This Wednesday, October 5, Julia Roberts will find on screen her friend George Clooney, with whom she has already shot several films (Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Money Monster), in a romantic comedy about a blowback in Bali: Ticket to Paradise. The opportunity to return to the lesser known aspects of the life and career of this solar actress, who remains, at 54, America’s little fiancée. And a superstar whose XXL smile is capable of eclipsing any shot of the blues in spectators softened to the point of forgiving this icon of popular cinema certain, unconvincing feature films (Eat, Pray, Friend, Full-frontal).
The trailer for “Pretty Woman” (1990) by Garry Marshall
1. The filming of “Pretty Woman” (1990) was chaotic
Before filming in the cult film Pretty Woman (1990), which made her a starJulia Roberts had acted in only a few films (including Women’s gossip and Mystic Pizza) and series. And the experience was not without its inconveniences. Faced with his devouring stress, all the members of the film crew tried, by all means, to calm his nerves. Director Garry Marshall tickled her feet offscreen to make her laugh during a shot where she is watching television and Richard Gere improvised, to amuse his partner, the famous scene where the box of the necklace he gives her closes on the fingers of the actress.
During the filming of a love scene, Julia Roberts – who in this romantic comedy embodies a prostitute in love of a wealthy businessman – was so tense that a vein swelled in his forehead. Richard Gere then improvised a frontal massage so that the very apparent vein did not disappear. Since then, the profession of intimacy coordinator has been invented in order to alleviate the anxieties of actors and actresses related to the filming of sex scenes. It is also a safe bet that certain biases of the film, where the hero appears as a dominant man wanting to maintain his lover, would not pass at all today, in a post #MeToo era.
Julia Roberts at the press conference for “The Pelican Affair” in 1993. Photo by Jeffrey Markowitz/Sygma via Getty Images.
2. She converted to Hinduism
Julia Roberts was born in 1967, in Smyrna, Georgia, a father follower of the Christian evangelical Baptist movement and a Catholic mother. And she was raised in the precepts of the Catholic religion. But today she is a practicing Hindu. She indeed converted to after the filming of the film Eat Pray Love (2010) and meeting a guru in India. Since then, she has been going to the temple as a family and has given Hindu names to her children, Laxmi for Hazel, Ganesh for Phinnaeus and Krishna Balram for Henry. She also tries to instill in her offspring a certain spirituality, raising them far from social networks and an education marked by punishments by favoring discussion, joy and harmony.
Julia Roberts and George Clooney in “Ticket to Paradise” (2022) by Ol Parker
3. She assumes her wrinkles
Her XXL smile – insured for 30 million dollars – is as legendary as that of the Mona Lisa. She has been voted “the most beautiful woman in the world” several times, and for many years she was the highest paid actress in Hollywood, earning in particular $ 20 million for Erin Brockovich, alone against all (2000) by Steven Soderbergh, a cult film that won him an Oscar. But Julia Roberts doesn’t want her skin unmarked by time, forever. In several interviews, she explains that she did not use Botox. In 2010, she told the American edition of the magazine She : “ I want my kids to know when I’m angry, when I’m happy and when I’m confused. “Your face tells a story, and it shouldn’t be the story of your journey to the doctor’s office..”
In the same interview, the rebellious American added : “It’s unfortunate that we live in such a panicked and dysmorphic society where women don’t even give themselves the chance to see what they will look like as old people.” Four years later, in the pages of You Magazinethe actress commented on this unusual choice as follows: “By Hollywood standards, I think I took a big risk by refusing to do a facelift.” But his defiance of the injunctions did not prevent the star from filming for several decades in a row and continuing to land numerous roles in big-budget films like the romantic comedy Ticket to Paradise, alongside his friend George Clooney, which is released this Wednesday, October 5 in theaters. And she remains one of the favorite celebrities of Americans, like the French.
Julia Roberts in “Erin Brockovich, alone against all” (2000) by Steven Soderbergh
4. She’s been called a “difficult” actress
She played the clarinet as a child, wanted to be a veterinarian then a journalist before becoming an actress (while both her parents were actors), practices yoga to calm her nerves, loves to knit between takes and exudes a solar aura. However, for some of her colleagues, Julia Roberts would be much less sympathetic than her bright and cool aura suggests. On the film set Hook or Captain Hook’s revenge (1991) by Steven Spielberg, it would have put the director and his acting partners (Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams) through hell for 116 days.
Going through post-breakup depression (she had broken off her marriage to actor Kiefer Sutherland), the one who plays Tinkerbell in the film was even named Tinker Hell (a play on words with Tinker Bell) by the feature film team. Often absent, late and angry, she would have multiplied the whims and complaints, regretting not having enough scenes. Technicians also recounted an argument between the star and Steven Spielberg during which he would have been called “sinister con“. However, one can wonder with hindsight if this episode was not amplified, American actresses are often considered “difficult” by Hollywood while often they simply want to impose themselves in a still very masculine environment.
Julia Roberts in “Closer, between consenting adults” (2004) by Mike Nichols
5. It multiplies the commitments
In addition to taking from her feminist remarks made in her interviews, advocating empowerment, Julia Roberts brought her daughter Hazel to the first edition of the Women’s March, to protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump, in 2017. A year earlier, she caused a sensation at the Cannes Film Festival, in throwing off the institution’s protocol decreeing that women must wear heels when climbing stairs. Unconventional, the actress paraded barefoot. But this is not the only commitment of the heroine of Love at first sight in Notting Hill (1999).
The one who was named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 1994 was rewarded (in 2014) by the association GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), committed to LGBT students, for its commitment against discrimination. And she’s known for her longstanding support of multiple green initiatives around renewable energy. Recently, in 2019, Michelle Obama also chose the Lancôme and Chopard muse to accompany her on a humanitarian trip to Vietnam to encourage the education of young girls. If in some of these romantic comedies, Julia Roberts embodied a woman passively waiting for her prince charming, in life she never ceased to be a true heroine, modern and intrepid.
Ticket to Paradise (2022) by Ol Parker with Julia Roberts and George Clooney, in theaters on October 5.