Brad Furman was once Julia Robert's assistant

By Adam Markovitz
March 18, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brad Furman is making a name for himself for directing The Lincoln Lawyer and the 2008 thriller The Take. But 10 years ago, Hollywood’s A list knew him by a different title: Julia’s Brad. From 1998 to 2001, Furman cut his showbiz teeth as Julia Roberts’ assistant, helping the star at home and on the sets of movies like Erin Brockovich and The Mexican. ”Honestly, she’s the coolest woman,” Furman says of his old boss. ”She cooks, she cleans, and she doesn’t need much. We’d go bowling and hang out. She was like a big sister.” But the NYU film school grad knew he’d have to part with Roberts to realize his goal of becoming a filmmaker. ”I was making tons of money, but I wasn’t my own man,” he says. ”So I took every penny I made with Julia and made my first short film, Fast Forward.” The buzz around that 2002 short helped him land The Take, which caught the eye of Lincoln Lawyer star Matthew McConaughey. Today, Furman finally has his dream job — though he has nothing but fond memories of his time with Roberts. ”We’ve lost touch, but we’ve always been on good terms,” he says. ”It was a terrific experience.”