I had to say so many mean things: Julia Roberts

Apr 17, 2012, 08:30 IST | Shakti Shetty

Hollywood actor talks about feeling awkward playing a villain and raising her kids in a sheltered environment

A Hollywood veteran, having done over 40 films, Julia Roberts is also an Oscar-winning actress. In her career that spans almost 25 years now, she had never portrayed an evil character on screen.

But this was before she signed up for a movie adaptation of Snow White. The actress is more than happy to break the mould. In an e-mail interview with her, we learn more about her upcoming projects, kids and idols in Hollywood. 

What drew you to this film in the first place?
I read the script that Tarsem (Singh) had and I was really taken and suddenly thought, ‘Oh, wait a minute, this is all coming together in this unexpected way.’

Tell us something about Tarsem, the director?
I'm such a fan of his work. His movies are so visual, original and interesting, I always wondered how does that work! Tarsem tells the story on a far larger level. He is a genius.

You’ve just acted in a fairy tale adaptation. Perhaps you could share with us your own favourite fairy tale?
To be frank, I don't really have a favourite fairy tale. Buy my kids have a lot of fairy tale books.

What was their initial reaction on learning that you’re playing a villain?
They were fascinated! Until now, I’ve raised them in a very sheltered environment but I think this film is where they first came to know of my star status. I felt kind of awkward playing such a villainous character with them around since I had to say so many mean things. And the costumes I was wearing were so lavish that my kids could hide inside them! (laughs)

This film features a lot of elaborate costumes. How was it to wear them?
Well, they were stunning and I really think they are such an integral part of the film. As Tarsem would say, in these great, huge spaces, we needed to fill them in every way and physically really dominate them. So they had to be quite architectural and, yes, not terribly cozy. (laughs again)

Which fairy tale would you like to see up on the big screen?
I’d really like Beauty and the Beast to get a new look on the big screen. I feel that Beauty is a strong heroine who would be a great role model for young girls everywhere.

You’re working with Meryl Streep for the very first time in your next project…
Meryl is someone I’ve looked up to my entire life, so to be finally able to work alongside her is a dream come true. I can’t wait to start work on that project as soon as possible.

As an actress, who are your idols?
This may sound clichéd but I really admire Meryl’s work a lot. I also love Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn and Meg Ryan. They are fabulous actresses. 

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