Dear Julia Roberts: A leading light of the London fringe (paid pounds 25 a week) congratulates a Hollywood star on her latest pay rise (to dollars 8m a film)

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I've been a fan of yours ever since you strode on to our screens as the tall one in Mystic Pizza in 1988. You dazzled us all with your lovely smile and thigh-length boots in Pretty Woman and now you're the world's highest-paid female star. For your new film, The Women, a remake of a 1939 movie starring Joan Crawford, I've just heard that you're going to be paid dollars 8m. It's the biggest fee ever paid to a woman in Hollywood, so congratulations]

I know it hasn't all been easy for you. You've had your difficult times, just like everyone else. But your confidence seems to have grown over the last couple of years and I'm glad. You called all the shots in The Pelican Brief and you even chose your leading man, sexy Denzel Washington.

I get annoyed on your behalf, Julia, when I hear that people are calling you difficult. They say you want too much control over the films you're in. They say that you fuss over scripts. I'm sure you are no more difficult than Kevin or Mel, but because they happen to be pretty men, and not pretty women, we call them 'powerful personalities' and 'selective about their work'. Nobody accuses them of having tantrums or walking away from crap. And they choose their leading ladies all the time]

Now you're making headlines with that great big whopping fee. Well, I think you're a bargain, especially when you consider that Bruce Willis, who is very nearly bald and has appalling taste in vests, is being paid dollars 13m for Die Hard 3. It's just not fair, is it?

Still, if it's any consolation, some of us are getting by on a bit less. Take my own case. I've been working very hard recently performing my one-woman play, Jordan, at the Battersea Arts Centre, a fringe theatre here in London. You see, I'm an actress too. It's nice to know we have something in common. I expect you pored over your Stanislavsky when you were a teenager, just as I did. And I imagine that your only current wish, like mine, is to do quality work in an industry where most work is shoddy.

Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, Jordan has done pretty well. It's played to packed houses, won a Writers' Guild award and a Time Out award for best performance. You might like to know that I got paid 25 quid a week for it. I don't want you to imagine for a moment that I'm complaining. I'm one of the highest-paid actresses on the fringe.

We're shortly going to make a film of Jordan. We're working with an independent film company which has a genuine artistic vision and is letting me call quite a lot of the shots. It's fantastic, isn't it?

The only thing is that we're a little short of money. A thousandth of your fee would just about sort us out, and I was wondering . . .?

With very best wishes to you,

Moira Buffini

(Photograph omitted)

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