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Duplicity - Julia Roberts interview

Julia Roberts in Duplicity

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JULIA Roberts gave a rare British press conference in London last week, as she flew in to promote her new film Duplicity, which reunites her with Clive Owen for the first time since Closer. The Hollywood beauty reflects on the experience of shooting the movie, which finds the stars playing rival spies who also love each other, as well as her own career to date.

As Pretty Woman prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary, she tells us about her choices since then, her good fortune, balancing work and motherhood and what makes an ideal co-star – whether they are American or British!

Q. Was part of the appeal of doing Duplicity that you wanted to work together again with Clive Owen, after Closer?
Julia Roberts: They paid me loads [laughs]. No, I’m kidding! If we can do a movie like Closer and do those scenes together and still be friends I think we deserve to be able to revisit that professional relationship with a bit more fun dialogue.

Q. Is it preferable to act with someone you know/trust, like Clive?
Julia Roberts: I prefer to act with friends. I mean you start off as strangers always with someone, but to really find a relationship that you enjoy personally and creatively, it’s fantastic.

Q. When it came to the bedroom scenes, was it helpful that you’ve worked together before?
Julia Roberts: I don’t do them as much as Clive! Let’s just say that. It helps but for me it really has more to do with the fact that we laugh at the same things. We didn’t have all of our clothes off either! Come on, it’s a movie!

Q. Talking of clothes, did you raid the wardrobe afterwards?
Julia Roberts: These shoes in fact. You never know how stylish a movie is going to be and I think this movie has a great sense of style. The way that it is shot and our costumes and everything, it was just terrific.

Q. Were there any pranks played between the two of you on-set, in keeping with your characters?
Julia Roberts: We laughed a lot. When we were shooting we were always being so silly almost to the point of Tony [Gilroy, director] being annoyed with us because we wouldn’t get serious and be our serious selves in the movie. We have a very similar sense of humour but we’re not really pranksters together, we’re more mature than that!

Q. What was shooting on location in places like Rome like?
Julia Roberts: It was amazing filming in Rome! That was the end of the road for us on our shooting schedule and that was so beautiful and cinematic, you really kind of feel you are in the middle of a dream and the people were really accommodating and nice and we didn’t really draw huge crowds. People in Italy seemed to have places to go – although we did start at 4 o’clock in the morning! We were wrapping early, weren’t we? I’d forgotten that.

Q. Is it rare to find scripts like this? Or is that a perk of being in your position, that they find you?
Julia Roberts: Not this smart… you just don’t find scripts that are at this level, I don’t think.

Q. Do you feel like you have been away as some people have suggested? Is this a comeback?
Julia Roberts: I don’t but I guess a lot of you [the press] do. I think it’s sweet, I think you missed me.

Q. We’re one year away from the 20th anniversary of Pretty Woman
Julia Roberts: Really? I’m well preserved [laughs]!

Q. What would the Julia of 1990 make of the career she has subsequently had?
Julia Roberts: I wouldn’t have believed it. I still barely do, truthfully. I’m so continually fortunate that I keep coming across these smart, interesting, creative people who pick me. It’s just stupendous.

Q. Is there any advice you would give yourself?
Julia Roberts: No, I think I made really solid decisions, and I would stand by them all over again.

Q. Being a parent, do you build your career around the kids?
Julia Roberts: I still get to pack mine up with me, this [Duplicity] was an ideal situation because we filmed most of it in New York, so my older kids were in school and my baby was with me and it was really a dream scenario.

Q. Has your level of trust shifted as you’ve become more experienced as an actress in coping with celebrity?
Julia Roberts: No it hasn’t. I’m a really trusting person and I always have been. I just think I’ve cultivated a very keen skill of recognising someone I shouldn’t trust, pretty readily. A person has about 15 to 27 seconds before I’m pretty sure whether or not I can trust them or not.

Q. Having appeared alongside English actors quite a few times, do you notice any difference between them and American actors?
Julia Roberts: I have had a lot of your countrymen as co-stars, that’s true. I quite like them both. It depends on the person. I don’t think English makes the man nor does American, but I like this guy right here [Clive]. He’s nice and tall, which means I never have a double chin – there’s lots of shots of me looking up, and I’m a swan. Well, we all laugh but it’s so true.

Q. Do you consider this time to be one of the happiest times of your life?
Julia Roberts: It’s an exceptional time, and it’s always the happiest time if you can be really present and doing the things that you want to be doing and surrounding yourself with the people you love. So, yeah, I’m in a good spot right now.

Q. What’s next for you?
Julia Roberts: I have a movie coming out called Fireflies in the Garden with Emily Watts and Willem Dafoe.

Read our review of Duplicity