Credit: Karen Ballard

Julia Roberts is an Oscar-winning actress, but even she was stretched to her limit for Secret in Their Eyes. The new film, from director Billy Ray, stars Roberts as a FBI investigator whose world is shattered when an unidentified teenage girl who was killed and left in a dumpster is revealed to be her daughter.

“It was definitely not a day I looked forward to. You can’t prepare for that in the way you do other scenes,” Roberts says in a new feature about the scene in which her character, Jess, finds out about her child.

Roberts is a parent herself, and her connection to the material was further pushed by the presence of her husband, Danny Moder, who served as cinematographer on the film. “It was harder on him because he’s shooting and in the dumpster, and I’m his wife,” Roberts says of the scene. “It’s crazy.”

Costarring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman, Secret in Their Eyes is out on Nov. 20 via STX Entertainment. Watch the heartbreaking moment when Roberts’ Jess has her entire life changed in the exclusive video above.

Secret in Their Eyes

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 111 minutes
  • Billy Ray