If making it to a half-century of years isn’t a reason to celebrate then what is? Except for Julia Roberts – refreshed, revived and back at the very peak of her acting powers – making it to 50 is incidental… it’s what’s either side of that milestone that counts.
LL: Your new film, Wonder, tells the story of Auggie [Jacob Tremblay], a boy with facial deformities who has to adapt to a new school environment. What led you to it?
It was a book I bought for my eldest son, and I started reading it on a plane. I was immediately caught up in the story and was excited about what it could teach people. I called my agent and asked him if someone was making the book into a movie and, if so, I wanted to play the part of the mother.
LL: One of the issues of the film is how not to judge people by their appearances? How do you feel about that?
Julia: We need to learn how to discover more about people and not immediately react to how a person looks and make snap judgements. It takes practice though. I’ve made judgements like that which have turned out to be completely wrong and then become best friends with that person.
LL: Do you think Hollywood should be making more of these kinds of movies?
Julia: I think we should be telling more optimistic stories. I’m a very optimistic person and that’s probably one of the reasons loved the book so much. I think we all want to feel good and have wonderful stories that lift us up and get away from all the negativity.
LL: What was it like growing up in your house?
Julia: My mom had a full-time job and a full house, and lots of people to take care of. In our family there was very little talk about feelings. There’s wasn’t a lot of time for deep conversations.
LL: What is dinner time like for you as a mother?
Julia: Now with my family, we do have the luxury of a family dinner where a lot of things come up, negative and positive, of what people are going through in the day.
We also read together. Now it’s not something I’ve invented, I can’t take credit, millions of families around the world do the same. But I learned it from my father, who would read to us every night, and I loved the tradition
LL: How have you managed to combine your movie career with the demands that come with being a mother?
Julia: I’m not a great representative of the group of working women who have to find that balance. After all, I have a job where the working hours are flexible, and I can bring my kids to work; but I also like being at home. I think it’s great to be able to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also like being able to take a long time between movies to enjoy real life. I need to be able to relax and enjoy basic pleasures like reading and taking long walks.
LL: You turned 50 recently, congratulations.
Julia: Thank you.
LL: It’s a universal milestone, turning 50. Would you say it’s something to celebrate?
Julia: 50 years? It was a great celebration and I enjoyed it very much. I had a lovely surprise in the form of my three kids. My husband and I were away on a trip in San Francisco and I was a little sad I wasn’t with them for the day in question. And then we turned into a shop, my husband directed me in there and I looked around and there they were. And we had a gorgeous day just the five of us.
But the 50 bit is just a number – it really is. What you do before and after that birthday pays no attention to age, so why should I?
LL: Are you comfortable being regarded as a glamorous woman?
Julia: I’m not known as a glamorous person, I don’t think. Thank you! Will you spread that around?!
Ultimately, I think we are who we are. On many movies I’ve had questions along the lines of ‘is it liberating to be unglamorous in roles?’. I see it that, as an actor, my responsibility is to be truthful and authentic to a person’s experience and I think it’s exciting to figure out how to be the same person and show that person as just a shell. How do you do that without putting on a mask or getting too contrived? How do we all do that every day of our lives – let personality shine through whilst not being defined by our beauty regimes? I find it very exciting to experiment with that.
Isn’t Julia fabulous? If you enjoyed this, here’s the ugly truth that Helena Christensen revealed about beautiful people when we spoke to her. Here’s how Yasmin Le Bon keeps up with her three daughters and here’s why Cheryl, Emma Forbes and Gemma Sheppard are feeling so fantastic.