“Too old” & “Too Black”: Nia Long details Charlie’s Angels audition process

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

For some reason, horror stories from the audition process for 2000's CHARLIE'S ANGELS keep popping up lately. First, Thandie Newton detailed her ordeal auditioning for the film which led to her feeling sexualized and used for racial stereotypes and now actress Nia Long has come out with her own CHARLIE'S ANGELS audition story and she believes the reason she didn't get the role had to deal with a far deeper issue.

Nia Long spoke with "Insider.com" and said she auditioned for the role of Alex Munday which eventually went to Lucy Liu and was also the role that Newton ultimately turned down. She was told that the reason she didn't get the role was because she "looked too old" to appear opposite co-star Drew Barrymore, who is four years younger than Long. This isn't how Long took the dismissal and the actress felt that "too old" was code for "too black."

"I was like, 'What?" 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 irony of the situation is that the role eventually went to Lucy Liu, who is two years older than Nia Long.  The actress goes on to explain what her agent told her about not landing the part:

"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 opportunity for me So, no problem, I'll keep i moving."

Who would've thought such a fun and mindless action film would have so much auditioning drama behind the scenes? I know a lot of this is a matter of perception. It's possible that Long feeling that "too old" was code for "too black" wasn't the case but it says a lot if an actress can feel some kind of way after stepping into the room. Nia Long didn't entirely miss out in 2000. She did go on to co-star in BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE which was a huge hit the same year as CHARLIE'S ANGELS, grossing $117.5 million on a $30 million budget. Who I would eventually like to hear from is Drew Barrymore who also served as a producer on the CHARLIE'S ANGELS films. She had to be aware of the audition process and I wonder if she knew exactly what was going on or was she just a producer in name only. Only time will tell.

What are YOUR thoughts on Nia Long's CHARLIE'S ANGELS audition story?

Source: Insider

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