Shakespeare In Love, a romantic comedy film, achieved seven Oscars upon its 1998 release. This week, the stage adaptation commenced previews in London’s West End. Simon Callow, a cast member of the film alongside Joseph Fiennes, Judi Dench, and Gwyneth Paltrow, reminisces about the film, considering it one of the highlights of his career. He shares the challenges, trials, and sheer joy of bringing this cinematic gem to life, including troubles with Julia Roberts’ casting.
Julia Roberts was initially considered for the pivotal role of Viola de Lesseps, which ultimately earned Gwyneth Paltrow an Academy Award for Best Actress. Nevertheless, Roberts’ distinct approach to chemistry testing reportedly incurred a substantial cost of over $6 million for Universal Studios before Miramax stepped in to produce the film.
Julia Roberts Wanted To now Daniel Day-Lewis Better
Simon Callow asserted that there was a strong, though unverified, rumor that Julia Roberts, in her portrayal of Viola, had received a promise that the character of Shakespeare would be portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis, someone whom Miss Roberts apparently had a keen interest in getting better acquainted with.
However, fate had other plans. Daniel ultimately declined the offer, causing Julia to step back as well. This unfortunate turn of events occurred a mere six weeks before the scheduled start of filming. The sets were ready, skilled craftsmen were at the ready, costumes had been meticulously crafted, and a significant sum of money had been invested. Yet, in the end, it all came to naught.
Callow said, according to Dailymail:
“Daniel wasn’t interested, so Julia withdrew and the whole thing fell through just six weeks before filming was due to begin.”
Then, almost miraculously, the project was resurrected six years later. This time around, Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes assumed the roles that were initially intended for Julia Roberts and Daniel Day-Lewis, had Julia’s preferences been honored.
Julia Roberts Faced Dilemma While Acting With Another Legend
In 2013, two of America’s beloved actors, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep, joined forces for August: Osage County. This film tells the tale of sisters coming together to support their mother following her husband’s passing. Despite playing mother and daughter on screen, Roberts and Streep, both Oscar winners, shared a strong bond behind the scenes. Roberts openly expressed her admiration for Streep, not only as an actress but also as a person.
The strong bond between Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep presented a challenge, given the tumultuous and complex relationship their characters shared on-screen. This dilemma arose when Roberts had to enact scenes involving physical aggression toward Streep, as dictated by the script. Reflecting on her reluctance and the emotional weight of performing such scenes with her idol.
Despite the emotional complexity of their roles, Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep showcased their professionalism by delivering outstanding performances. Their dedication earned them both Oscar nominations for that year.
Shakespeare in Love is available for rent or purchase on Google Play.