MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING
Starring Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett
Director P.J. Hogan
Opens June 27
Julia Roberts has already said exactly what everyone wants to hear about her next film, My Best Friend’s Wedding. At Las Vegas’ ShoWest fest in March, she told theater owners that her hair — limp in box office flatliners like Mary Reilly and Michael Collins — has found its former glory: ”A lovely shade of red,” as she described it, ”and very long and curly, the way you guys like it.” With that — and a promising trailer — My Best Friend’s Wedding took on a very favorable buzz; the pretty woman was pretty again, and she was back the way we like her, as a romantic comedy heroine.
The actual movie, however, is anything but a pat mainstream fantasy. ”It’s actually a bittersweet romantic comedy,” says Everett, who plays book editor to Roberts’ food critic. The plot: Roberts has made a pact with her best friend, Mulroney — if the two aren’t married by the time they’re 28, they’ll take it as a sign that they’re meant to be together. When Mulroney calls with news he’s met someone else — the rich, blond, sweeter-than-pineapple-yogurt Diaz — an increasingly hysterical Roberts sets off to sabotage the wedding. Explains Roberts, ”She does do some bad things, but they do say all’s fair in love and war.”
The story sounded good to TriStar, which in 1995 paid Ron Bass (Waiting to Exhale, Dangerous Minds) $2 million for his script. Roberts signed for a top-tier $12 million. ”I’m not sure if you’ve seen Julia play a character that’s so close to her before,” says director Hogan, who caught Hollywood’s attention with his 1994 Aussie fool-fest Muriel’s Wedding.
Once Hogan signed on, he set out to inject his off-kilter sensibility into the story. ”Sometimes it just felt a bit timid,” he says. ”Ron has a wild streak but you have to really coax it out into the sunlight.” Roberts thinks the director ended up with just the right mix of mass appeal and quirky humor: ”He wrote a whole scene between Cameron and myself where I am trying to state a point about the difference between us, drawing this analogy using Jell-O and creme brulee. I love that P.J. thinks of me as Jell-O.” UPSIDE After dalliances with Nick Nolte, Richard Gere, and John Malkovich, Roberts is finally paired with an onscreen love interest her own age. DOWNSIDE Will women want to watch Hollywood’s Cinderella make a move for another woman’s prince?