Quick, name the actress with the biggest smile in Hollywood. Anne Hathaway, you say? For shame, people, you’re supposed to say Julia Roberts! Actually, you’re not really to blame if the name Julia Roberts isn’t quite top-of-mind these days, because that’s exactly the way she wanted things to go. Since taking home the Best Actress Oscar for her work in Erin Brockovich back on March 25, 2001, Julia Roberts has purposefully not taken on any leading-lady roles of that magnitude. She hasn’t quite dropped out of the spotlight, exactly, it’s just that she’s devoted most of her time to being Julia Roberts, Mom, and not Julia Roberts, America’s Sweetheart. However, with the release of Duplicity a little over a month from now, all that is going to change. Or, at least, she hopes it will.
For her comeback vehicle, Julia is starring alongside Clive Owen in the film, which was written and directed by Michael Clayton’s Tony Gilroy. The work is described as a “romantic romp” by the New York Times, and Universal is hopeful that the actress who vacated her throne as Hollywood’s biggest female movie star at the beginning of this decade can still be a big box-office draw. However, it won’t exactly be an easy path to get there.
While the film’s trailer seems to be playing decently enough to audiences (at least well enough to convince Universal to spend $3 million on a Super Bowl ad), every time we’ve seen it, we’ve always felt ourselves wishing that Clive Owen’s role was instead being played by George Clooney. Additionally, the film opens up against newly hot comic forces Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in I Love You, Man and, in these Blart-ish times that we’re living in, people seem to be gravitating more toward films that star everyday heroes, and shying away from big-movie-star productions. That said, expect Julia Roberts to be hitting the publicity trail hard over the next 40 days or so before the film opens. At that point, we’ll definitely have a better sense of whether the Queen of the Nineties is still able to compete with the likes of Anne Hathaway and Katherine Heigl.
Hello, Again [NYT]