In a Q&A about the 25-year journey it took Howard to get his Tubman biopic produced, Allen said “the climate in Hollywood … was very different” in the 1990s and pointed to the extremely baffling casting suggestion he received when he originally began working on the script in 1994.
“I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman,’” Allen explained. “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.’”