Julia Roberts and George Clooney reunite in new rom-com Ticket to Paradise – New Zealand Herald

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Julia Roberts and George Clooney star in Ticket to Paradise. Photo / Supplied
Julia Roberts says “it was the chance to be snarky to George” that made her say yes to her first film in four years.
The 54-year-old returns to the screen in 2022 romantic comedy Ticket To Paradise, released in NZ cinemas today alongside her longtime co-star George Clooney.
From Notting Hill to My Best Friend’s Wedding, Roberts is the undisputed queen of the Ninties rom-com, while Clooney, 61, hasn’t dabbled in the genre since One Fine Day in 1996.
But they’ve played an on-screen couple so many times that five minutes into watching this film, one thing is clear: this movie was made for them.
They star as divorced couple David and Georgia, who must join forces to stop their daughter Lily (Kaitlyn Dever) from marrying a man she just met on holiday in Bali.
This film marks Roberts’ return to the screen after a four-year break from acting.
Speaking to the Herald as part of a media round table last week, Roberts jokes that she couldn’t resist seeing Clooney play a character “so pathetically in love with me, and I’ve clearly moved on.”
Meanwhile, for Clooney: “What was so important to me was to be able to work with the queen of romantic comedies … but she couldn’t take the job, so I worked with Julia instead.”
The pair, who met on Ocean’s 11 in 2001, have had natural on-screen chemistry ever since – partly due to a shared sense of humour.
“For us it’s always been fairly easy,” Clooney said. “It’s fun to work with friends … and Julia.”
The film’s writer and producer Ol Parker said it wouldn’t have been made without them. “It was conceived for them and written for them, and I begged them to do it.”
Watching the movie, you get the sense that they’re not really acting in some scenes. One scene in particular comes to mind – playing beer pong in a Bali bar with their daughter and her fiance. When Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) comes on, they’re not David and Georgia anymore – they’re George and Julia busting out the “embarrassing” dance moves we’ve all seen from our parents on the dance floor at a wedding.
Filmed in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, where according to Roberts, “everything’s huge … and trying to kill you”, the film really does feel like an escape into paradise. It’s funny, lighthearted and feel-good, with just enough of a plot to keep it rolling and a sweet, if unlikely, ending.
Filmed between November last year to February this year, the cast and crew had to form their own Covid-19 bubble.
And while it proved difficult at times, Clooney notes that “the people of Australia really put their heads down and got through this. Had we in the US done that, we would have 900,000 more people alive today.”
Roberts says she wanted to make people feel like they were on holiday after a difficult few years due to the pandemic.
“It’s always to make people laugh. George and I are both really motivated by making people laugh. And it was our great joy, whenever we would do something when we could hear laughing across the set, then we thought, ok, we’re good.
“And to be on an island with no place to run, we got to spend really sweet time together, which was something that isn’t always afforded when you’re going home to your regular life every day after work.”
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