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Julia Roberts Was ‘Picked on’ by “Steel Magnolias” Director, Says Sally Field: ‘We All Came to Her Aid’

"We would all rally around Julia, because she was the baby. She was sort of the newcomer," said the two-time Academy Award winner

<p>TriStar Pictures/ Everett</p> Sally Field and Julia Roberts in "Steel Magnolias."

TriStar Pictures/ Everett

Sally Field and Julia Roberts in "Steel Magnolias."

Sally Field was maternal over Julia Roberts, even off the set of Steel Magnolias.

In a new interview with Vulture, the 77-year-old actress revealed on the set of Steel Magnolias, her costars —   Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis — helped Roberts when the feature’s director, the late Herb Ross, “picked on” the younger actress.

Field shared that Ross’ feedback and treatment of the women varied. She explained that while he “pretty much” gave her the “freedom to do whatever," he was "very, very, very hard on Julia.”

“If you ever talk to Julia, she’ll tell you," revealed Field.

“We would all rally around Julia, because she was the baby. She was sort of the newcomer. And she was wonderful, and he just picked on her,” she continued. “It was awful.”

<p>TriStar Pictures/ Everett</p> Sally Field and Julia Roberts in "Steel Magnolias."

TriStar Pictures/ Everett

Sally Field and Julia Roberts in "Steel Magnolias."

Related: Sally Field's Life in Photos

As for why Ross treated Roberts poorly, “He could be a real son of a b---h, that’s why. [Laughs],” said Field. "Some people just need to have somebody they pick on."

“But we all came to her aid, and I remember Dolly once just turned on him — always with humor, but usually the most vulgar humor you ever heard so that it was like, you just literally don’t have a leg to stand on,” shared the actress.

She confirmed Ross’ treatment of her was much different “because he dared not.”

“I mean, I don’t mind notes, but I will argue if it doesn’t make sense to me,” explained Field. “But if you’re gonna be mean to me, then you’re gonna find a warrior. I may be small, but you don’t want to do that.”

<p>Eric Charbonneau/WireImage</p> Julia Roberts and Sally Field on October 12, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California.

Eric Charbonneau/WireImage

Julia Roberts and Sally Field on October 12, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California.

Related: Lea Thompson Reveals She Missed Out on a Role in 'Steel Magnolias' : 'That One Hurt'

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More recently, Roberts, 56, shared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that she landed the role in the 1989 feature after Meg Ryan passed on it. According to the Oscar winner, Ryan, 62, "was supposed to be in Steel Magnolias and she was still filming When Harry Met Sally. And so I got that part" of Shelby, the ill-fated daughter of Field's M'Lynn.

Based on the 1987 play of the same name, Steel Magnolias explored the relationships and sisterhood of a group of women in a small Southern community. The movie also starred MacLaine, 89, Parton, 78, Hannah, 63, and the late Dukakis.

<p> Moviestore/Shutterstock </p> Steel Magnolias, Shirley Maclaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton

Moviestore/Shutterstock

Steel Magnolias, Shirley Maclaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton

Related: Shirley MacLaine Remembers 'Steel Magnolias' as It Turns 30: 'We're All Still Friends'

While celebrating Steel Magnolias' 30th anniversary back in 2019, MacLaine told PEOPLE that she knew from the second she met Roberts that she would go on to become a star.

Roberts, a relative newcomer at the time, scored an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress — the film’s sole nomination. She would later go on to win Best Actress for Erin Brockovich in 2001.

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