Nia Long believes she didn’t get a role in Charlie’s Angels because she was “a little too Black”.
Earlier this month, Thandie Newton revealed that she turned down the role of Alex Munday in the 2000 action comedy after an executive allegedly made racially insensitive comments about her character and the director explained how she’d be objectified in the opening scene.
In an new interview with Insider, Long shared that she went for the same role but was rejected because she “looked too old” compared to her co-star Drew Barrymore, who is four years younger, and the actress believes she didn’t get it because of the colour of her skin.
“I was like, ‘What?’” Long recalled. “I love Drew Barrymore, I think she’s amazing, but I think that was just a nice way to say you’re a little too Black. Personally, that’s what I think. Because if you notice there were no brown skin (actors). I mean, honestly, I would have been the Blackest thing in the film.
“The feedback that I received from my agent was, ‘She just looked too old and sophisticated to be next to Drew Barrymore’… And I’m thinking to myself, it’s an actor’s choice to walk in the room how they want to look, but it’s a director’s vision to help create and curate a character. So if you couldn’t see beyond the fact that I had on a blazer and a pair of jeans then that was clearly not the job and opportunity for me. So, no problem, I’ll keep it moving.”
She told the publication that she was aware of what Newton said about the film and is proud more women, especially women of colour, are speaking out about their Hollywood experiences.
The role of Alex Munday eventually went to Lucy Liu, who is two years older than Long. Liu, Barrymore, and their co-star Cameron Diaz returned for a sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, in 2003.
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