Julia Roberts talks ‘Ben Is Back,’ ‘Homecoming,’ motherhood, #MeToo and more

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Julia Roberts in “Homecoming.”

At 51, Julia Roberts tells the Associated Press that her acting roles keep getting more interesting as she gets older.

“With age comes more complexity of possible parts,” Roberts told the AP’s Jake Coyle in a recent interview. “You know, I’m happy and I have fun at home, so it would take a lot for someone to say: ‘Look, you can play this part where you’re happy and have fun.’ Well, I just do that at home!”

The mother of three is earning praise for two standout performances this fall: In her first foray into television, Roberts stars in Amazon’s acclaimed conspiracy thriller “Homecoming” as a government-sponsored caseworker coaxing soldiers back into civilian life. Roberts insisted Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”) direct all the episodes and that all the scripts be completed before shooting began on the series.

At the movies, she plays the mother of the titular son (Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”), who is home from rehab for Christmas. The family drama was written and directed by Peter Hedges (“Dan in Real Life,” and the father of Lucas).

A four-time Oscar nominee and one-time winner (for “Erin Brockovich”), Roberts is indelibly linked to the romantic comedies that made her a movie star, like “Pretty Woman,” “Notting Hill” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

Although most of her recent work, best recent work, including “Wonder,” “August: Osage County” (for which she received an Oscar nomination) and her upcoming film “Little Bee,” are dramas, Roberts told Coyle that she hasn’t turned away from romantic comedies for good.

“It’s just two delicious things put together,” says Roberts. “It’s like spending months wrapping a present for people. They’re really hard to make well, so I don’t begrudge their absence because I’d rather not see a bunch of really bad ones.”

But it can take a lot to get Roberts away from home, according to the AP. She’s notoriously picky, generally acting in one film a year, and that’s become iffier considering, as she says, there’s “a whole lot of math” that needs to factor her kids’ school schedule and that of her husband, cinematographer Danny Moder. These days, one of the biggest movie stars in recent memory has largely withdrawn from the spotlight.

While a lot has changed for Roberts, who was among Hollywood’s highest paid stars in her heyday in the 1990s and early 2000s, when it comes to the #MeToo movement and Hollywood gender parity, Roberts told the AP, “You can never rest.”

“You think that’s sorted and you come around a corner and then how is it not sorted suddenly? How is it not fair?” she said, noting a few advancements that hit home for her and her family: equal pay for women surfers and Manchester United launching a women’s team. “Things like this give me hope that our business can keep making strides, because every year that it’s ‘the year of the woman,’ you kind of go: Again? Let’s just have it always be the year of the artists. If we have to keep spotlighting the gender of this and the gender of that, we’re kind of blowing it.”





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