By Tim Stack
October 29, 2018 at 12:38 PM EDT

Ben Is Back

  • Movie

In order to prepare to play a family in Ben Is Back, out Dec. 7, Julia Roberts wanted to get to know her co-stars, especially on-screen son Lucas Hedges, better. So she invited Lucas, his father/Ben Is Back director Peter Hedges and co-star Kathryn Newton, who plays her daughter, out to Roberts’ family home in Malibu. Says the actress, “We just spent a few days where they would all come over and I would say to Lucas and Kathryn, ‘Okay, the kids are gonna take you guys surfing, so you’re gonna go down to the beach and Peter and I are gonna be here talking about stuff and making lunch.’ And off they’d go.’

Roadside Attractions

Adds Roberts, “Ultimately, it turned out that not long after that was Thanksgiving and Lucas was gonna be out here for Thanksgiving, and the first time he’d ever be away from his family in New York. So I said, ‘Come to our house for Thanksgiving.'”

According to Hedges, it was, “really delightful. She obviously has been a cultural touchstone for such a long time but her family is really, really grounded. It really was a family Thanksgiving dinner.”

And did Hedges contribute to the food preparation? “Oh, hell no,” laughs the actor. “I think it would of ruined the meal. She’s also the greatest cook. It’s insane. She made me a lot of food and it was all delicious. It was nonstop.”

For more on Julia Roberts, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, or buy your choice of two covers online: Julia in blue or Julia in black and white. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Ben Is Back

  • Movie
release date
  • 12/07/18
  • Peter Hedges
  • Julia Roberts,
  • Lucas Hedges,
  • Courtney B. Vance
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  • Ben Is Back