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Julia Roberts shares amusing secret behind Steel Magnolias casting

Julie Roberts opens up on films she passed on that went to be ‘great and wonderful’

By Web Desk
December 09, 2023
Julia Roberts reveals the coincidence of being cast in Steel Magnolias
Julia Roberts reveals the coincidence of being cast in Steel Magnolias

Julia Roberts admits that she “lucked into some good stuff.”

The Leave the World Behind actress was asked by a fan, during her appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Thursday night, if there were any scenes she regretted leaving out, especially in light of how successful the film went on to become.

"Well, none that I have regrets about because I feel it's all kind of destiny," said Roberts, 56.

"But what have I passed on that went on to be great and wonderful and I thought it maybe wouldn't have been as great and wonderful with me? You've Got Mail. The Last of the Mohicans."

The Oscar-winning actress claimed about Meg Ryan, who later starred in You've Got Mail, that she "was supposed to be in Steel Magnolias and she was still filming When Harry Met Sally. And so I got that part" of Shelby, the unfortunate child of Sally Field's M'Lynn, in the heart-wrenching 1989 film.

"Cate Blanchett was supposed to be in Closer, but she got pregnant. So I got that part," Roberts said of the character of Anna, which she played in the 2004 drama with Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Jude Law.

"I've lucked into some good stuff," she added.

Steel Magnolias, which was based on the same-named play performed in 1987, examined the bonds and sisterhood among a group of women living in a tiny Southern town. 

In addition to Roberts and Field, 77, other notable actors in the film included Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, and Dolly Parton.

The movie received one Oscar nomination for Roberts, who was relatively unknown at the time.

The youthful actress was shooting her first romantic comedy, Mystic Pizza, when she was cast in Steel Magnolias, where she played the tragic Shelby Eatenton Latcherie. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her heartbreaking performance.