No way will Julia land an Oscar for this one. After all, the Academy grossly overlooked Eddie Murphy when he blimped out in ”The Nutty Professor.” Now Roberts is following in his fat steps: donning a mound of faux flesh to play Kiki, the frumpy assistant (and sister) to a vain movie star (Zeta-Jones).
Don’t worry that the flabalanche will crimp Julia’s famous smile — the economy size Roberts is seen only in a few flashbacks. But even a limited stay in the suit was enough to make the actress glad she doesn’t actually have cleavage of Brockovichian proportions. ”Not to be indiscreet,” Roberts says, ”but the boobs were so heavy. All day, my back hurt. And I’m like, God, why do I feel like I’m put together wrong?” Still, Roberts thinks she got the easiest part in the picture. Her Kiki mostly sits and watches as the marriage of the titular screen team (Cusack’s the hubby) falls to pieces during a promotional junket — despite the best efforts of a publicist (Crystal) to hold things together.
Crystal and Tolan hit it off on ”Analyze This” (which Tolan helped rework from a script by ”You Can Count on Me”’s Kenneth Lonergan). This time, the concept came directly from Crystal. About two years ago, he says, he had a brainstorm: Suppose he and Meg Ryan, so successful as costars in ”When Harry Met Sally?,” were in fact married costars who’d shot a dozen pictures together. ”And on the last one,” says Crystal, ”she falls for somebody else.” (Incidentally, this was way before Ryan split with husband Dennis Quaid and took up with her ”Proof of Life” costar Russell Crowe.)
The screenwriters had completed only a rough first draft of their comical take when Castle Rock put the project in turnaround last summer. That’s when Joe Roth, who’d bolted his movie chief post at Disney to form the production company Revolution Studios, swooped in and bought it, pushing Crystal to polish it pronto to begin a 10-week shoot in January 2001. ”I’m the reason Billy didn’t host the Oscars this year,” jokes Roth. ”I didn’t want to wait around till after the ceremony to make this movie.” Somewhere, Steve Martin is saying Yes!