The ‘Shakespeare in Love’ producer spills the beans on Julia Roberts
Edward Zwick, the producer of Shakespeare in Love, stated that the departure of Julia Roberts from the movie cost Universal “upwards of $6 million.”
The 70-year-old revealed shocking details in an Air Mail essay, in which he claimed that Roberts’ demands to cast Daniel Day-Lewis during the casting process threw a wrench in the works.
“The mere potential of having the ‘Pretty Woman’ wear a corseted gown had the studio enthusiastic enough to cough up the bucks,” Zwick wrote. He went on to say that Roberts was adamant on working with Daniel Day-Lewis, despite the fact that Day-Lewis was already committed to “In the Name of the Father” at the time. “Beautiful Woman” was also a priority for Roberts.
“He is brilliant, attractive, and ferocious. And hilarious! Zwick allegedly heard it from Roberts. Have you seen him in “A Room with a View”? He’s also performed Shakespeare. Do you not believe he would be ideal?… Zwick says I can get him to do it.
To persuade Day-Lewis to take on the role, Roberts requested that two dozen roses “be sent to Daniel Day-Lewis, along with a card that read ‘Be my Romeo.'” The Last Samurai director added that Roberts “proceeded to tell me that Daniel was going to do the movie and I should cancel today’s casting” and did not show up to the scheduled chemistry reads with other actors.
“Casting took two weeks before Roberts consented to test with actor Paul McGann. Roberts’ awful British accent “proved to be the determining cause for the star to quit,” according to Zwick, and there was “no chemistry” between the two actors.
“According to Tom Pollock, Universal’s boss at the time, the production firm had already spent $6 million creating sets, preparing costumes, and arranging filming locations with the expectation that Roberts would be hired,” the Glory director concluded.