'Harriet' Producer Debra Martin Chase on Her 7-Year Fight to Get the Film Made: "As Hollywood Changes, the World Changed"

Charlize Theron, Peter Chernin, David Heyman, Dan Lin and Emma Tillinger Koskoff joined Martin Chase for THR's annual Oscar Producer Roundtable.

"Harriet is not a movie about slavery," Debra Martin Chase told The Hollywood Reporter's Producer Roundtable, "It's a movie about freedom and empowerment. It really is about one woman's drive to change her life and the world."

The biopic took Martin Chase seven years to bring to the screen, saying, "Anytime you're telling a story that may be a little bit out of the mainstream, it's difficult. When you're telling a story about a historical black woman, it's really tough. Seven years ago, people were glazed over when I brought it up."

She continued: "As times change, as Hollywood changes, the world changed. People became more receptive to the idea that a movie starring a black woman (who will be someday on the face of the $20 bill) might be commercial [or] have the potential to be."

Martin Chase when on to tell the roundtable that Harriet was ultimately worth fighting for, despite all the setbacks and pushbacks noting the film is, "About a woman who couldn't read, couldn't write, was destined to be a slave her entire life and decided, 'No, that's not gonna be my destiny.' If people can get that message, that they can control what happens in their lives, that's an important thing, and that's worth fighting for."

The full Producer Roundtable is set to air Jan. 26 on SundanceTV. Martin Chase appears on the roundtable panel with Charlize Theron (Bombshell), Dan Lin (The Two Popes), Peter Chernin (Ford v Ferrari), Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Joker, The Irishman) and David Heyman (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). Follow all the Oscar season roundtables at THR.com/Roundtables.