Vanessa Bell Calloway spoke about her audition and role for ‘Coming to America,’ stating she encountered colorism which led to her not receiving the lead role.
In an interview with Page Six, the Hollywood actress expressed her opinion about the classic film. Bell states that having white people hire black people in movies can lead to them wanting a “certain look” and that belief led to an executive decision that “wanted a light-skinned girl.”
“That’s something that we’ve always dealt with within our race: A lot of men were indoctrinated by having a white woman or light-skinned woman on their arm,” she continued. “I didn’t want the part of Imani, I wanted to be Lisa — I had read the script and I wanted the bigger role. I just wasn’t light enough,” she says. “Even though Eddie had the final say on who played Lisa.”
Vanessa Bell Calloway’s role in the film included her being the groomed original wife for Prince Hakeem, but Hakeem wanted to find a wife that did not follow the traditional arranged marriage tradition.
In the end, she says she weighed her options and realized that a small role in an Eddie Murphy film was better than no role at all, and decided to take part in the movie despite her initial doubts.
“The real deal is, when you’re in a situation like that, you wanna be a part of an Eddie Murphy movie. I wasn’t gonna say no! I would’ve loved to have had the lead part, but I was very happy to be in the movie. I can’t lie about that. I said, ‘I’ll make the best out of this and I’ll be the best.’ It was a smaller role but it was a glamorous part to play. And Shari did a great job.”
Fans patiently wait for the long overdue sequel “Coming 2 America” next month being streamed. Will you will be watching? Calloway joins the other returners Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, Paul Bates and newcomers Jermaine Fowler, Kiki Layne, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Luenell and Rick Ross. The film will see Akeem return to the U.S. to discover the son he never knew he had, Lavelle.
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