Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, one actress was queen of the romantic comedies -– Julia Roberts. Whenever a new trailer dropped for her latest flick (which probably co-starred Richard Gere), audiences knew they were in for two hours of feel-good fun, with maybe a few tears shed by the end.
Roberts made her mark on the genre in 1990's "Pretty Woman" with her portrayal of Vivian Ward, a down-on-her-luck sex worker hired by mogul Edward Lewis (Gere) to accompany him to various important events. Naturally, the two fall for each other in this revamped Cinderella story. The movie was such a hit, with Roberts winning a Golden Globe for her performance in 1991, that she went on to lead a slew of other rom-coms, including 1997's "My Best Friend's Wedding," as well as "Notting Hill" and "Runaway Bride," both released in 1999. Though Roberts returned to rom-coms in 2001's "America's Sweethearts" as entertainment publicist Kiki Harrison, who is tasked with getting film co-stars Eddie Thomas (John Cusack) and Gwen Harrison (Catherine Zeta-Jones) through promotional appearances following a messy split, this was the final time fans saw her lead this type of movie.
Of course, the talented actress has had steady work over the past two decades, appearing in the 2012 fantasy flick "Mirror Mirror," 2016's star-studded "Mother's Day" and many others (via IMDb). But why did Roberts stray away from romantic comedies, the genre that catapulted her career?
In October 2022, Roberts is set to star alongside George Clooney in "Ticket to Paradise," her first leading role in a romantic comedy since "America's Sweethearts." Directed by Ol Parker, it follows a divorced couple (Roberts and Clooney) as they desperately try to stop their daughter Wren (Billie Lourd), a recent college graduate, from marrying a Bali local while on vacation (via IMDb).
For Roberts, it's a thrill to return to her roots. While many assume her disappearance from rom-coms was because she didn't want to do them anymore, this is far from the truth (via Variety). "If I had read something that I thought was that 'Notting Hill' level of writing or 'My Best Friend's Wedding' level of madcap fun, I would do it," she said. "They didn't exist until this movie [Ticket to Paradise] that I just did that Ol Parker wrote and directed."
In the years that followed "America's Sweethearts," Roberts also became a mother of three. Therefore, she wasn't about to leave her kids behind to film just anything (via Variety). "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," she said.
Roberts may have experienced a 20-year hiatus from the beloved genre, but maybe "Ticket to Paradise" will launch another decade of back-to-back romantic comedies that will someday be considered classics.