Julia Roberts on social media & modern celebrity: ‘It’s the sport of ugliness’

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Last week, the Today Show kept talking about and promoting their exclusive interview with Julia Roberts. For days I was like, “What? What is she promoting?” It took me forever to realize that she appeared on Today and The Tonight Show simply to campaign for her Emmy Award. She was nominated for her work in The Normal Heart, which I think will probably end up winning many Emmys. My money is on Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer, out of all the actors. Julia was good, but… I don’t know, any decent actress could have done it, you know? I feel like Julia just wants to remind everybody that she deigned to do (gasp!) a TV movie. Anyway, I’m including the Today video below and here are some highlights:

Whether her kids understand that their mom is a big movie star: “They understand that … people that I don’t know might know who I am.”

Her dream costars: “Annette Bening, Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson… Anthony Hopkins, because he’s my movie crush — who else? Chiwetel Ejiofor … George Clooney. Brad Pitt. I think I’ve made more movies with … Brad Pitt than I’ve made with anybody. So I’ll just keep going with Brad.”

On social media & modern celebrity: “I don’t think I’d survive… It’s just too nasty. It’s the sport of ugliness. I’d pull out of it. I wouldn’t have the stomach for it.”

Leaving her kids at home for the first time to make August: Osage County: “Hazel refers to it as ‘the dark time.’ As my husband says, I had to at some point have that experience and know what it was like. And I was just lucky that on the other side of that experience was this dream job.”

[From Today]

She also talks about motherhood and what it meant to her to take time away from Hollywood to just be a mom and I actually buy what she says about not needing that constant validation of Hollywood stardom every day. Of course, everybody still kisses her ass, so it’s not like she would ever have to deal with the nightmare scenario of ever being anything other than A-list. I also believe what she says about social media – she wouldn’t be the star we know today if she had come up in the era of social media and internet-fame.

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61 Responses to “Julia Roberts on social media & modern celebrity: ‘It’s the sport of ugliness’”

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  1. Diana says:

    She can dish it out, but can’t take it, huh. How shocking I never would have guessed.

    • als says:

      That’s usually how it goes.

    • homegrrrl says:

      It’s amazing how these celebs started out virtual porn stars (pretty woman, so completely stupid and insulting- full tilt glamorization of prostitution, so authentic!) and the mystic pizza with the mini skirts gum snapping…ugh. NOw that she’s established…”it’s a nasty world”, “I wouldn’t have the stomach for that” blah blah

      • TG says:

        LOL and Pretty Woman is to blame for making thousands of people, including me, think that prostitutes are attractive with great bodies. It was years before I learned the truth. Thankfully watching lots of episodes of Cops taught me the truth that hookers are more likely to be drugged out, missing teeth, butt ugly looking people. I guess there is the high end hookers though who look more the part but Julia was playing a street hooker.

  2. Jenns says:

    This is what makes her so annoying. Julia was just ok in A Normal Heart. No other actress would be getting this attention, or demanding this attention for such a ok performance. If anyone should be out there discussing this film it should be Mark or Matt. But Julia needs to make it all about her.

    But I will say this. She does look great, maybe the best she has ever looked.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      I haven’t seen the movie but I agree with your comment and I feel like this is ALWAYS the case with Julia. She’s just not a transformative actress. She’s not terrible, but never memorable. I don’t know..I’ve just never understood the hype that surrounds her.

      • lucy2 says:

        Like a few other big name actors, when I see her in a role I just see her, not the character.

        I feel like the Emmys are too quick to nominate big names. There are a lot of character actors out there doing amazing work on TV, but a movie star giving a mediocre performance will always trump that for some reason.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        Her performance consisted of her typical “serious acting Julia” while sitting in a wheelchair

      • don't kill me i'm french says:

        She’s great in this movie wth Meryl Streep( Meryl was too much)

      • Christin says:

        I find her average at best. Even in her rom-com heyday, the appeal was usually dependent on having a good male co-star.

      • Artemis says:

        @Christin:

        That would mean the female co-star wasn’t that important for the success yet studios always had Roberts as their first pick. Even Meg Ryan (who was more wholesome and believable) had to take scraps from Roberts back in the 90s. She was in demand for a reason. Studios were throwing parts at her even during her 2-year hiatus.

