In InStyle’s September issue, editor Ariel Foxman sat down with Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts for a chat at her favorite low-key Malibu cafe. Three hours later, Foxman emerged with notes on the 46-year-old’s family, style preferences, favorite films, and more. (Roberts even turned the tables on Foxman for her own line of questioning, which also appears in the issue.)
What follows is an excerpt of that conversation. To read the full interview (of both actress and editor) pick up the September issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download today.
Ariel Foxman: Have you ever been starstruck?
Julia Roberts: Yes. I’m sure I’ve done other embarrassing things I’ve blocked out, but here’s the most starstruck moment I can remember: I was doing a press junket, and I was very sick, tired, and vulnerable—that has to be established. I’m doing interviews, and all of a sudden, in walks Gene Hackman. I did this: “Hi! Oh my God!” I hugged him and cried, “You’re so handsome!”
And what was his response?
He was very sweet, but he wanted to get away from me. It was so embarrassing.
How has Hollywood changed since you started out?
I say it to the point of sounding annoying and deceivingly old, but back in my day, showbiz was different. We didn’t have the Internet, and the types of scripts you got and the amount of scripts you got and what you got paid made sense. It also felt, for better or worse, entirely within my control.
That’s interesting. Can you elaborate?
Some years I’d make three movies, then I wouldn’t make a movie for two years. For some reason I [started feeling the pressure to] sustain momentum, and I knew that wasn’t for me. But it wasn’t like I was sitting down and putting much intellect into it. I chose every movie on instinct, and I was just fortunate that my instinct mostly lined up with the time I was occupying.
So if you had to create a definitive boxed set of your films for your kids, which ones would you include?
I’d have to say—in no order of favorite or year—Erin Brockovich, Closer, My Best Friend’s Wedding, August: Osage County, Ocean’s Eleven, and, I don’t know, Mystic Pizza or Pretty Woman. Oh! And Notting Hill! What am I thinking? Notting Hill is such a winner. [Later, Roberts emails one more: The Pelican Brief.]
All amazing movies. Do you believe fate played a hand in the films you’ve made?
Absolutely. Cate Blanchett was supposed to do my part in Closer, but she got pregnant and couldn’t do it.
And Meg Ryan was originally cast as Shelby in Steel Magnolias but dropped out to do When Harry Met Sally…?
It’s a sadder story. She was actually cast in both movies. But they went over when they were filming Harry, and the Steel Magnolias production couldn’t wait for her.
Happily, Meg landed on her feet.
Yes! And funny enough, I’d been offered Sleepless in Seattle but couldn’t do it. She and Tom Hanks are just such a jewel of a fit in that. I guess what they did for that moment in time is sort of what Richard [Gere] and I were doing across town, you know? I always feel like there’s room for everybody. I don’t consider myself really all that ambitious. When I didn’t get a part—even when I was younger and needing to pay rent—I would think, “Oh, someone else got it. She’s going to be so good.” I never felt sour grapes.
For more of our interview with Roberts, pick up the September issue of InStyle, on newsstands and available for digital download Friday, August 15.