Nia Long has sustained a successful career in Hollywood for nearly three decades, but it hasn’t been an easy road. During an interview with Insider on Wednesday, Long revealed that she was denied a role in the 2000’s Charlie’s Angels because she looked “too old” next to potential co-star, Drew Barrymore.
“I was like, ‘What?'” Long said. “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.”
Long’s notion was affirmed when it was announced that Lucy Liu had been chosen to play Alex Munday instead of her. Drew Barrymore is four years younger than Long and starred as Dylan Sanders in Charlie’s Angels. Yet, Lucy Liu is actually two years older than Long, making her six years older than Barrymore.
“Personally, that’s what I think. Because if you notice there were no brown skin [actors],” Long continued. “I mean, honestly, I would have been the blackest thing in the film.”
Nia Long went on to say that it is the director’s job to give the actor guidance on how they should look for the film. She feels like referring to her as “too old and sophisticated” was coded language. Yet, she doesn’t view the experience as a missed opportunity.
“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,” she said. “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.”
Long’s comments come after Thandie Newton claimed that she turned down a role in Charlie’s Angels because she felt like the character was “sexist” and “racist.”