Biography & Films
Julia Fiona Roberts was born on October 28th in Atlanta, Georgia. Her parents is Betty Lou and Walter Grady Roberts. Her father was an actor and theatrical performer. While she was still in her mother’s womb, her parents opened a theater class for children in Decatur, Georgia. When they getting divorced, her family migrated to Smyrna, Georgia. After she graduated from Smyrna’s Campbell High School, Roberts joined with her brother and sister, Lisa Roberts Gillan and Eric Roberts, together went to New York, begun their career in acting. In 1987, Roberts finally got a small role by saying just two words in Blood Red movie that also starred by her brother. Previously, Roberts had an oppurtunity played a role in Fire House movie. Her first performance on a television was Crime Story series in 1987.
In 1988, Roberts received many compliments when she was starring an independent movie entitled Mistyc Pizza. In a same year, she played a character on a finale season of popular television series Miami Vice. One year later, she got a minor character on comedy drama Steel Magnolias as a young beautiful bride who unfortunately has diabetes. It caused her to get her first nomination at Oscar as a best supporting actress. Her achievement in this movie led her to the glory of her career in acting.
Roberts eventually called as a superstar after 1990, owed to her character co- starred with Richard Gere, on a famous comedy romantic movie pretty woman directed by Garry Marshall. She turned down Molly Ringwald, Meg Ryan and Daryl Hannah in its audition. She was acting as a flirty whore who get a rich handsome man. Her role with a flirtatious look, made her earned Oscar nomination for the second time but with a different nomination, she was nominated as a best actress that time. A movie which become the most successful comedy romantic movie ever earned $463 million, whereas it just spent $14 million for the production. All the greatness of this movie, was not apart of the greatful Roberts act as a marginal class but fascinating. A chemistry that appeared between Richard Gere and Julia Roberts conclude many moviegoers to make them one of the best couple ever.
After that, bid after bid for playing big movies started come over. Roberts played in a thriller box office Sleeping with The Enemy, which became her next success movie. Sleeping with The Enemy was adapted from a novel with the same title created by Nancy Price, its production cost was only $19 million, but afford $174,999,005. Hereafter, in 1991, she played in Steven Spielberg’s fantasy movie, ”Hook” as Tinkerbell. She also played as a nurse who fell in love with her patient in a romantic movie “Dying Young”. This following with two years of absence, since she had just become a cameo appearance in ”The Player” (1992) directed by Robert Altman. In 1993, she was posted at cover story of People Magazine with headline “What Happened to Julia Roberts?”.
Roberts picked a role opposite to Denzel Washington in a thriller movie, The Pelican Brief (1993) directed by Alan J. Pakula. It was adapted from John Grisham’s success novel. Roberts also co-starred with Liam Neeson in a biography film, Michael Collins in 1996. Moreover, she took part at the most favored series film in 1995, Friends on episode The One After the Superbowl. Roberts got bad critics on drama movie Mary Reilly (1996). She covered for The failure of Mary Reily film with comedy romantic movie, My Best Friend Wedding (1997) that terrificly reached almost $300 million in whole world. For the first time, by dint of this movie Robert was paid more than $10 million, she had become one of the highest-paid hollywood actress. Together with Mel Gibson she played a Richard Donner’s thriller movie, Conspiracy Theory.
Roberts played in a comedy romantic movie Nothing Hill, co-starred with Hugh Grant. She always brought great fortune for every comedy romantic she played, that’s why it was worth it to highly pay her. Only by $42 million, it gained more than $360 million. Roberts was nominated as well, as The Best Actress on Golden Globe Award. On the same year, she also played a character in comedy romantic movie, Runaway Bride, in reunion with Richard Gere. Again, a big success approached them, the movie got the benefit more than $300 million in whole world. Roberts became guest-star on the “Law & Order” television series episode Empire with Benjamin Bratt, her boyfriend at that time. On 1999, she had a role on critically movie “Stepmom” with Susan Sarandon.
After she starred a biography movie Erin Brockovich, she was at the top of her career. This movie was adapted from real story, it told about a woman who was single parent that had 3 children while she was a career woman. Roberts had a role as Erin Brockovich who had work at a small law firm which prosecuted a giant corporation for waste pollution that they caused. For her satisfying act, she achieved Oscar award as the Best Actress. Moreover, this movie achieved some others awards, including the best film and the best director. She also achieved several awards from other prestigious event, such as Golden Globe and BAFTA. This movie not only critically succeed, but also comercially succeed with reaching more than $250 million, by spending only $50 million for production cost.
Hereafter, she collaborated again with Steven Soderbergh in three films, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Full Frontal (2002), and Ocean’s Twelve in 2004. In two series of Ocean, she played with top actors, such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. In 2001, Roberts was also starring with Brad Pitt at comedy gangster movie The Mexican and she was starring a comedy romantic film with top celebrities John Cussak, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Billy Crystal entitled “America’s Sweetheart”. In 2003, Roberts played Monalisa Smile directed by Mike Newell.
