Ju­lia Roberts is rul­ing the big & small screen

After a life­time in film, JU­LIA ROBERTS is mak­ing a tele­vi­sion se­ries. Why, some will ask? Be­cause she wants to, says Deb­o­rah Herd

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

WHEN I STARTED WRIT­ING THIS AR­TI­CLE, I asked my 13-year-old daugh­ter if she knows who Ju­lia Roberts is. ‘Of course,’ she said, giv­ing me that look that says ‘I may be a child but I’m not an id­iot.’ Then she rat­tled off some of her re­cent films – Won­der, Mother’s Day, Eat Pray Love – as if to prove her point. ‘And Not­ting Hill. Or was that San­dra Bul­lock?’ she asked.

‘That was Ju­lia Roberts,’ I con­firmed. ‘What about Pretty Woman? Have you seen that?’

‘It’s a 16,’ said Jemima, who (long may it last) re­fuses to watch movies above her age limit.

‘Are you sure?’ I asked, googling the Pyg­malion- in­spired story of a pros­ti­tute (Ju­lia) who falls for Richard Gere’s wealthy busi­ness­man. Jemima is right, but what sur­prised me more was the fact that the rom­com that shot the ac­tress to su­per­star­dom was made as far back as 1990. Ju­lia Roberts has been the queen of Hol­ly­wood for al­most 30 years.

Since then, she’s made no less than one movie a year. The only year she didn’t make a movie was 2005, after she and her hus­band, cin­e­matog­ra­pher Danny Moder, wel­comed twins Hazel and Phin­naeus. In 2007, when son Henry joined the twins, she made Char­lie Wil­son’s War with Tom Hanks.

But it was the year 2000, 10 years after Pretty Woman, when Ju­lia’s star reached a strato­sphere of its own. She be­came the first ac­tress to com­mand $20-mil­lion (about R280-mil­lion) for a movie. The film was Steven Soder­bergh’s Erin Brock­ovich, which also gar­nered her the Best Ac­tress Os­car and Golden Globe. The same year, she be­came the first ac­tress to make The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter’s list of the 50 most in­flu­en­tial women in show busi­ness and Peo­ple mag­a­zine named her the most beau­ti­ful per­son in the world – for the sec­ond time. In 2017, a few months be­fore she turned 50, she was awarded the ti­tle again for a record-break­ing fifth time. It’s hard to ar­gue with that smile.

Since hav­ing chil­dren, Ju­lia has eased up on the num­ber of films she’s made, fit­ting each around her life as a self-de­clared ‘soc­cer mom’. She has said in in­ter­views that when the kids were younger, she took them on lo­ca­tion. Now, movies slot around fam­ily life.

Away from her ca­reer, Ju­lia has cho­sen a pri­vate life in Mal­ibu where, when she is spot­ted, she’s dressed ca­su­ally for the neigh­bour­hood goods mar­ket rather than for Rodeo Drive. A good evening, she says, is hav­ing din­ner with her fam­ily, fol­lowed by a board game. Her favourite is mah jong.

Late last year, her first-ever TV show, Home­com­ing, started stream­ing on Ama­zon Prime Video. The psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller is based on a pod­cast and co-stars Bobby Can­navale, Der­mot Mul­roney and Sissy Spacek – all film stars. Ju­lia says she thinks the story, which is based on two dif­fer­ent time­lines and has earned rave re­views, is ‘served bet­ter’ as a TV show.

If Ju­lia walks into a room packed with Hol­ly­wood A-lis­ters there isn’t one whose star shines brighter. She has had – and still has – a ca­reer and life that oth­ers can only hope to fol­low.

When you’re the big­gest movie star of your gen­er­a­tion, it doesn’t mat­ter how a show is screened. It mat­ters only that you want to do it.

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