Julia Roberts reflects on evil as fairy tale villain

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Julia Roberts reflects on evil as fairy tale villain

LOS ANGELES - Julia Roberts has taken time off from Hollywood of late to focus on her three young children - but admits she enjoys being back on the big screen, as a fairy tale villain in her latest movie.

Playing the evil Queen in “Mirror Mirror,” a new version of “Snow White,” marks a departure for the U.S. actress, whose career has included everything from campaigning lawyer to high-class call girl and celebrity love interest. Directed by Indian filmmaker Tarsem Singh - who made last year’s “Immortals”- the movie based on the famous Brothers Grimm tale opened in the United States on Friday.

Roberts, who at 44 remains one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars, made her name in films including 1990’s “Pretty Woman” and “Erin Brockovich” in 2000, and said she never thought she would appear in a fairy tale.

“Just the one sentence pitched over the phone: ‘Hey, they’re doing this ‘Snow White’ adaptation,’ that didn’t grab my attention. I didn’t have any interest in this one, really, until Tarsem lured me in his lurid way,” she told reporters. “And I looked at the script and realized that there was really something here.”

The film tells the story popularized around the world by Disney, but gives it a different, sometimes comic or even absurd twist, creating a visual universe sometimes closer to “Alice in Wonderland” than the Brothers Grimm.

For Roberts, the film is less about making it different from Disney, but more “changing the tone of it, just giving a different relationship” between the Queen and Snow White, played by young British actress Lily Collins.

“I think people like variations on things,” Roberts said. “It was fun to play this villain, because there aren’t any real rules of syntax or reality that apply to her. So I could kind of do anything and just go off the rails in any direction at any time, and it would make sense to me.”

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