Julia Roberts Once Couldn’t Believe Steven Spielberg Hesitated to Defend Against ‘Hook’ Rumors

Actor Julia Roberts and Steven Spielberg once worked together in the 1991 film Hook. There was a lot of behind the scenes controversy regarding the shoot, particularly because of Roberts’ alleged attitude on set.

Roberts asserted the rumors were based on lies, and couldn’t believe Spielberg’s reaction to the gossip.

How Julia Roberts felt about the way Steven Spielberg defended her against ‘Hook’ rumors

Julia Roberts smiling at the Fashion Awards.
Julia Roberts | Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

Roberts was the subject of much controversy after starring in Spielberg’s Hook. The movie was the filmmaker’s re-telling of the classic Peter Pan story, featuring a cast that also included Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams.

But attention veered towards the behind the scenes antics of Hook when rumors of Roberts’ bad behavior on set began to spread. Her attitude was once allegedly so bad that some dubbed her ‘Tinkerhell,’ a reference to her Hook character Tinkerbell. Although Spielberg wouldn’t confirm the gossip surrounding Roberts, he did believe Roberts and himself didn’t come together under the best circumstances.

“It was an unfortunate time for us to work together,” Spielberg once said in an interview on 60 Minutes (via Vanity Fair).

Roberts, however, confided that the rumors really affected her. Especially since, she claimed, they were based on nothing but lies.

“Hand to God: not a thing I read about that was truthful, and it really hurt my feelings. Because not only did it make me sound mean, but it was a situation where people who knew the truth talked about it in a way that wasn’t untruthful,” she said.

Vanity Fair noted that Roberts was apparently alluding to the comments Spielberg made during his interview.

“I saw that and my eyes popped out of my head. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that this person that I knew and trusted was actually hesitating to come to my defense,” she said. “It was a hard lesson to learn. It was the first time that I felt I had a turncoat in my midst.”

Julia Roberts once asked Steven Spielberg for help dealing with ‘Hook’ rumors

Apart from rumors suggesting Roberts was difficult to work with, there was once speculation that she wouldn’t do the film at all. At the time the Pelican Brief star was going through a highly publicized break-up with ex-boyfriend Kiefer Sutherland. Talk began to emerge that Roberts almost dropped out of Hook after the rough separation from Sutherland.

But Roberts was quick to shoot the rumors down.

“Would I return to the set of Hook was never in question with anybody that had to do with the film. This was something drummed up by the press,” Roberts once said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “The fact is, you know, I had been working on Hook for quite some time, doing the technical preparations and stuff, and then it was actually on my first day of filming I got up to go to work, and I was freezing cold because I had this fever.”

Still, the rumors persisted that Roberts might have been the source of a lot of friction and unhappiness on set. This prompted Roberts to ask her Hook director for help.

“I was reading it in the paper with everybody else. You know, I would be at work reading that I didn’t have a job, that there was some kind of problem going on. And it just became absurd,” she recalled. “I finally was advised by a friend to go talk to Steven (Spielberg). And I said to him, ‘You know, I really need you to help me out here. This is getting crazy. Too many people are reading it and believing it.'”

Julia Roberts explained her behavior in ‘Hook’

Roberts shared that she didn’t hear anyone calling her ‘Tinkerhell’ while doing the movie. But the Oscar-winner acknowledged there were certain frustrations on her part. However, this was only because of certain miscommunication that occurred during the film’s production.

“I mean, if I sit in my trailer for six hours doing nothing, I’m going to say,” ‘What the f*** is going on?’ I don’t think that’s an outrageous question, I don’t think that’s temperamental either. So I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not, like, perfect. ‘Go wait here for eight hours.’ ‘Okay, fabulous! You let me know. Can I go get you some coffee?’ I have normal frustrations like everybody else, but I don’t consider myself temperamental,” she shared.

RELATED: Julia Roberts Calls Her 1st Childhood Memory ‘Bloody’