George Clooney Reflects on Friendship with Julia Roberts: 'The Minute We Met, We Had Fun'

The longtime friends team up as bitter exes in their new movie, Ticket to Paradise, which had its U.S. premiere on Monday night in Los Angeles

George Clooney and Julia Roberts say a certain three-letter word is the secret to their on-screen chemistry and off-screen camaraderie.

"The minute we met, we had fun," Clooney, 61, told PEOPLE Monday night at the U.S. premiere of their new film, Ticket to Paradise. "The beauty is, when you work with people who take their work seriously and don't take themselves seriously, and that's really fun."

"I thought, he's going to be a pal," Roberts, 54, recalled, about the first time she met the actor.

The longtime friends, who first teamed up in Ocean's Eleven and then again in Money Monster in 2016, play a divorced couple who reunite to thwart the impending marriage of their daughter, played by Kaitlyn Dever.

While promoting the movie, Clooney and Roberts have had plenty of laughs while poking fun at one another — and themselves.

Still Photography on the set of "Ticket To Paradise" Julia Roberts; George Clooney
Julia Roberts and George Clooney in Ticket to Paradise. Vince Valitutti/Universal Studios

"I think it's so funny, and George is so funny, and George and I together, it's probably going to be terrible because there's too much potential for it to be great, it'll just implode on it itself," the Oscar-winning actress told The New York Times last month.

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"I think that should be the commercial for the movie: 'It's probably going to be terrible,' " continued Roberts, before playfully teasing, "I'm so glad my publicist is on a plane right now."

Julia Roberts and George Clooney arrives at the Premiere Of Universal Pictures' "Ticket To Paradise" at Regency Village Theatre on October 17, 2022 in Los Angeles, California
Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

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For his part, Clooney joked about what it took to get a perfect shot of the two kissing, while filming the movie.

"Yeah. I told my wife, 'It took 80 takes,' " Clooney told The Times. "She was like, 'What the hell?'"

"It took 79 takes of us laughing and then the one take of us kissing," Roberts added.

Clooney responded, "Well, we had to get it right."

Written and directed by Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again director Ol Parker, the movie was "clearly written for Julia and I," Clooney said, adding that the characters' names were originally Georgia and Julian.

"I hadn't really done a romantic comedy since One Fine Day — I haven't succeeded like Julia has in that forum — but I read it and thought, 'Well, if Jules is up for it, I think this could be fun,' " he said.

Ticket to Paradise is in theaters Oct. 21.

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