Julia Roberts, 48, stars in an emotionally grueling role in the remake of the Argentinean movie, Secret in their Eyes, in which she plays a detective and mother of a slain daughter.
Off-screen this mother of three (10 year old twins Hazel and Phinnaeus and 6 year old Henry) leads a happy and stable life with cinematographer Danny Moder, with whom she’s been married for 13 years.
What was your reaction when you watched the original film? It’s pretty tough.
Well, the original film is astounding. It’s a great movie and all the performances are so thorough. What I love about is, it’s like a quiet opera and there is so much going on. When I read my part, it was originally written as a man who loses his wife. Then they said they would make the character a woman who loses her wife. And I thought, ‘Well, that is cool and very 21st century.’ I really liked that idea but when I read the script, about halfway through when things start to get really sticky in the story, I thought it should be her child that she loses. It should be something that everyone has or was so that there’s no one who doesn’t see some element of this in their own heart.
One can only imagine what this woman is going through. As an actress, how did you get into the mindset of a mother losing her child?
It is scary and it’s one of those things that I feel like for the first time ever, I think, was something so challenging and I really stayed very focused on the facts of her life and her situation. You’re not thinking, ‘Oh, my dog died when I was eight.’ It was all very clear to me that her whole world had to be very available to my mind.
Do you feel it’s one of the most dramatic subjects that you’ve had to tackle so far?
Not necessarily. It’s a thriller. It’s an exciting movie and there are twists and turns. I mean, it certainly has its intensity and some days were definitely hard. No days were easy but some days you sort of understood what to do naturally.
It’s been 25 years since the release Pretty Woman. How do you look back on that milestone in your career?
Filled with joy. I mean Pretty Woman, I don’t know what magic pot Garry Marshall (director) put that movie in that cast such a lovely spell on people but people just really enjoy it and continue to enjoy it and continue to talk to us about it and it’s such a little treasure in my career.
We’re talking a lot right now about sexism in Hollywood. Do you have your personal opinion about this subject? Has it touched you directly in your career?
Well I think to the division of the men and women issue it’s kind of like on this little balancer and sometimes you feel like, ‘Okay. We are getting there,’ but sometimes it’s out of balance. I think we are still having a conversation about it and hopefully one day there won’t be a conversation.
Onto lighter subjects, are you still a keen gardener?
(laughs) Yes. We eat everything we grow in the garden. At the moment we have beets and tomatoes and lettuce. We have a pair of avocado trees that are very generous. And we have the eggs from our chickens.
With Christmas coming up – do you cook or do you have catering?
Oh, I always cook. The great thing about the holidays is that you have this hall pass to spend all day in the kitchen for days and days which is just so fun to cook such an abundance of food for a big group of people. Not that I don’t enjoy cooking every day for just the five of us, but it’s nice to change things, get out the cookbooks and just look for things that are new and delicious.
Is there something you always include?
There’s a particular brussel sprouts recipe that my husband really likes so I always make that for him.
How would you describe your home life?
We have a very loving environment in our house. I think our children are compassionate and good listeners as well as being empathetic and I think they’ve learned that by example.
What are you passionate about these days?
As I get older, and I AM an old timer now, my responsibility is to stay passionate about learning and being open to learning from my own mistakes, from other people’s mistakes, being open to constantly seeing the people in my life as teachers. It’s important to evolve as you get older to really have an evolution.