During the early years of her career, Julia Roberts had a reputation for being a little bit difficult to work with.
When asked about this rumor in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that same year, Julia said she had “never heard” the nickname. But she didn’t deny that she may have rubbed people the wrong way on set, adding, “But I’m a normal person. I mean, if I sit in my trailer for six hours doing nothing, I’m going to say, ‘What the fuck is going on?’”
Steven also fueled the fire during an interview on 60 Minutes, where he said, “It was not a great time for Julia and I to be working together.” When he was asked if he would ever work with her again, he retorted, “This is a 60 Minutes question, isn’t it?”
After the interview aired, Julia told Vanity Fair, “I saw that, and my eyes popped out of my head. I couldn’t believe that this person that I knew and trusted was actually hesitating to come to my defense.”
And in a new interview with director Richard Curtis for British Vogue, Julia addressed the conscious decision she made not to be “too friendly” on movie sets.
Julia and Richard worked together on the 1999 rom-com Notting Hill and have remained good friends ever since. But partway through the chat, Richard admitted that he was “scared of” Julia when they first met.
The comment was triggered when Julia told the director that they “have better, more fun conversations now than we had 25 years ago.” In response, Richard said, “I was scared of you then. Do you remember what you said to me on the final week of Notting Hill?”
He continued, “You said you have to be careful on movies, careful you’re not too friendly.”
While Julia didn’t appear to remember this conversation, she didn’t deny it either, and asked Richard if she’d said at the time why that was. He replied, “Because you said someone will always slightly take advantage of it. That someone will always suddenly ask you to meet their mom and come to dinner and everything.”
“You just felt you had to focus on your job,” Richard added before asking, “Do you still sometimes feel that you have to hold back? Because people are reacting to you not as a person but as a famous person?”
Julia acknowledged that the situation can be “tricky,” explaining, “I feel I sometimes have to hold back because there’s too many question marks over what the space will expand into.”
She shared, “And sometimes people are so familiar with me. I’ll say, ‘Hi!’ ‘Oh, my god, hi!’ I have hugged, warmly, total strangers.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Julia acknowledged that because of her personality, she can sometimes come across as “really harsh” — but she insisted that she never intends to hurt people’s feelings.
“I think I speak very plainly,” she said. “That’s kind of how I see myself. I’m very forthright. There are a lot of personalities in the world that don’t accept that easily, and it can seem really harsh, even if I feel like I’m just being honest about something and just saying this is how I see it. I never am trying to be unkind.”
And part of Julia’s frankness was reflected in the making of Notting Hill, with Richard revealing in the interview that Julia made him change part of the script in hopes of increasing the value of subsequent movie offers she received.
In case you didn’t know, Julia plays a world-famous Hollywood actor called Anna Scott in the film, and at one point the character is asked, “Last film you did, what did you get paid?”
Anna says, “$15 million.” In her conversation with Richard, Julia said that he initially “lowballed” her character, with Richard revealing in response, “I lowballed you, but you insisted on me changing the script so that your price for your next movie would go up.”
And Julia proudly owned this savvy business move, simply stating, “Because I am a feminist.”