Producer Ed Zwick said that Julia Roberts should be a part of his film Shakespeare is in love. Roberts was slated to play Viola de Lesseps, a role that eventually won Gwyneth Paltrow an Oscar.
Zwick writes in an essay for Air Mail Pretty woman The star, then 24, unexpectedly dropped out of the project after some failed chemistry studies.
Zwick, who was excited to play Roberts, said he found fault with all of his co-stars.
“I don’t have a cast list anymore, but I remember Hugh Grant, Rupert Graves, Colin Firth, Sean Bean, Jeremy Northam among the undiscovered young actors. Julia found fault with all of them: one is harsh, the other is unromantic, and so on.
However, Zwick writes; Roberts agreed to study with Paul McGann.
“On the morning of the test, Yulia looked radiant in full period costume without makeup,” says the producer.
“But when she started saying the words, something was wrong. There was no magic. The problem wasn’t the script. Or Paul McGann. It was Julia. From the moment she started speaking, it was clear she wasn’t talking. She was working on an accent.”
“Sensing Julia’s discomfort, I tried to be encouraging, but she must have sensed my anxiety, and I made the tragic mistake of underestimating her insecurities. Having recently risen to the dizzying heights of the Hollywood food chain, she must have been terrified. I failed. But I told her I would never have been able to talk out of the corner of my mouth. The next morning, when I called his room, he was told that he had gone out.”
Later, Roberts’ manager told Zwick that he had left for the United States. The producer has not spoken to Roberts since.