Julia Roberts is back with a new film called Ticket to Paradise alongside George Clooney whom she's previously worked with in the Ocean's trilogy. This is the Pretty Woman star's first movie after her four-year acting hiatus.
Here's everything that led up to her major comeback.
Quitting acting wasn't really an intentional move for Roberts. "It wasn't by design," she told The New York Times, "so much as not finding something that I was interested in. I was surprised how quickly the years seemed to go by." However, she admitted to using that time to focus on her three children with Danny Moder: twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, 17, and Henry, 15.
"It's also the math equation of my husband's work schedule and the kids' school schedule and summer vacation," she continued. "It's not just, Oh, I think I want to do this. I have a sense of great pride in being home with my family and considering myself a homemaker."
There's also a reason Roberts has avoided rom-coms in the last 20 years. "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," she told the Times. "They didn't exist until this movie that I just did [Ticket to Paradise]that Ol Parker wrote and directed."
She continued: "Here's the thing: If I'd thought something was good enough, I would have done it.... but I also had three kids in the last 18 years. That raises the bar even more because then it's not only 'Is this material good?'" Nowadays, her goal is to show her children that she "can be creative" and to do projects that are "meaningful" to her "that for periods of time [she] will choose to focus on that almost more than [her] family, which has been hard for [her] to come to terms with."
Roberts also told the Times that shooting Ticket to Paradise has been the "longest [she's] ever been away from [her] family." Still, she felt good being on a film set again. "I just take it all as it comes," she said of her return. "I try to be super present and not plan, and I don't have any upcoming acting jobs. Getting back to a routine feels really good. And I love being at home, I love being a mom."
"Being in Australia [to film] was really challenging because of all the Covid regulations," Roberts continued, "and I think it's a real testament to friendship and to the creative environment we were in that it wasn't even harder, because I'm not built to be one person anymore. It's just not in my cellular data."
As she was feeling homesick on the set of Ticket to Paradise, Roberts is grateful that she got to spend time with Clooney, his wife Amal, and their twins Alexander and Ella. "The Clooneys saved me from complete loneliness and despair. We were in a bubble, and it's the longest I've ever been away from my family," she shared. "I don't think I've spent that much time by myself since I was 25."
Clooney also noted that when Roberts' family came to visit on set, "they had to fly into Sydney and quarantine for two weeks by themselves before she could see them."
The actors also got candid about their intimate scene in the film. "We kiss in this. But I don't want to give the whole shop away," Clooney said when asked about it. As he didn't want to spoil anything, Roberts just admitted that they did "One kiss. And we did it for, like, six months. It took 79 takes of us laughing and then the one take of us kissing." Clooney added: "Yeah. I told my wife, 'It took 80 takes.' She was like, 'What the hell?'"
That part aside, the Boys in the Boat star believe that Ticket to Paradise was written for him and Roberts. "They sent me the script, and it was clearly written for Julia and I. In fact, the characters' names were originally Georgia and Julian," he said, with the Notting Hill star adding: "We have a friendship that people are aware of, and we're going into it as this divorced couple. Half of America probably thinks we are divorced, so we have that going for us."
Ticket to Paradise premieres in US theaters on October 21, 2022.