Taraji P. Henson recently revealed that former Hollywood powerhouse Harvey Weinstein deterred her from landing a major role.
The Empire actress says that the disgraced producer, who has faced countless allegations of sexual abuse, barred Henson from landing a major role in the 2014 film St. Vincent. According to Henson, the reason for the denial was based on Race.
“Basically, I don’t think [Weinstein] saw my box-office appeal,” Henson told The Guardian in a recently published interview. “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.”
Directed by Theodore Melfi, St. Vincent tells the story of Maggie, played by actress Melissa McCarthy, who is a struggling single mother who leaves her adolescent son in the care of Vincent (Bill Murray), the result of which leads to the start of a friendship between the two.
In the 48-year-old Henson’s 2016 memoir Around the Way Girl, the actress opened up about how director Melfi wrote the part of Daka, a stripper, and mother, with Henson in mind. The part would later go on to be coveted by Watts, who scored a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination in the Female Actress in a Supporting Role category.
While Henson didn’t have a chance to appear in St. Vincent, she later starred in Melfi’s 2016 critically-acclaimed, Hidden Figures.
Regardless of the alleged sabotage, Henson has no ill-will or feelings towards Weinstein, especially since his recent fall from grace at the hands of actresses Salma Hayek Pinault, Romola Garai and more than 80 other women who have come forward to accuse him of sexual abuse.
“I never wished anything bad on the man,” Henson states. “I was just, like, ‘OK, he’ll see. That’s another person who’ll have to eat crow. How would you like yours? Fried? Toasted?'”
A representative for the 66-year-old Weinstein has issued a statement reports Vanity Fair, denying Taraji’s allegations:
“Simply because someone says something does not make it true, and the continuous drumbeat of any Hollywood star who believes that he or she can gain greater reverence by invoking Weinstein’s name is just getting tiresome. The fact here is that Ms. Henson is a terrific actor and that is why she starred in five films connected to Weinstein. To make this about anything other than that is shameful.”