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Why One Actress Threw Away The Script For 'The Help'

"Sometimes you read a script and you just don't know what it's going to be."

In the mid-'90s, actress Lela Rochon was practically everywhere. After her breakout role starring with Whitney Houston in "Waiting to Exhale," Rochon found herself with plenty of film roles alongside famous talents like Halle Berry and Mark Wahlberg.

Then, as Rochon chose to focus on her family, her professional momentum slowed. It was a decision she made happily, but, looking back, Rochon tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that there were opportunities for which she could have made some exceptions.

"There were things I was offered that I probably should have done, just to stay relevant," she admits.

One of those things happened to be a future award-winning phenomenon.

"I didn't go in and read or pursue 'The Help,'" Rochon says with a sheepish smile. "I actually threw the script in the trash can."

Lela Rochon smiles at a 2013 movie premiere.
Lela Rochon smiles at a 2013 movie premiere.

On the surface, Rochon took issue with her potential role.

"I wasn't a fan of the idea of playing a maid," she says.

In context, the role might have made more sense, but Rochon hadn't read the novel either. "I didn't really get it," she says. "I was like... 'Eh, I'm not really interested in that.'"

It might seem like a regrettable decision, but Rochon explains that it can be difficult to predict which films will translate well from script to screen -- and "The Help" is only one example.

"Sometimes you read a script and you just don't know what it's going to be," Rochon says. "I remember reading 'The Matrix' -- it's techno-babble, it's scientific, I don't even understand what I'm reading."

Yet, like "The Help," "The Matrix" was another box office success.

"It was huge. Huge," Rochon says. "Who knew!"

Rochon's full interview airs on "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" this Saturday, April 23, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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