Julia Roberts Reveals Why She Almost Passed on 'Notting Hill' Role

Roberts played the role of famous actress Anna Scott in the 1999 classic.

Can you imagine a world in which Julia Roberts is not in Notting Hill? That almost played out, and her reluctance stemmed from the awkwardness of having to play, well, an actress.

In a new interview with British Vogue and conducted by Notting Hill screenwriter and Roberts' friend of 25 years, Richard Curtis, the 56-year-old actress expressed that she hesitated taking on the role of famous actress Anna Scott in the 1999 rom-com classic opposite Hugh Grant.

The topic came up when Roberts shared that she still envies people she works with who "are very technical" in their craft as actors. She added that she finds it "really fascinating, and I envy it so much" because "there's so many different ways to approach" a role.

Curtis then says that technique can sometimes get in the way of an actor, where as with Roberts she's giving more of her authentic self, as in she brings more of herself and less craft. She shared that she thinks "it's dangerous to overanalyze these things" but admits, "I never feel like I'm playing myself."

And therein lies the issue with Notting Hill, in which she portrays a famous actress.

"One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was your movie [Notting Hill, 1999], playing a movie actress," she told the magazine. "I was so uncomfortable! I mean, we've talked about this so many times, but I almost didn't take the part because it just seemed -- oh, it just seemed so awkward. I didn't even know how to play that person."

What's interesting is, that, at that point, Roberts had already etched her name in Hollywood role with iconic roles and become America's sweetheart after starring in Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias and My Best Friend's Wedding. She'd go on to win an Academy Award for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich in the 2000 biopic.

Ironically, Roberts played the role of Tess Ocean in Ocean's Twelve. In the 2004 crime comedy, there's a scene in which Tess pretends to be, yes, Julia Roberts, as Matt Damon's character, Linus Caldwell, creates a diversion for Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney.

By the way, another famous actress auditioned for the role that ultimately went to Roberts: Nicole Kidman.


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