        She got paid 25mil for that crapfest Mona Lisa Smile, a film that essentially flopped and it was on her name. She carried Erin B. alone.

        The films worked because the chemistry worked and not every actress can pull that off. JB has ‘it’.

      • Christin says:

        Rom-coms were her bread and butter, and that ship has likely sailed. I am speaking for myself when I say that she needed a good co-star, same as Meg with Tom Hanks. I think good casting choices helped in all the successful 1990s rom-coms. Change the male or female lead and they may have flopped.

        For an example of her acting ability versus a Streep, view Mary Reilly (that accent received a critical bashing). I personally don’t see how she won an Oscar for EB (just as people question one or two of Liz Taylor’s Oscars, Gwyneth’s, etc.). She was average at best — JR and her push up bra getting the attention.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        The only reason why Roberts was deemed by anyone to have the “it” factor is because she was surrounded by a great PR team and agent who had a well-timed and brilliant marketing strategy for her image. She was pushed down the public’s throat as “America’s Sweetheart” and the public bought into that.

        On a purely technical level, I think most people would admit that she is very mediocre. She’s an Aniston, a one-trick pony.

      • Artemis says:

        @Christin
        Change the male or female lead and they may have flopped.

        My point exactly. JR needed Hanks, Gere etc just as much as they needed her. There are enough examples of women who are more talented but who make wrong choices or who don’t have chemistry with their co-stars.

        The Oscars are a sham anyway, it proved how popular JR was in Hollywood. That one doesn’t have to campaign that hard. But EB was not a romcom and it was a hit. She can do a lot of genres and people will pay to see her. Even MLS was only a mild flop but she got PAID because she’s Julia Roberts. Eat, Pray, Love was a hit and a romcom/drama. She can carry projects on her own.

        She was pushed down the public’s throat as “America’s Sweetheart” and the public bought into that.

        @TOK
        You can push as much as you want, if the public doesn’t want you, you’re done. They read themselves about the very public antics she pulled and she received little flack, meanwhile Jolie is still considered the top homewrecker in Hollywood and we all know Jolie is a master strategist and 10000x kinder than her. JR is bitchy in interviews sometimes but people buy her shit anyway.

        I will say that JR had the advantage of not starting out as an actress in the internet gossip era because young people won’t know about JR’s antics. Then again, Ryan didn’t either and she was destroyed when she had the affair. All things that JR didn’t go through. And she was able to not work for 2 years and still getting offered roles and not being replaced.

        She’s mediocre but she has her great acting moments (August Osage County) and I do notice I’m drawn to her when I watch her play, Aniston will never have those moments. And JA can’t carry a film on her own and win an Oscar. JR is well above her.

      • Christin says:

        I have no interest in paying to see movie with JA or JR. If they can keep making big bucks into their 50s and beyond, then more power to them.

        ***It probably helps that recent films like Eat, Pray, Love were produced by Plan B (Brad & Jen’s company) and Red Om (The Moders’ – cough, Julia’s – company).***

        My personal opinion is that in 20-plus years, new viewers will openly wonder how these two women were considered big stars in the 1990s and early 2000s. When I view 1940s and 1950s movies, I see people who outshine noted legendary actors and often don’t see what the great fuss was about with some of the better known names.

        Actually, there are maybe one or two ‘stars’ of today that I believe will have that type of staying power, and JR and JA definitely are not on that list.

    • Artemis says:

      That is what makes her a Moviestar. She was scandalous in her early 20s but for some reason (it wasn’t great beauty that’s for sure) she was very magnetic on screen and made tons of money for studios. She was high in demand and considering her mediocre talent, the fact that she can still pull decent roles AND be all over the media promoting her projects (and probably winning awards) is nothing sort of remarkable. Julia makes it all about her because she can, she’s allowed to so obviously she will. She’s entertaining without a hint of desperation because she knows people kiss her ass. I think she’s one of the best Moviestars still alive because she’s done all the ‘bad’ things (cheating, drama etc) without apologising or losing star power.

