Dvd Biographies

Julia Roberts

Ultimate DVD takes a look back at the roller-coaster ride to stardom of the widest smile in show business
• By Anwar Brett

Selected from Ultimate DVD #1

The road from Smyrna, Georgia to Hollywood is a long one, but not half as long as that from jobbing actress to Hollywood superstar. But they are both journeys that Julia Roberts has taken in her twelve-year acting career.

Professional success has come at a price, however. The 32 year old has grown used to seeing her private life – and even details of her personal grooming – splashed across newspapers and magazines the world over. One of her hits last summer, Notting Hill, was founded on the idea of the star as confused icon, and her empathy with this of all roles gave the story a particular poignancy.

But she is surely tougher than she looks. Her acting skills are underrated too: critics are inclined to forget that she was Oscar nominated for her first significant role in Steel Magnolias – as the doomed Shelby – and repeated the feat for her breakthrough role in Pretty Woman.

Originally a rather dour and dramatic tale, Pretty Woman was rewritten before filming as a bright, Cinderella-style romantic comedy, and paired rising star Roberts with an actor on the comeback trail – Richard Gere.

“I don’t know what it is with me and Richard,” she has said, “but people like it and that’s cool. You can’t really define that, because to define it is to be able to predict it and you can’t predict a thing like chemistry. If you could then you would never work with people you have no chemistry with.”

Director Garry Marshall would be reunited with the two stars nearly a decade later, on Runaway Bride. He remembers the young Julia Roberts: “When I first met Julia I thought she didn’t have the quality that made a real star. She always had beauty, but not the great elegance that goes with it. She never sat in a chair like a normal person, she would lean or slouch. But when I started to dress her up she actually did have elegance, and she proved she could do the comedy too.”

Over the next few years Roberts attempted to consolidate her success with another hit on a similar scale. But the likes of Flatliners, Sleeping With the Enemy, Dying Young and I Love Trouble failed to deliver the hoped-for smash. The lustre seemed to be wearing off the young star, and for a while her personal tribulations looked ready to consume her.

However, her downward slide soon came to a dramatic halt. In 1997 she bounced back wonderfully with the action movie Conspiracy Theory and the hilarious My Best Friend’s Wedding...

Julia Roberts on DVD

Julia Roberts on DVD

Region 1

Conspiracy Theory
Warner $24.99
Flatliners
Columbia Tristar $27.95
I Love Trouble
Disney $29.99
Michael Collins
Warner $24.99
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Columbia Tristar $27.95
Notting Hill
Universal $29.98
The Pelican Brief
Warner $24.99
Pretty Woman
Touchstone $29.99
Ready to Wear
(Prêt-à-Porter)

Disney $29.99
Stepmom
Columbia Tristar $24.95

Region 2

Conspiracy Theory
Warner £15.99
Flatliners
Columbia £19.99
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Columbia Tristar £19.99
Michael Collins
Warner £15.99
Notting Hill
Universal £19.99
The Pelican Brief
Warner £15.99
Prêt-à-Porter
Miramax £15.99
Pretty Woman
Touchstone £15.99
Stepmom
Columbia Tristar £19.99

Get up to date with Julia Roberts's career when you get Ultimate DVD #02
UltimateDVD footer