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This interview took place on November the 17th 1998 on the Oprah Winfrey show, again thanks to Kirsty!

Susan, Jena Malone and Liam Aitken
untitled.jpg

[Setting: The two super stars walk out together, holding hands. Julia is wearing a black dress and Susan is wearing a brown pants suit.]

Oprah: They are two of your favorite actresses - off screen they're best pals - isn't that a good thing to know. Now they're starring in their first movie together called "Stepmom" where they are anything but friends. One plays the young hip girlfriend in a tug-of-war with the other - the perfect mother who is also a jealous ex-wife who discovers that she has cancer. The critics are calling this one a "ten-hankie" experience with some laughs along the way. Please welcome Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon.

[wild cheering]

Oprah: [to audience] Okay, you all just came from seeing the movie?

Audience: Yes!

Oprah: Okay, is it ten hankies for real?

Audience: Yes!

Oprah: Ten or twelve? Fifty hankies? Okay. So you liked it?

Audience: applause.

Oprah: Well Susan I heard you said there are comedies and there are dramas and then there's a movie like this that's everything.

Susan: It's a feel everything, yeah.

Oprah: It's a feel everything movie. It's good to know that you are good friends. How long has that been going on?

Julia: For a long time.

Susan: We've been secretly seeing each other ...

Oprah: Hold on, you'll read about it in the tabloids somewhere. How many years.

Julia: Like 8, 9 10, something.

Oprah: 8, 9, 10

Julia: Yeah.

Oprah: and what's the relationship like? Is it like ....

Julia: Very intensive.

Oprah: Do you give her advice, are you like girl-friends chitty chatting on the phone at night about all your stuff?

Susan: She is not in town that often to chitty-chat on the phone, so I'd say I'm kinda more glued with the family and she comes in the orbit, right? But we don't, we took a trip to Costa Rica together. I had planned a trip, when my kids turned eight I started this tradition of taking them somewhere special individually, well, she was the first one that turned eight.

Julia: It was the beginning of the tradition.

Oprah: You have three kids right?

Susan: I have three children and my daughter is now thirteen and when she was eight, I had been working with some scientists on ecological stuff and they invited me to Costa Rica and the rule was always if you don't need shots we'll go. So, we were going to take this trip, and I asked Julia about it and she expressed an interest, so that was probably the longest period that we spent together kinda.

Oprah: I read somewhere you use to baby-sit or something for her?

Julia: No I hang out with her kids because they're great, but I wouldn't ever let them alone with me.

Susan: But now that she's been trained due to this movie, she can do anything.

Oprah: I know, this movie entitled "Stepmom" is so much bigger than that, you know, I know the writers ...

 Susan: Yeah it's kinda a horrible title, I agree.

Oprah: Yeah, it's called Stepmom but don't you feel, audience, that it should be, we don't know exactly what the title should be but it's bigger than that.

Julia: We could take suggestions. I'm ready.

Oprah: Okay, so tell us what it's about, tell us the premise.

Susan: I'm divorced from Ed Harris.

Oprah: Isn't he a dream!

Susan: Oh yeah. But he's my ex-husband, her boyfriend at the time at the beginning of the movie. We have two kids

Julia: Loves me.

Susan: Loves her

Oprah: And has that unbelievable proposal scene.

[audience goes wild]

Susan: That by the way was Julia's idea.

Oprah: The proposal scene was your idea?

Susan: And Ed wrote most of his dialogue.

Julia: It came out of rehearsals and Ed was saying some things that just struck a chord with me, and he was talking about the thread that sometimes holds a relationship together and my wheels started to churn, cause we wanted to be kind of original and there have been so many proposal scenes filmed in movies, and we wanted to do something that was a little bit different and I came up with sort of an outline of an idea and gave it to Chris, who - our director - who flushed it out and made it this great scene and Ed is so touching and he's so brilliant in what he does and he made it. I just had to sit down and look sleepy and try to be cute and ...

Oprah: And it's always in the movies. I remember watching that scene you guys are kissing and I'm saying, you know, in the morning in the movies nobody ever has bad breath. And you're kissing and it's wonderful and you can propose to me and you're kissing again, and it's wonderful. What scene is this we're going to see? Do y'all know the first scene.