  3. eliza says:

    Lol@Julia, the hypocrite. I guess wearing T-shirts saying “A-low Vera” is somehow not the sport of ugliness?!

  4. InvaderTak says:

    Uh…isn’t she being a modern celebrity right now? is it that different because she’s established? I thought she got a lot of flack on social media anyway.

  5. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    She looks good.

    • bns says:

      Came here to say this. I can’t stand her, but bitch is aging well.

    • Becky1 says:

      She does. I also have to give her props for being very smart about her career. She’s a solid actress but her true talent is managing her career well (or hiring people to manage her career well). She worked a lot when she was young and the roles were plentiful and now that she’s older and not as in demand she can relax and spend time with her family. She also doesn’t pretend that she’s 25-she takes roles for mature women and isn’t afraid to look rough on camera. She may be a b**ch, but I have to respect some of her choices.

  6. Talie says:

    With her crazy antics as a 20-something starlet, she would be mega-famous today, but her career would’ve faltered most likely from all the negative attention.

  7. Greata says:

    “…the sport of ugliness…” Well you certainly know how to play that game don’t you Pretty Woman? Your prowess is legendary.

  8. Sixer says:

    SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVIL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS THE PEASANTS TO BE OTHER THAN FAWNING TOWARDS ME.

    That’s what these celebrities all mean when they moan about social media, isn’t it? It doesn’t occur to them that there are whole swathes of people promoting causes, meeting new friends, gaining understanding of new topics, etc ad infinitum. If it’s not about them, it doesn’t exist.

    Here’s my clarion cry, Julia:

    CELEBRITIES SHOULD NOT PASS COMMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA WHEN THEY HAVE ONLY LOOKED AT THE BITS OF IT THAT ARE ABOUT THEM.

    Meh. She caught me in a bad mood.

  9. Jenny12 says:

    Never liked her, never understood the fuss over her. I never knew anyone who thought she was a great actress, from the 90s on forward. She is not a kind or lovely person and I remember the nasty t-shirt she wore when her husband was married to his 1st wife. She’s a hypocrite of the 1st order, and as she closes in on 50 without the talent of a Streep or Mirren to back her up, she is trying on this dowager empress role that doesn’t suit her. “I simply cahnt with these terrible social media peasants….” She wouldn’t have survived wearing that shirt today, nor what she did to Kiefer Sutherland, leaving him at the altar to run off with another actor.

    • don't kill me i'm french says:

      Sutherland cheated her with an exotic dancer ,it’s why she dumped him the eve of their wedding with his best friend Patric .

      • Jenny12 says:

        Never read that, will have to look it up- I do know Kiefer is nuts, though he didn’t seem that way back then. A little weird to run off with his best friend, though. And the t-shirt thing had no excuse. Plus, she’s just mean to everyone, as though she’s better than them. Streep, Spacek and Mirren are brilliant actresses who don’t insult others. Viola Davis, too. Julia needs lessons.

      • Christin says:

        Jenny12, that’s why I don’t care to see anything she promotes. It’s the difference in attitude. When a young co-star politely called her out for being rude to her as a waitress, when she and her prized husband are photographed parking in handicapped reserved spaces, the t-shirt mocking, smugness in interviews, being rolled onstage in a wheelchair for attention, etc. — it all adds up that she is not worth my support.

  10. may234 says:

    Can someone (I’m being serious) explain to me what is so incredibly awful and unbearable about the media? Those who don’t want to be in the press just aren’t in it. We mostly hear about the same people who court the press.
    On the whole these celebrities have all the means in the world to live the best life. How can they even complain about anything with all the real problems of the rest of the people?

    • Lola says:

      I am with you. I don’t know what the big fuss is about. Celebrities / actors / musicians actually have an outlet if what they read about themselves is not true or exaggerated, they can have a press conference or give an announcement. While regular folks do not. Also agree, if you don’t want to be part of the media you are not part of it. There are actors and others out there that you don’t see on a daily basis. I still remember the argument of some papps complaining that they get calls from the actors PR people to take pictures at some of the places they go to. Then they take other pictures and the same PR people are complaining about it. With all that goes on in the world, their media coverage should not be even a blimp on the radar.

