Shortly after turning 50, Julia Roberts travelled internationally to promote her latest film Wonder, which was adapted from the heartwarming book written by RJ Palacio.
It tells the story of a 10-year-old boy with a facial deformity, named Auggie, who has hidden behind a space helmet for most of his life. The intelligent boy has been homeschooled, but at the age of 10 his parents, Isabel (Julia Roberts) and Nate (Owen Wilson), decide to put him in regular school, and thus opens up a world that isn’t always as kind as it should be.
In an interview with New Paper, the Academy Award winning actress shared that she was first drawn to the role after reading the book, which she says “attached itself to (her) in the most incredible way.”
She credits her three kids with husband, cinematographer Danny Moder—twins, Phinnaeus and Hazel aged 13 and a 10-year-old son, Henry—as the “driving force behind” the realization that should be turned into a film.
She then made a call to her agent and found out that the movie was to be produced, but had not been cast yet. So she got the part.
How being a mom influenced her portrayal in Wonder
Being a mom naturally affected how she approached the role.
“Obviously, once you are a mom, there are things you could never imagine before you have children,” she continues. “Just the subtleties of the change inside of you, knowing that so intimately now for almost 13 years.”
Citing one particular scene, where Auggie asks his mom if he is “ugly,” Roberts notes how her concept of motherhood style has changed. When 15 years ago, she would have babied him, the kind of mom reflex she has now is to take a stern, firm voice when answering complicated questions.
photo: Hollywood Life facebook page
Though she admits that she could not have “deep, emotional conversations” with her parents, she has the time now to sit down with her own kids and simply talk to them about their day.
“I think just to let your kids know that they can talk to you about anything without judgment,” she advises. “They want to just talk and not have it be emotional, I think.”
On why she doesn’t consider herself a role model for “work-life balance”
After 30 years in the entertainment industry, Roberts is one of the few who have received both critical acclaim and commercial success. Now that she’s a mom, people assume she struggles with balancing her family and career, but Roberts says it’s not the case.
“I work in a very flexible job and my kids can come to work with me,” she clarifies, adding that since she’s been working for 18 years before becoming a mom, she feels that she’s earned the right and luxury to stay at home.
“I am very grateful for that because I have girlfriends calling me from utility closets at work because they are pumping breast milk. I love being at home. I love cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love doing laundry. And when I feel like I do not want to do laundry anymore, lo and behold, a job, you know?” she goes on to share. “I know my struggles are unique to me and I do have them certainly, but it is so supremely outweighed by the deliciousness of choice that I have.”
sources: Today.com, HarpersBazaar.com, The New Paper
READ: Trailer for the upcoming film ‘Wonder’ is sure to make you cry