This morning, Julia Roberts and the cast of Eat Pray Love (sans James Franco) sat down with reporters to discuss their new film. As leading lady, Roberts was obviously the focus of the press attention, as she rattled off stories about working with Javier Bardem — whom she says she was "terrified" to work with at first — and how much weight she really gained while shooting with all that pasta (for the record, she looked amazing in person). Read on to hear her thoughts!
On if she had read the book before shooting:
Julia Roberts: I had read it before it became so widely popular, and I thought it was so terrific 30 pages into it, that I went on Amazon.com and sent one to my best friend in Chicago, and said, "Let's read this."
On her own love advice to young women:
JR: Talk to your mother. Get your mother to tell you what she really knows, and don't take advice from actors. We don't know anything.
On her many outfits in the film:
JR: I think the most costume changes I've had in a movie is maybe 40 or 50. I think that's maybe average. This, by the time I think we were done, was maybe 103. [Michael Dennison] worked tirelessly over making it really authentic and making it great . . . It was like wardrobe Olympics, this movie.
For more from Roberts,
On meeting Liz Gilbert [who wrote the memoir]:
JR: I met her in Rome. I didn't want to meet her before that, because I knew that she and Ryan [Murphy] were in close communication, and I obviously, in this endeavor, the first step I took was to put my complete and total trust in Ryan, which was one of the smarter things that I've done in four years. So I knew that his paper interpretation of her that he gave me as my reference was all I would need, and I was also worried about falling too much in love with her, so that I would try to be her, as opposed of interpreting her as an actor . . . And so she came to Rome, and she was a delight.
On her favorite eats on the shoot:
JR: Italy, I mean, really I have to say, they did go to great elaborate pains to make food that I had to eat endlessly in the heat. So there was this one plate of pasta that was — all other circumstances removed — delicious pasta. It was simple spaghetti. It was delicious. . . India, well let's just say this. I, as a mother, pack like a 10-pound box of medicines and Band-aids and alcohol and all these things — which I never had to open — and a 10-pound box of snacks, so that might have been my favorite bite. Every time I turned to that box late at night, a granola bar.
On how much she ate:
JR: How many bowls of pasta did I eat? [Ryan Murphy: "Six"]. . . The pizza, we went to the place where she had pizza, got there at eight in the morning and proceeded to shoot, and I started my day with eight entire slices of pizza in 45 minutes. The deliciousness of something wears a tiny a bit after piece seven . . . I would eat an entire slice in a take. I don't know why I thought that was a good idea. Ryan keeps telling people I gained 10 pounds; it was a little less than that. But I loved every pound, and everyone said it was going to drop right off in India, and that didn't happen. I didn't get that memo.
On if she's eaten Italian since:
JR: Tons. It can't slow me down.
On working with Javier Bardem:
JR: It was like deciding to get a puppy. You have everything in your house worked out, and then the puppy comes in, and you're like, I'm way too tired to have a puppy. He came in with all this gusto and enthusiasm and he wanted to read the scenes and go over some stuff. And then you realize no, this is getting good, let's have lunch, let's go over scenes, let's look over the stuff! And his excitement was so contagious . . . It's been well-reported that I was a little terrified to be around him after No Country For Old Men. . . I said to him near the end, "You know, I thought you'd be so intense and weird, and I'd have to be like, handling you, but you're just so sweet and funny, and it's just so easy!" And he said, "I'm not like that normally. I just wanted to try it once to see how it worked!"
On if she's tried to evolve her life like Liz Gilbert:
JR: Not in the urgent pursuit way that she's experiencing it, but I definitely knew that my life would continue to evolve until I found that place to occupy and live in, which is the home I have now. But I relate to her search and pursuit, and it was definitely great to have a fulfilled sense of my own life.