Shakespeare in Love producer Edward Zwick disclosed Julia Roberts’s demands costed Universal “upwards of $6 million.”
The 70-year-old revealed bombshell details Air Mail essay where he claimed Roberts’ threw a spanner in the works with demands to cast Daniel Day-Lewis in the film amid the casting process.
“The mere possibility of having the ‘Pretty Woman’ wearing a corseted gown got the studio excited enough to cough up the dough,” Zwick wrote, adding that Roberts was determined to star opposite Daniel Day-Lewis despite Day-Lewis already being committed to “In the Name of the Father” at the time.
“He’s brilliant — he’s handsome and intense. And so funny!” Roberts allegedly told Zwick. “Did you see his performance in ‘A Room with a View’? He’s done Shakespeare, too. Don’t you think he’d be perfect? … I can get him to do it, as per Zwick.
Roberts requested that two dozen roses “be sent to Daniel Day-Lewis, along with a card that read ‘Be my Romeo,” to convince Day-Lewis to take on the role. Roberts then did not show up to the scheduled chemistry reads with other actors and “proceeded to tell me that Daniel was going to do the movie and I should cancel today’s casting,” The Last Samurai filmmaker added.
“It was two weeks of casting until Roberts agreed to test with actor Paul McGann. However, there was “no magic” between the two stars, and Roberts’ uncomfortable British accent proved to be the deciding factor for the star to exit”, according to Zwick.
The Glory director concluded, “As per Tom Pollock, the head of Universal at the time, that the production company had spent $6 million already building sets, making costumes, and securing filming locations with the belief that Roberts was cast.”