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Julia Roberts Gets a Makeunder for Secret in Their Eyes: I Needed to Look "Empty"

Buh-bye, pretty woman!

Julia Roberts is more than just dressed down in her new thriller Secret in Their Eyes—she was given a complete makeunder for her role.

The Oscar winner's skin is pale, her lips are dry and she's sporting bangs that appear as if she cut them herself at home.

But it's too be expected. In the film, Roberts plays an FBI agent named Jess whose teenage daughter is raped and brutally murdered.

"It is freeing," Roberts tells me about not having to worry too much about hair, makeup and wardrobe. "But also in this instance it was to show she was empty."

In a pivotal heart-wrenching scene, Jess and her colleague ( Chiwetel Ejiofor) discover that a dead body in a dumpster is actually her daughter. The moment shows Roberts crying out and jumping into the dumpster.

"Obviously we had a lot of anticipation going into the scene—some of us more dread than anticipation," Roberts says. "People say, 'It must have been so hard. You have children.' I'm like this has nothing to do with me and my kids were never a part of it or thought about. I was trying to so fully and totally occupy Jess' life and her complete joyful devotion to this girl who she just loves. She loves her daughter, she is her favorite person. It's all there. You just have to sort of open the door to that room of thoughts."

Roberts real-life husband Danny Moder was the cinematographer on the film. He was in the dumpster shooting the scene. "When I think of the three of us in that dumpster—it was so cold and we were just conjuring up this horror," the Oscar winner remembers. "It's kind of nutty. It was one of those things we were all just wanting to get exactly right. We wanted it to be the best of what we do."

Directed by Billy Ray, the film co-stars Nicole Kidman. Rounding out the cast are Alfred Molina, House of Cards' Michael Kelly and Dean Norris of Breaking Bad.

While Secret in Their Eyes is regularly described as a remake of the Oscar winning Argentine film El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Roberts says, "The original is a great film, but the more we got into it, and I don't think we even realized it at the time, we unintentionally went from being a remake to sort of being an homage to the original."

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