Julia: I do.

Oprah: Okay, what is it?

Julia: This is in the kitchen, I have , we've had the kids for whatever, the weekend or something, and I'm bringing them back to her house in the morning in my ...

Oprah: After Gina Malone has decided she hates you.

Julia: Yeah.

Oprah: Let's take a look

[Scene From Stepmom]
Julia: Good morning.
Susan: But it's 7:23. You were suppose to be here at 6:30. She has missed her morning riding lesson.
Julia: It's Monday. Her riding lesson is on Tuesday.
Susan: Except for the third Tuesday of the month which switches to Monday and in November when she rides on Thursday. I mean, it is not that difficult. Don't you have somekinda little black agenda book that you can write all this down in?
Julia: May I have a cup of coffee please?
Susan: We don't have coffee.
Julia: Good morning Betty Ford.

Audience applause.

Oprah: I know that every role you place takes you to a different place in your life, so what did you learn from this character? Julia: That I really don't like having everybody hate me in a movie. You know, it's uh, (some on in audience says something) Julia: Oh thanks! And you know, just that word has such a terrible, we have a little scene where we talk about it a little bit. Parents, it's not a nice word and especially stepmothers

Susan: When my daughter is with someone other than Tim, then he calls her his bonus daughter, which I think is a nice way to look at it. You get this person and the bonus is you get these kids, so I think we should have this move to change it from wherever that came from - step - to bonus children.

Julia: Yeah, it should be called Bonus Mom.

Oprah: So that's the Julia verse -- anything -- did you take away from this character? This angry divorced mother?

Susan: What interested me in the whole thing is that you know, bad things make good things happen, your life can really be enriched by something that seems like a catastrophe and though it takes the scare of an illness to get these people to rise above their pettiness, I think it's also about really basically parenting you can't win and just loving your kids is the commitment you have to make and you do the best you can and it's all different styles of parenting and you know, in my wild days I never thought I'd be the mother of three and I think I'm a damn good mother so, parents, mothers come from all kinds of places and they can be career women, they can be single moms, they can be two women, two guys, whatever a family is, the important thing is that you love your kids and you try to do the best that you can and I think that at the end of the move that's what they both realize.

Oprah: Okay, next. Why is Julia Roberts on a exotic island half-way across the world hanging out with orangutans for a walk on the wild side, sort of. Back in a moment.

[Scene From Stepmom]

Julia: I can see how sitting out here in the cold and snow crying seems like a far superior idea than listening to a stepmother, but for kicks, let's lose the title. Seems to me you have a choice. You can either pretend to be an adult or you can actually be one. So ... sit here in the cold crying ... by yourself.... or do something about it - together.

Oprah: Wow, that was a scene from Julia Robert and Susan Sarandon's new movie -- it's called "Stepmom" This movie opens December 25. Would you want to be a Stepmom yourself though?

Julia: Would I want to be one?

Oprah: Um hum. If you fell in love with someone and they had children of this age already.

Julia: Yes, I would accept that duty with open-arms.

Oprah: You really would?

Julia: Of course.

Oprah: No reservation whatsoever?

Julia: Well, what are you going to say "lose the kid?" I mean, you know, yeah, you take on a person's whole life.

Oprah: Cause you are, you're taking on the ex-wife and you're taking on the family

Julia: But that's what you do, that's what unconditional love is, it's conditional, it's not, it doesn't have boundaries or limits, it's well, I'll love you but only if you make your life this way -- it's not how it works I don't think.

Oprah: Well, last summer Julia Roberts and three of her friends and a six-person camera crew went to the jungles of Indonesia for a month.

Susan: That's what Julia likes to do.

Oprah: The mission was to hang out with oragantans. Now in serious danger of extinction for a PBS series called in the wild. This is pretty amazing -- take a look.

[Scene From PBS Special "In the Wild - Orangutans With Julia Roberts"!]
Julia: This is my first orangutan encounter -- oh my god, this is so intense, wow, hi, you're heavy, and we're in a swamp. Hi, oh, he gave me a little nibble on the ear.
As I labor to get some of the grunge out of my tee-shirt, Onyuk slowly and quietly makes her way across to join us. Maybe she thinks I need some help.

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