And that's a good thing, says the relieved star of the practically joke-free Duplicity set

By Paul Chi
Updated March 08, 2009 11:40 AM
Credit: Stewart Cook/Rex

Julia Roberts says there’s an ocean of difference between working with Clive Owen and her other recent costars, George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

She didn’t have to watch her back.

“What a relief. I didn’t have to check the toilet for anything or the light bulbs or the phone,” she says of the on-set pranks by her Oceans Twelve pals. “It was just good old-fashioned friendship.”

And fun. Roberts, 41, returns to the big screen in the romantic caper Duplicity, in theaters March 20, reuniting with her Closer costar Owen. She says Owen, 46, makes her laugh constantly, which helped sparked instant chemistry onscreen.

“We have a similar sense of humor,” she says. “Our list of priorities in our personal lives are not different. We are both happily married with families and lead a pretty normal, unaffected existence within in this odd universe of show business that we’ve both chosen to go into.”

Roberts and Owen play spies turned corporate operatives in the midst of an on-again and off-again love affair trying to scheme and seduce each other using quick banter.

“I’m Southern so I can talk really fast,” says the Oscar-winning actress. “I grew up on Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, His Girl Friday movies – that rat-a-tat-tat talking cadence and that rhythm. I love that kind of thing.”

One thing she doesn’t love as much, at least right now, is the thought of her three children – twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, 4, and son, Henry, 1, joining her and cameraman dad Danny Moder in show business.

“My first instinct is that if my children wanted to be artists, that they wait,” Roberts says. “I would prefer that they just wait as long as they can.”