Sally Field Calls Out Bullying of a Young Julia Roberts

Actor knocks director Herb Ross' 'awful' treatment of 'Steel Magnolias' star
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2024 1:24 PM CST
Sally Field Calls Out Bullying of a Young Julia Roberts
In this 1989 file photo, stars of the film Steel Magnolias from left: Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Julia Roberts, and Daryl Hannah pose for a photo in New York.   (AP Photo/Ed Bailey, File)

Julia Roberts was a relative newcomer in film when she snagged a starring role in 1989's Steel Magnolias, and according to co-star Sally Field, she was pushed around by late director Herb Ross. "Herb was very, very, very hard on Julia. If you ever talk to Julia, she'll tell you," Field tells Vulture in an interview published Monday. "She was sort of the newcomer. And she was wonderful, and he just picked on her. It was awful." Asked why Ross bullied Roberts, who would go on to land a Golden Globe award and Oscar nomination for her turn as Shelby, Field added, "Some people just need to have somebody they pick on."

Luckily, Roberts had defenders. Field said the women-led cast, including Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, and the late Olympia Dukakis, rallied around Roberts "because she was the baby," per People. "We all came to her aid, and I remember Dolly once just turned on him—always with humor, but usually the most vulgar humor you ever heard—so that it was like, you just literally don't have a leg to stand on," she said. Field added Ross "dared not" mess with her. "If you're gonna be mean to me, then you're gonna find a warrior," she said. Click to read the full interview, in which Field discusses the freedom Ross gave her in the film's heart-wrenching cemetery scene. (More Sally Field stories.)

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