Near-fatal ODs and love faxes to Julia Roberts: What Matthew Perry’s memoir reveals about Hollywood’s most powerful couple
I was surprised to see a Matthew Perry and Julia Roberts film on the big screen at last night’s Golden Globes, but then I saw the brief commercial announcing the film. A woman’s voice declared, “Now there’s a romantic comedy.” It was from a woman I recognize from the past: Patricia Heaton.
It’s been a long time since I saw The Wedding Singer with Tom Hanks and Halle Berry. I don’t remember any of their screen chemistry and I can’t for the life of me think of a romantic comedy Julia Roberts had anything to do with. She plays a love-struck waitress with her own romantic comedy ambitions who has an unrequited crush on Hanks’ Brad.
I can’t remember seeing that ad either, except maybe now and again when I see it on television. When Julia Roberts came in to the stage at the Globes with her big smile on, while Matthew Perry went out the front door with a look of pure disappointment on his face, I realized that we had lost a lot of ground on the subject of the most handsome men in Hollywood, actors who used to be so powerful and so in demand that we took our cues from their public behavior and not from who they are behind the scenes. After all this time, we’ve still not learned to follow them. Perhaps the fact that the industry is now so dominated by women has contributed to the difference.
Matthew Perry and Julia Roberts had a great deal to do with the way that the culture of the Hollywood film is changing. I first saw them a decade or so ago, when Perry was winning Emmys and Julia had a small role in Perry’s film Splash. They didn’t have a film that year, but I remember thinking how young they were and how much like each other they seemed to be. They were both about as attractive as Julia Roberts and Matthew Perry can look in pictures, but the women behind the scenes of the film are much more interesting. They were smart, capable, ambitious and very much the power players in their own right. They had something that the public didn’