In one of Mike Nichols’s movie Closer, Roberts was starring with top celebrities Clive Owen, Jude Law and Natalie Portman. Though Roberts performance was overshadowed by Portman and Owen, this movie was critically and comercially succeed. After she temporary vacuum in acting, in 2006, two animated films had released The Ant Bully and Charlotte’s Web. For the first time in those films, Roberts was dubbing in full-length animated film. On 2007, once again she played in a movie directed by Mike Nichols Charlie Wilson’s War, also starred by Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman. It got many compliments from criticus, even it was not too successful. The dazzle performance from roberts brought her again for being nominated at Golden Globe Award for umpteenth time.
Roberts co-starred again with Clive Owen on Tony Gilrey’s Movie, a comedy thriller movie Duplicity, and for the seventh time, she got nomination at Golden Globe Award. Her next movie was a studded-star comedy romantic movie, Valentine’s Day, co-starred with Bardley Cooper this time. Precisely, this movie was released at Valentine’s day, so it was not surprising that it had been favored by moviegoers. In 2010, Eat, Pray, Love, a movie which one of the location was in Bali, had been released. Roberts appeared as Elizabeth Gilbert in this movie. This movie are based on a novel about the writer’s journey that want to get rid from sore of her divorce by vacation through some places, including Bali where she finally met her spiritual guide. Here, Roberts played with latin actor, Javier Bardem.
Roberts on Her Movies
Since 1987, Roberts had been starring on tens movies, Television series and Broadway as well. Her talent in acting were also supported by her brother and sister (Eric Roberts and Lisa Roberts Gillan), who preceded her at being a good player in movie. Her typical smile, makes her completely allure people. Not only gorgeous, she also could perfectly played every role she received. She was selective enough in picking a role at films, she once said “I wouldn’t do nudity in films. To act with my clothes on is a performance. To act my clothes off is a documentary.”
We can say that Comedy romantic and drama films are her specialty, since the majority roles that she took were between two of them. Her movie which its genre is comedy romantic such as Pretty Woman, My Best Friend Wedding, Runaway Bride, Notting Hill, and America’s Sweetheart, had incredibly got successful achievement, whether comercially or critically. While her drama movie genre were also greatly popular, like Steel Magnolia’s, Dying Young, Michael Collins, Erin Brockovich, Monalisa Smile, Closer and the most recent Eat, Pray, Love. But she did not stuck between these two genre, as she starred in thriller movie as well, such as The Pelican Brief, Conspiracy Theory, Duplicity, Ocean’s Eleven,and its sequel Ocean’s Twelve.
Her big leverage, everytime she played a role in movie are her pretty look and her elegance also. She had been playing a character as a cool, feminine, elegant and independent woman. Her ability to argue in playing her scene as a stubborn woman, is one of Roberts’s obvious characteristic. That’s why she is suitable for playing a comedy romantic and drama films. Instead, it was quietly strange to see her starring in a thriller or horror movie.
During Robert’s career, she had been directed by Steven Soderbergh fourth times. Three of it were successfully getting great earnings. They were Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve. It was recorded too, that she had been starred at Garry Marshals’s film twice at Pretty Woman and Runaway Bride and Mike Nichols’s film also twice, Closer and Charlie Wilson’s War. Nevertheless, she had been directed by top-filmmaker at Hollywood like Steven Spielberg, Mike Newell, Alan J. Pakula, Richard Donner and Gore Verbinsky.
Roberts frequently co-starred with top famous actors, such as Tom Hanks, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Clive Owen, Denzel Washington, Liam Nesson, John Cussak, also Hugh Grant. Clooney and Pitt had played with her three times, while Richard Gere and Clive owen already had a role with Roberts twice. Then top famous actress who had played with Roberts were Cameron Diaz, Susan Sarandon, Catherine Zeta Jones, Nathalie Portman, and Kirsten Dunst.
Roberts is being one of the top-billed actress in the world. She was recorded as the first highest-paid actress in Hollywood that was paid 20 millions dollar for acting in Erin Brockovich and reputedly, 25 millions dollar for her role at Monalisa Smile. It has been recorded, she was paid over 10 million dollars for more than half of her films since she was starring My Best Friend Wedding in 1997. She had been paid less than usual as a supporting actress twice, in Confession of A Dangerous Minds (250 thousands dollar) and Valentine’s Day (3 millions dolar + 3% royalty). The funniest thing is, she was only paid 300 thousands dollar for one of the most successful movie she played Pretty Woman.
According to her mother’s advice, Julia Roberts realize her position as an actress which make her does not want to talk about politics and religion. Julia had been known worshipped as a Hindu, though she had been raised in catholic family. It is related to the location of her new movie that was Bali, where she learned about meditate and Hinduism. Even so, sometimes ago, she admitted it in interview by Elle Magazine.
Beside she called as a top-billed actress and the most famous actress, she also called as the most talented actress ever. But she said, “I’m just a girl from a little town in Georgia, who had this giant, absurd dream.” Many things we can learn from her, her big effort, her patience, and fortune had successfully led her to a huge triumph of her career.
Editor and senior writer at Montase, lecturer at film academy in Yogyakarta, film critics, and author of the book ‘Memahami Film’ (Understanding Films)
Debby Dwi Elsha
Graduate major in communication, writer at Montase, focusing on Indonesian and Asian movies.