Julia Roberts has starred in some of the best romantic comedies of all time, from Pretty Woman to Notting Hill. In each one, she's played a variety roles, which one would think she has varying levels of affection for. However, the actress recently revealed that she has a newfound perspective the character she played in My Best Friend's Wedding, which remains one of Roberts' her most beloved rom-coms.
In the 1997 flick, the star plays Julianne "Jules" Potter, a single NYC food critic who had made a pact with her lifelong friend, Chicago sportswriter, Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney), that they would get together if they were 28 years old and still unmarried. (And yes, we still think is a totally insane idea.) That all changes when Michael announces that he's engaged to bubbly college co-ed Kimberley (Cameron Diaz), much to Jules' heartbreak, which leads the latter to kick off a campaign to sabotage the wedding.
Yeah, the whole plot makes Jules sound like a pretty awful person, which is a conclusion that Julia Roberts herself admitted she's come to in the nearly three decades since the '90s box office hit came out. As she told her frequent collaborator, director Richard Curtis, during a January 11 interview for British Vogue:
That’s a pretty dodgy character. When I look back on that part now, it’s funny, because I saw her through such innocent eyes then. I appreciated her: she loved him, they had this deal! But at the same time, she does some terrible things in that movie. Of course, I saw the deception of it, I saw the trickery of it, but I saw it through the lens of her love for him and her desire for them to end up together.
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All in all, one can understand the actress' mixed feelings on the role today. Like the actress herself, it's easy to see Jules through "such innocent eyes." However, you can't forget the humorously questionable shenanigans she engages in to squash her BFF's nuptials.
Amid the interview, the filmmaker praised his Notting Hill leading lady for not only being "willing to make a fool" of herself but also being "willing to lose" on screen. As you might remember, Jules' schemes ultimately aren't successful in My Best Friend's Wedding despite her revealing her true feelings to Michael ("Choose me! Marry me!"). Michael ends up marrying Kimmy, with Jules realizing in the end that they're right for each other. She also happily supports them at their marriage, dancing with her other best friend, gay editor George (Rupert Everett), at the wedding.
Though Julia Roberts is also known for her Oscar-worthy turns in hearty dramas like Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias and August: Osage County, it's the romantic-comedy genre where she's the undisputed queen. Richard Curtis commended the actress for always defending the rom-coms that made her a household name. That pride also extends to her most recent addition to the genre, 2022's Ticket to Paradise, in which she reunited longtime buddy George Clooney. Roberts also told Curtis:
Well, I love the genre. I mean, my desert island movie would probably be The Philadelphia Story. I also think it’s incredibly tricky. I never realised the windfall of good fortune I had until it was well behind me. Like, to have made Pretty Woman, Notting Hill and My Best Friend’s Wedding. They just don’t come one after another [normally]. So I think I got lucky.
The British filmmaker is a rom-com legend himself, who directed Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Bridget Jones' Diary and About Time. He also admitted to his seemingly surprised collaborator that one of her classic rom-coms was actually the catalyst for his own career:
Do you know that one of the reasons I’ve pursued the career I’ve pursued is because of Pretty Woman. I remember going to see it in Camden Town when it first came out, thinking, 'These are my favourite kinds of movies.' So it was odd to be on a film set with you, thinking this person is the reason I started my film life.
Maybe there's another rom-com in the duo's future? Julia Roberts has admitted to wanting to make a My Best Friend's Wedding sequel. How great would that be with Richard Curtis in the director's seat? It'd also be cool to see the star add some additional layers to Jules in a theoretical follow-up. Such a production seems like a pipe dream right now, but it surely isn't impossible, right?
While we pray to the romantic-comedy gods, you can revisit Julia Roberts' "dodgy character" of Jules by streaming My Best Friend's Wedding with a Netflix subscription.