Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My interview with Julia Roberts

Here's my story that came out in the Philippine Star today. My byline was missing :( awww...


Pretty Woman grows up
(The Philippine Star) Updated February 11, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - For those who are hoping, no, praying for a sequel to the 1990 runaway hit Pretty Woman, I am afraid I’ve got bad news. Julia Roberts virtually sealed the coffin when she confirmed what would surely break the hearts of many fans who want to see Vivian Ward and Edward Lewis together on-screen again: No, there’ll be no sequel. Nada!

“Nobody wants to see an old hooker!” the Oscar-winning actress exclaimed during the weekend junket for her latest movie, the funny and charming Warner Bros. romantic comedy Valentine’s Day, which opens in theaters across the Philippines tomorrow, Feb. 12.

The subject came to fore because Julia is reuniting with her Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall in this movie. The lovely and very beautiful superstar, whose laughter — that big wide-mouthed expressive laugh that’s been the hallmark of many of her past movie performances — was indeed genuinely real in person. She is part of an impressive ensemble cast that features some of the biggest names in Hollywood today.

“A parade of stars you rarely see any place in America,” was how Garry describes it. It’s like the gods of Hollywood called for a party and every A-list star decided to show up.

Take this list and see if you will not get dizzy just by reading out their names: Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Taylor Swift, Taylor Lautner, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Topher Grace, Kathy Bates, Bradley Cooper, Hector Elizondo and Shirley Maclaine. Are your eyes spinning now?

And would you believe even Richard Gere would have been in the movie, too, if only he was not tied down to another project? Garry shared that at the end of Pretty Woman he “made a pact” with Richard and Julia that if something comes up “we’ll always get together and we check, ‘would you like to be in this?’ and she’d always say ‘no!’ But we finally got together for this and Richard couldn’t do this!”

The threesome last worked together 10 years ago in another smash hit Runaway Bride which ironically was Julia’s last foray into the romantic-comedy genre. The actress has not appeared in another romantic comedy since then and that fanned speculations that perhaps she was finally done with romantic-comedies.

"It’s not that I am anti-romantic-comedy, which always what ends up being for some reason the favored interpretation of me saying I don’t wanna do some specific things,” she clarified. “I’m not! I like being funny, I like being romantic. It’s just that it’s more challenging and difficult to find scripts that are original or interesting — particularly when you are 41. They become more challenging because the scenarios have to be more original because you can’t just be falling off chairs as amusingly as before and you get hurt when you are older.”
“Garry found this great script that I thought was really refreshing, sweet and touching,” she continued. “And the part that he asked me to play was I thought incredibly appropriate to my sensibilities and how I feel about love and the world and I was more than happy to take the part.”

Julia appears in the movie as US Army Captain Kate Hazeltine, who takes a one day leave from her tour of duty and travels 14 hours to see someone she dearly loves on Valentine’s Day. “One of the things I like about the part is that there is a little mystery about her,” she said of her character. The movie does not reveal who she is meeting up with until the very end and it’s a surprise that is “very sweet and truthful.”

“I just love Garry,” she confided. “I owe him my entire career — and even the bad ones — and every 10 years we get together to work and we play in-between. He and Barbara (Garry’s wife) comes over and visit the kids and he’s just a great person.”

In Valentine’s Day, Julia also reunites with fellow veteran actress Shirley Maclaine, with whom she co-starred in the 1990 female-centered movie Steel Magnolias. That movie brought the then 21-year-old Hollywood newcomer her very first Oscar nomination.

“We were friends in Steel Magnolias when she was just born,” Shirley teasingly recalled. Julia let out her famous laugh at this remark and the room erupted in laughter with her. “And she was contending with a director who did not have a lot of sensitivity,” Shirley continued. “That’s the truth and I was very impressed with how she related to that.”

“Shirley was my savior. We see each other now and then but it’s never enough. So anytime that you can be working with friends — that’s the true reward of being in this business for a long time,” Julia said.

The two have remained friends over the years and it is people like Julia that’s keeping Shirley from retirement. “I admire her for what she’s done in her life this past 20 years — very much so, and (speaking to Julia) you were so good in Duplicity, that picture should have gotten more recognition.”

The 75-year-old actress related that she enjoys “the whole pretense of being someone else for a while. I don’t think I’ll retire. They might retire me but it won’t be my volition…”

“When we did the cemetery scene,” Garry cut in, “Shirley knew many of the people there.” To which, Shirley quipped: “I spoke to them all evening. They were keeping you cool, they were keeping me warm. That was very, very reassuring. Nothing ever dies!”

Julia, sitting right next to Garry, broke into her trademark big laugh again upon hearing Shirley’s witty retort.

arlier during the first part of our interview, Julia showed us her playful side herself when she good-naturedly complained about some candy she received while doing another interview earlier in the day.

“Hello! What are those people thinking?” she asked laughing. “They were shocking! Somebody gave me a little Valentine heart, one of those sweet little candies, and it said — don’t translate this — it said…give me head.”

It wasn’t the candy though that persuaded Julia to do this movie.

Here’s how it happened: “Garry came over to my house,” she said. “I fed you a nice lunch (speaking to Garry) and he said, ‘You have to do it!’ And I was, ‘Okay!’ It was like that.”

The lunch part was all that Garry remembered, though. “It was a very nice lunch, she cooks well!” he exclaimed. “She is quite a mom with the three kids running around!”

Yes. There is a reason why we seldom see Julia on the big screen anymore. Pretty Woman has grown up. But no, you still won’t see her shop on Rodeo Drive. “It’s expensive there,” is all that she says.

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