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Roberts' role as working mother

2 January 08 08:47 GMT
By Rebecca Jones
Arts correspondent, BBC News


Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts, who is starring in the film Charlie Wilson's War with Tom Hanks, talks about how the film industry has changed and how she juggles her film career with motherhood.

Julia Roberts is glad she is not starting out as an actress today.

"I wouldn't want to be 20 and in movies now, it just looks awful," she says.

In fact she has just turned 40 and her new movie, Charlie Wilson's War, opens in the UK on 11 January.

"There weren't 1004 media outlets and now it just seems like sport. The coverage of celebrities and celebrity lifestyle, it just seems like a load of crap to me.

"It doesn't look fun. It just looks scary, crazy and chaotic. It's all about superficial, hollow things. You don't hear anybody talking about acting."

Nonetheless if you are Julia Roberts, how you look matters.

'Nice face'

When we meet on a cold, wet day in Los Angeles, she is wearing a casual, long-sleeved patterned dress, thick black tights and chunky boots.

Like most movie stars she is much thinner in the flesh. Her auburn hair is loose and those famous lips highlighted with just a hint of pink gloss.

She says she does not wear make up much. But can she really ignore the march of time in an city obsessed with youth?

"On a day to day basis it's about if you're happy in your life. Someone said you wear your face in your life till you're 40 and then you wear your life on your face. So I think that gives me a nice face."

However she admits she did worry about stripping down to a floral fuchsia bikini for her role as a wealthy Texas socialite in Charlie Wilson's War.

She was four months pregnant and pleaded with director Mike Nichols to let her keep her clothes on - he said no.

"That day was really nerve-wracking," she says.

"Fortunately it wasn't a terribly long scene. You know when you're pregnant, some days you look really pregnant and some days you just don't. That was one of those divine days when I just looked less pregnant."

Five months later and her son Henry was born, a brother for twins Phinnaeus and Hazel.

Family life

Her husband is cinematographer Danny Moder, and after a day of interviews that accompany every major movie release she is keen to get home to them.

They live a quiet life in California, away from the spotlight.

"I am a stay-at-home mum now, which is great, but a whole lot harder than making a movie - it is a much longer day!" she says.

But the drive which saw her rise to the top and made her one of the world's most bankable stars has not disappeared.

"I want to strive to accomplish things for me as an individual and as an actor, as long as it doesn't take away from what I want to accomplish as a wife and a mother."

It is a tough trick to pull off, as any working parent knows.

Still, if you are Julia Roberts you are in with a chance.

"I have a really great husband, who's also a great father. I have great girlfriends and I'm in a position where I can have somebody help me with my kids when I need that - I'm not doing it by myself."

Charlie Wilson's War is released in the UK on 11 January.

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