Guess who I kissed?

The prospect of a lip- lock with Tom Hanks proved too much for the Pretty Woman to re­sist, write Maggie Ryan and Paul Donoughue

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

THERE are not many things that can drag Ju­lia Roberts away from her hus­band and kids these days. Pash­ing Tom Hanks, how­ever, is one of them.

‘‘ I did a dou­ble brush that morn­ing,’’ Roberts says, laugh­ing and start­ing to blush.

One scene in her new film Larry Crowne, which opens on Thurs­day, in­volves Roberts’ char­ac­ter, an al­co­holic col­lege tu­tor, grab­bing co-star Hanks ( left) and plant­ing one square on his lips.

Did she have to re­hearse wrap­ping her legs around him or was that im­pro­vised?

‘‘ There was noth­ing like that in the script,’’ she ad­mits.

‘‘ I can’t be­lieve I didn’t break his back re­ally. I think I took him by sur­prise.

‘‘ My char­ac­ter is the drunken ag­gres­sor, so for me it is a lit­tle bit more for­ward.’’

Since tak­ing on her main role as mum to six-year-old twins Phin­naeus and Hazel and four-year-old son Henry, Roberts has been keep­ing a pretty low pro­file.

The pre­vi­ously ca­reer-driven 43-year-old has de­cided to let her acting ca­reer take a back seat to fam­ily life with her hus­band, Danny Moder, and their chil­dren.

If the Pretty Woman star has kept work life to a min­i­mum, she is still keep­ing re­mark­ably busy. Last year she re­leased Eat Pray Love, the film adap­ta­tion of El­iz­a­beth Gil­bert’s best-sell­ing mem­oir.

While dis­cov­er­ing the joys of mother­hood, she has de­cided to make a doc­u­men­tary about it. Ex­tra­or­di­nary Moms, for the Oprah Win­frey Net­work, was re­leased in May.

The film in­cludes Hil­lary Clin­ton, Rosie O’Don­nell and many other prom­i­nent women talk­ing about bal­anc­ing ca­reer and fam­ily.

‘‘ I just think if you can get through the day with a smile on your face, that is the ex­tra­or­di­nary part [ of mother­hood],’’ Roberts says.

‘‘ If ev­ery­body else in your house is also smil­ing then that is the truly ex­tra­or­di­nary part.’’

What did she learn about mother­hood from mak­ing the doco?

‘‘ The power of din­ner. No joke – it is the best time of the day.’’

Hit­ting back at ru­mours she has thrown in the towel on her Hol­ly­wood ca­reer, Roberts says she’s merely de­cided to leave her cosy home life only for ‘‘ bril­liant’’ projects.

‘‘ I am for­tu­nate enough that there is the space be­tween work [ to al­low] me to get fe­ro­ciously ex­cited again for the next pro­ject that comes up. I have never been at work and felt like I don’t want to be there.’’

It was Hanks who asked her to star in Larry Crowne, a film about a ma­ture-age stu­dent which he di­rects as well as stars in.

‘‘ I was in Rome when he tracked me down,’’ Roberts says. ‘‘ I was shoot­ing Eat Pray Love at the time. I ob­vi­ously read the ma­te­rial first; I had to make a com­pre­hen­sive de­ci­sion.’’

Roberts is a vet­eran ac­tor, al­though she has a his­tory of al­most miss­ing out on roles, turn­ing them down or tak­ing long stints off be­tween films. Au­di­ences first fell in love with her in

Pretty Woman in 1990, a role for which she was the fourth choice be­hind Meg Ryan, Molly Ring­wald and Daryl Han­nah.

Af­ter play­ing Tinker Bell in Steven Spiel­berg’s Hook in 1991, she took no roles for al­most two years. She was of­fered the role along­side Hanks in the hugely suc­cess­ful Sleep­less in Seat­tle but turned it down. Meg Ryan took it.

Luck­ily for her co-star and di­rec­tor pal Hanks, Larry Crowne was the movie she needed to en­tice her away from the school runs, cook­ing and clean­ing.

Roberts plays a col­lege tu­tor named Mercedes. She falls for Crowne ( Hanks) who is re­turn­ing to study in the hope of re­boot­ing his life.

