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Julia Roberts reveals issue with Notting Hill role that made her ‘uncomfortable’

Actor didn’t hold back while discussing 1999 romcom with director Richard Curtis

Isobel Lewis
Sunday 21 January 2024 12:31 GMT
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Julia Roberts reacts to shocking revelation that she's actually 'not a Roberts'

Julia Roberts has opened up about the part of Notting Hill she “loathed” making.

Roberts, most recently seen in Netflix film Leave the World Behind, starred in the 1999 romantic comedy as a Hollywood film actor who finds romance with a British bookshop owner, played by Hugh Grant.

At the time, Roberts was a bonafide star of her own, having starred in Pretty Woman in 1990 and My Best Friend’s Wedding two years before Notting Hill.

In an interview with British Vogue, Roberts discussed the film in conversation with its creator, writer Richard Curtis.

While talking about the roles she’d taken over the years, Roberts explained that, while there were similarities between herself and her characters, she never felt “like I’m playing myself”.

“Honestly, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was your movie, playing a movie actress. I was so uncomfortable!” she told Curtis of Notting Hill.

“I mean, we’ve talked about this so many times, but I almost didn’t take the part because it just seemed – oh, it just seemed so awkward. I didn’t even know how to play that person.”

Roberts and Grant in 1999’s ‘Notting Hill' (Getty Images)

Roberts then explained that she’d particularly “loathed” being dressed as a movie star for the film, and that the clothes she ended up wearing for the famous “I’m just a girl” scene were her own she’d worn that day.

“My driver, lovely Tommy, I sent him back to my flat that morning,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Go into my bedroom and grab this, this and this out of my closet.’ And it was my own flip-flops and my cute little blue velvet skirt and a T-shirt and my cardigan… I mean, it was a great scene. But who knew that that would become the line.”

While Notting Hill cemented Roberts as a romcom actor, the actor revealed in 2022 that the reason she hadn’t returned to the genre was because she hadn’t found anything “good enough”.

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With Curtis in 2018 (Getty Images for InStyle)

Roberts explained that “people sometimes misconstrue the amount of time that’s gone by” as her “not wanting” to do a romantic comedy, which wasn’t the case.

“If I had read something that I thought was Notting Hill-level of writing or My Best Friend’s Wedding-level of madcap fun, I would do it.”

The exception to the trend, she said, had been 2022’s Ticket to Paradise, which she starred in opposite George Clooney.

“They didn’t exist until this movie that I just did that Ol Parker wrote and directed,” she said.

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