Julia Roberts Says She Refused to 'Shimmy Down a Well in a Micro Mini' for 'Erin Brockovich'
By Jackie Willis
Julia Roberts may have won an Oscar for her no-holds-barred leading role in the 2000 biopic, Erin Brockovich, but there was one scene that she flat-out told producers she would not do.
Roberts participated in a New York Times piece that asked 27 people who are considered minorities in the entertainment industry to share "their personal experiences of not feeling seen, heard or accepted." The Times titled the project, "What It's Really Like to Work in Hollywood."
"I remember my first meeting with the producers on Erin Brockovich, before [director] Steven Soderbergh came onto it, and saying, 'This scene where she’s shimmying down a well in a micromini? I can’t do that,'" Roberts recalled. "[They said], 'But that’s really what happened.' And I go, 'I know, but once you make it a movie, you have to re-examine, what’s the function of this scene?'"
"I didn’t feel I was being fully understood," the 48-year-old actress explained. "The people assumed it was about my sense of modesty. And you just think, 'No, you’re not hearing what I’m saying.'"
Roberts added, "Steven and I were very in sync on how we wanted to portray [Brockovich] -- the sexiness as well as the soul -- and I didn’t have to wear a micromini shimmying down a well."
Several other stars also revealed their fears and struggles in Hollywood. "When you're a minority, and it's the first time you've done something, you're like, this could all be taken away from me," actress and writer, Mindy Kaling, explained.
Ugly Betty star, America Ferrera, had a similar sentiment. "I remember feeling powerless," the 31-year-old actress said. "What do you do when someone says, 'Your skin color is not what we're looking for?'"
Jimmy Smits also revealed the hurdles he's gone through as an actor. "I've been told that I wasn't Latin enough," Smits said, "which was code for street enough."
Queen Latifah and Eva Longoria also shared their stories. "I felt I represented a woman out there who should get to see somebody who weighs about as much as she does," Latifah said of her role in the entertainment industry.
Longoria admitted that she still sometimes feels like she's not taken seriously. "As a director, I definitely feel the boys' club," Longoria explained. "There's still that, 'She can't possibly know what she's talking about.'"
Kerry Washington has decided not to participate in the boycott, but told ET that she's happy that diversity in Hollywood is now a topic of conversation. "What's great about what is happening this year with the Oscars is it's giving us an opportunity to talk about these things in a way that's a little bit more honest than we've talked about them in the past, so great!" she said.
The Scandal star is scheduled to present at the awards show.