‘‘ It is the most awe­some thing any­one has asked me to do on film – asked me to be a drunken school­teacher,’’ Roberts says.

‘‘ I like that it is re­ally top­i­cal for so many of the char­ac­ters, [ with] peo­ple los­ing their jobs and los­ing their faith in the world.’’

Hanks him­self was also one of the main rea­sons she de­cided to do the film.

‘‘ Tom ob­vi­ously as a friend is al­lur­ing to me cre­atively. And then he sends me this script which is charm­ing and win­ning and then he asks me to play a drunken school­teacher. It was like a dream come true,’’ she says, laugh­ing.

‘‘ A mar­garita-slug­ging woman whose hus­band is a porn ad­dict. Ba­si­cally things have not turned out the way my char­ac­ter thought they would.’’

Roberts says she was amazed on set by her 54-year-old co-star’s en­ergy lev­els.

‘‘ I mean he just must go home and fall into an un­con­scious sense of sleep be­cause he re­ally goes 100 per cent in ev­ery depart­ment,’’ she says.

‘‘ All day long he is happy and buoy­ant. It is kind of mind-bog­gling be­cause this is only his sec­ond time di­rect­ing and he re­ally has it down how he can kind of shapeshift from one place to an­other. It is pretty im­pres­sive.’’

It is the sec­ond movie the two friends have made to­gether af­ter Char­lie Wil­son’s

War in 2007. She says she feels like they ‘‘ came up the ranks to­gether’’ as ac­tors.

‘‘ Well, we are kind of sim­i­lar. I’m not as smart as him. But I have bet­ter hair,’’ she says.

‘‘ No, I think we just ap­proach things in the same way and we have fun.’’ Her teach­ing role is a world away from

Erin Brock­ovich, one of Roberts’ best-known acting gigs. She won an Academy Award for her por­trayal of the hard-hit­ting, grass­roots lawyer’s as­sis­tant tak­ing on a ma­jor cor­po­rate power.

In Larry Crowne, Roberts’ char­ac­ter be­comes dis­en­fran­chised with teach­ing.

‘‘ In a way – in op­po­si­tion to what Larry has de­cided to do with his life – she has kind of given up a lit­tle bit and he in­spires her to rein­vig­o­rate her­self,’’ Roberts says.

‘‘ She has fallen into a bit­ter attitude and he helps her see her way through that.’’

Shoot­ing the film re­minded Roberts of some of her favourite teach­ers from her child­hood in Ge­or­gia, in­clud­ing some of her child­hood crushes. ‘‘ Mrs Guther­man,’’ she says. ‘‘ But it wasn’t a crush like that, it was like a brain crush. Coach Boyd was cute. But he was the brother of a boy in my class, so that was kind of weird.’’

Roberts has had a some­what tu­mul­tuous love life. Just as her ca­reer was tak­ing off in the early 1990s, she had two false starts – call­ing off en­gage­ments to

Steel Magnolias co-star Dy­lan McDer­mott and later 24 star Kiefer Suther­land.

At 25, she mar­ried coun­try mu­sic singer Lyle Lovett. The union lasted just un­der two years.

In 2000, she met cam­era­man Danny Moder on the set of his film

The Mex­i­can. Both were in­volved with other peo­ple at the time but were even­tu­ally mar­ried a year later. They have since had three chil­dren.

Roberts still has a pas­sion for work. Next year will see the re­lease of Snow White, in which she will play the evil queen.

‘‘ I’m go­ing to have to search deep for that evil side,’’ she says. LARRY CROWNE Opens Vil­lage Cin­e­mas on Thurs­day

– Ju­lia Roberts

{ Well, we are kind of sim­i­lar. I’m not as smart as him. But I have bet­ter hair}

{ Tom ob­vi­ously as a friend is al­lur­ing to me cre­atively. And then he sends me this script which is charm­ing and win­ning and then he asks me to play a drunken school­teacher. It was like a dream come true} SO HAPPY TO­GETHER: Scenes from Larry

Crowne, fea­tur­ing Ju­lia Roberts and Tom Hanks.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.