“I think she kind of strays from what we imagine”: Julia Roberts’ Polarizing Role That Started Her Feud With Steven Spielberg Inspired the First Black Tinker Bell Actress

The Notting Hill star featured in Steven Spielberg’s Hook as Tinker Bell.

“I think she kind of strays from what we imagine”: Julia Roberts’ Polarizing Role That Started Her Feud With Steven Spielberg Inspired the First Black Tinker Bell Actress

SUMMARY

  • Actress Yara Shahidi became the first Black actress to portray Tinker Bell in David Lowery’s Peter Pan and Wendy.
  • Shahidi mentioned that Julia Roberts’ controversial take on Tinker Bell in Hook was her inspiration.
  • Roberts’ time on Hook was marred with controversy and was the beginning of a feud with Steven Spielberg.
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America’s sweetheart Julia Roberts is known for her beloved roles in films such as Pretty Woman, Oceans Eleven, and Notting Hill. The actress has worked with stalwarts such as Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, and Mike Nichols. She has won the Academy Award for her role in the film Erin Brockovich and has also won the Golden Globes thrice.

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Roberts has come under fire for her alleged troublesome behavior during the shoot of Spielberg’s Hook. The actress played Tinker Bell in the Peter Pan adaptation and starred along with Robin Williams. Recently, she was named as the inspiration for Yara Shahidi, who became the first Black actress to play the role in David Lowery’s Peter Pan and Wendy.

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Also read: ‘Tinker Bell is blonde. They still gave Ariel red hair’: Racist Trolls Start ‘Not My Tinker Bell’ Campaign after Yara Shahidi’s First Look as Iconic Disney Pixie in ‘Peter Pan & Wendy’

Yara Shahidi Names Julia Roberts As Her Inspiration

Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell
Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell

Director David Lowery came back to Disney after the successful film Pete’s Dragon to work on another children’s classic Peter Pan and Wendy. The A Ghost Story director reportedly mentioned that the story was close to him and that the film would be a modernized adaptation, with many stereotypes changed to work for today’s climate.

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With that in mind, Lowery cast actress Yara Shahidi in the role of the fairy Tinker Bell. Shahidi became the first Black actress to play the role of Tinker Bell, in a story that has been adapted numerous times in various media. In an interview with People Magazine, Shahidi mentioned that one of her inspirations was Julia Roberts’ portrayal in Hook.

Also read: “Disney’s on a roll”: Fans Troll the Mouse House as Peter Pan & Wendy Live Action Remake Gets Abysmally Low 13% Rotten Tomatoes Rating

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Julia Roberts

Roberts played the role of Tinker Bell in Steven Spielberg’s Hook. Shahidi cited her as an inspiration as it was a fresh take on the character. She said,

“It’s such an iconic part. The character has a long lineage of really incredible actresses playing her. I think she is one of the first Tinker Bells that kind of strays from what we imagine as the animated version. It was fun to look back and watch the OG movie and her performance.” 

Shahidi also mentioned that the film by David Lowery was reflective of the political climate of the present day and hence had many changes such as her casting in the film.

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Also read: ‘The Black community needs to show up for this movie’: Fans Defend Halle Bailey’s The Little Mermaid as Racist Trolls Call Her Offensive Slurs After Movie’s Official Sneak Peek

Julia Roberts’ Role In Hook Was Controversial

Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell
Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell

While Julia Roberts was known for her good-girl roles in films such as Pretty Woman and Notting Hill, her reputation took a toll after the production of Steven Spielberg’s Hook. The director and actress reportedly had a feud on set and was known to be troublesome to the cast and crew. The rumors were exacerbated when Spielberg vaguely referred to it as an unfortunate time to work together.

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Roberts later told Vanity Fair that she felt hurt by Spielberg’s statement and felt betrayed as she expected him to stand up for her. She said,

“I saw that and my eyes popped out of my head. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that this person that I knew and trusted was actually hesitating to come to my defense. It was a hard lesson to learn. It was the first time that I felt I had a turncoat in my midst.”

There were many rumors that Roberts was going through a drug problem and that she would be fired from Hook. The film itself had undergone a troubled production as directors and writers had changed. Roberts finally squashed all the rumors and said that she was just sick on the first day of filming, which became the basis of many of the rumors.

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Also read:“She’d have picked up the phone and called me”: The Batman Movie Julia Roberts Was Never Meant to Play Poison Ivy in

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Written by Nishanth A

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.