be less judgemental about people after making her latest movie Ben is Back.In the film, the Pretty Woman star plays a mother whose son, Ben, is battling drug addiction, and says she learned a lot about the issue and why on…

Julia Roberts has resolved to be less judgemental about people after making her latest movie Ben is Back.

In the film, the Pretty Woman star plays a mother whose son, Ben, is battling drug addiction, and says she learned a lot about the issue and why one shouldn’t judge others for making bad decisions.

“Learning about this problem through playing this character was an extraordinary experience for me,” the mother-of-three tells British magazine Yours. “And one important thing I learned is that it’s not for any of us to judge anyone else and what is or isn’t being done rightly or wrongly. This is a tough one.”

Speaking about her character Holly, who tries to help her son get off drugs but sometimes indulges him, she says she is not “perfect” but “means well”, adding: “She loves her son with all of her heart, but sometimes she just plain old gets it wrong.”

And she had no problem empathising with Holly, despite having no experience of similar issues either as a mum, or when she was growing up in Georgia.

“I love the fact she is always right and always wrong at the same time! I thought that it was a very well written character and sort of unique in that she was someone who was endlessly at fault in this struggle,” the 51-year-old explains. “I didn’t grow up with drugs being a problem in my own family. I was fortunate enough that I grew up in a very small town in the south in a small community where it was more people drinking beers in the parking lot of the local pizza joint.”

As for her own kids with husband Daniel Moder, 14-year-old Hazel and Phinnaeus, and Henry, 11, she says they are well adjusted despite having a famous mother.

“First of all, they know who I am – in the appropriate sense of knowing who a person is as opposed to how their job makes them perceived to be, which isn’t who I really am,” she smiles.

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Sleeping With The Enemy set for remake

Julia Roberts’ classic movie Sleeping With The Enemy is set to be remade for a new generation of fans. The thriller stars the actress as a desperate woman who fakes her own death to escape her abusive husband, and now, 28 years later, studio officials…

Julia Roberts’ classic movie Sleeping With The Enemy is set to be remade for a new generation of fans.

The thriller stars the actress as a desperate woman who fakes her own death to escape her abusive husband, and now, 28 years later, studio officials at Fox Searchlight Pictures are working on a modern version of the same story.

Rising moviemaker Nia DaCosta has been tapped to write and direct the project, which will be developed by The Iron Lady producer Damian Jones, as part of his new Fox deal, according to Deadline.com.

Further details about the movie revamp have yet to be announced.

DaCosta made her feature film directorial debut with last year’s (18) Little Woods, a drama starring Tessa Thompson and Lily James as estranged sisters who are driven to extremes.

The original Sleeping With The Enemy release, which also featured actors Patrick Bergin and Kevin Anderson, was a hit for filmmaker Joseph Ruben upon its release back in 1991, grossing $175 million (£132 million) from a $20 million (£15 million) budget.

It was based on the 1987 book of the same name by author Nancy Price.

Meanwhile, Jones is also tackling a big screen adaptation of James Corden’s hit stage play One Man, Two Guvnors.

It’s not yet clear if the British comedian-turned-U.S. talk show host will reprise his role as struggling musician Francis Henshall, who juggles two new jobs while trying to prevent each of his bosses from finding out about his other gig.

Corden originated the part, which took him to London’s West End in 2011 and Broadway in 2012.

The film will be penned by Oli Refson, the writer/director of BBC comedy series Uncle, while One Man, Two Guvnors creator Richard Bean and director Nicholas Hytner are both on board as executive producers.

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