      I remember her “stories” and yes, it would have been different if back then the interwebz was as it is today. I think she is owning up to the fact that even if she can dish it out, she does not have a thick skin to take it. Or who knows, maybe is reversed psychology and the comment was geared at having her be the talk of the town right now to promote her Emmy.

    • manta says:

      I’m not sure unbearable is the word. Yes actors can avoid them on a daily basis and shield their private life if they want.
      I was more under the impression that she was talking from a professionnal point of view. When she made it, there was what 3 or 4 weekly publications specialized in movies, the same for monthly magazines.
      That meant that we didn’t get daily pictures from movie sets. Choices of hair/wigs, make-up, costumes are discussed from stills months before the film is actually finished. Hell, the most negative things are written about some actors for a particular role when the ink on the contract is not even dry.
      It takes a particularly thick skin to read that every day, there’s an online petition to replace you or massive amounts of comments predicting/wishing the failure of something you haven’t even completed. It sure goes with the territory if you enter the business nowadays, but when you peaked in a period where there was only the mail section of Entertainment Weekly, I understand it can prove difficult.

      • may23 says:

        I’m kind of torn about this : on one hand the answer is simple – don’t read stuff and I hear some celebrities do exactly that. On the other, you need people to talk about you to stay relevant. I don’t know of any celebrity (except for Jesus and even he is vilified by some) who gets far on a good press. It’s the bad press that makes you a Star and a true celebrity.
        I think ultimately all you can do to save your sanity is to stay above it all. Some do some seem to handle their fame very well. JLo, for example, I’ve never seen her frown or yell at paparazzi – she wanted the fame, she worked for it, she doesn’t whine about the negative side of it now. Unlike Julia who apparently thinks she deserves a very special treatment. But that’s not going to happen. Might as well accept it.

  11. siri says:

    The leading men she acted with always pulled her up- otherwise she would just be herself, pretending to act. Plus, she seems to be quite full of herself, which actually could be insecurity over-compensated. Reminds me of Clooney- social media only when it suits them, and is favorable. They wish to control, but they can’t anymore. Besides, they don’t even seem to notice that social media is mostly not about THEM.

  12. Shazz says:

    Well, I had a reaction to this item, but y’all already covered it, perfectly. How perfectly hypocritical she is.

  13. Izzy says:

    She wouldn’t SURVIVE social media if her career were starting today.

    Pretty Woman? More like Bitchy Woman.

  14. Mischa Jane says:

    I love Julia. I can’t help it! I’ve always loved Julia. Runaway Bride was on the other night, which made me love her all over again. Plus, hers was the hair I wanted in the early 90s. I was obsessed with her fabulous curls back then lol.

  15. roxy750 says:

    I think she’s great, not sure why people hate her, she’s a good actress. She’s not Secretary of State people she plays pretend for a living. People get so serious about this stuff.

  16. Kelly says:

    I don’t get why she is being so dramatic about leaving her kids at home for the first time. I’m sure their father was there and she got to see them periodically during the shoot. People do it all the time for their career.

  17. Hissyfit says:

    Runaway bride was on TV last night. She looked beautiful back then and she is still looking good now. I admire how she is raising her kids, away from paparazzi. It can be done and she’s one of the perfect example.

  18. Beatty says:

    I thought A Normal Heart was ok. I think it needed to be developed a little more. It was initially a play written in the 80s and the updated TV movie version lacked clarity on some issues or sentiments that were happening in the 80s. The TV movie was confusing in some parts. Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer were amazing in it though. Julia Roberts was good but not great and not deserving of an Emmy either.

  19. Chaking says:

    I think she’s okay as an actor but there was a time during the 90s and 00s when I would switch off the movie because the director made her do a cackle again. She sort of became a caricature of herself and did endless safe roles. I suspect she’d be someone you wouldn’t want to cross in real life. The whole thing with her husband’s ex etc.

  20. Ruffian9 says:

    “It’s the sport of ugliness. ”

    You would know.

  21. GIrlyGirl says:

    If it really is the “sport of ugliness” Julia would be world champion, she is easily one of the ugliest souls on the planet