Entertainment

Julia Roberts Took a Break from Rom-Coms Because the Right Script “Didn’t Exist”


After starring in some of the best romantic comedies of all time, Julia Roberts took a 20-year hiatus from the genre; she hasn’t headlined her own since 2001’s America’s Sweethearts. Why? In an interview with The New York Times, Roberts said she’s been biding her time until the right project came along. 

“People sometimes misconstrue the amount of time that’s gone by that I haven’t done a romantic comedy as my not wanting to do one,” she explained. “If I had read something that I thought was that Notting Hill level of writing or My Best Friend’s Wedding level of madcap fun, I would do it.”

Roberts has been open about her rom-com reticence before, but recently told the Times that raising her three children took priority over her career. “Here’s the thing: If I’d thought something was good enough, I would have done it,” she explained. “But I also had three kids in the last 18 years. That raises the bar even more because then it’s not only ‘Is this material good?’ It’s also the math equation of my husband’s work schedule and the kids’ school schedule and summer vacation. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I think I want to do this.’ I have a sense of great pride in being home with my family and considering myself a homemaker.”

The Oscar winner, who has taken supporting roles in the ensemble rom-coms Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day in the past 20 years, said quality scripts in the genre “didn’t exist.” That is, until the upcoming Ticket to Paradise, which Roberts said she would’ve passed on had it not been for her A-list co-star. “I thought, Well, disaster, because this only works if it’s George Clooney,” she said. “Lo and behold, George felt it only worked with me. Somehow we were both able to do it, and off we went.”

The film, slated for an October release, stars Roberts and Clooney as a divorced couple who travel to Bali to halt their daughter’s nuptials. Directed by Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again filmmaker Ol Parker, the project is also a return to the rom-com for Clooney. “I haven’t done a romantic comedy since One Fine Day [in 1996] and more than that,” Clooney previously said to Deadline, adding, “Julia and I just get to be mean to each other in the funniest way.” Roberts echoed this sentiment, telling the Times that it was “a joy to play in that sandbox” again, given “it has been a long time.”

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