Hollywood star Julia Roberts, who ruled the romantic comedy scene in the 90s, is returning to the genre after a gap of 20 years with Ticket to Paradise opposite George Clooney.
The Notting Hill star said she avoided the genre for almost two decades because there were no scripts that matched the level of her famous films like Pretty Woman or My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Other than her brief appearances in ensemble rom-com Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day and romance drama Eat Pray Love, the actor’s last rom-com outing was 2001’s America’s Sweethearts.
Roberts, 54, told The New York Times that she was not avoiding the genre, it’s just that good scripts did not come her way.
“People sometimes misconstrue the amount of time that’s gone by that I haven’t done a romantic comedy as my not wanting to do one,” Roberts said. “If I had read something that I thought was that ‘Notting Hill’ level of writing or ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ level of madcap fun, I would do it. They didn’t exist until this movie that I just did that Ol Parker wrote and directed.”
Roberts said she would have said no to Ticket to Paradise if it was not for Clooney, 60, her co-star in films such as Ocean’s Eleven and Money Monster.
She thought the film worked only with Clooney.
“Lo and behold, George felt it only worked with me. Somehow we were both able to do it, and off we went,” Roberts said about returning to the genre.
When asked by NYT if she avoided romantic comedies for 20 years because “there wasn’t a single good script, not one,” Roberts answered, “Yeah.”
“Here’s the thing: If I’d thought something was good enough, I would have done it,” Roberts said.
“But I also had three kids in the last 18 years. That raises the bar even more because then it’s not only ‘Is this material good?’ It’s also the math equation of my husband’s work schedule and the kids’ school schedule and summer vacation.
“It’s not just, ‘Oh, I think I want to do this.’ I have a sense of great pride in being home with my family and considering myself a homemaker.”
The actor, who is married to cinematographer Daniel Moder, said she felt a sense of responsibility with her children as they get older.
“As they get older, and particularly with my daughter, I do have a sense of responsibility for showing my children that I can be creative and that it’s meaningful to me, so meaningful that for periods of time I will choose to focus on that almost more than my family, which has been hard for me to come to terms with.”
In the NYT interview, Roberts also debunked one of the long-standing rumours about her iconic smile being insured for USD 30 million.
“No. What am I insuring it against? How would you do that? I mean, if my smile was insured, there would be someone at my house on a nightly basis saying, ‘You need to floss longer.’”