Julia Roberts Reveals She Passed on “You've Got Mail”, but Got “Steel Magnolias” When Meg Ryan Couldn't Do It

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The actress also revealed that she starred in 2004's 'Closer' when Cate Blanchett was originally supposed to play her role

Julia Roberts is looking back on some of the most memorable roles she has played — and some that she almost could have!

The Leave the World Behind star appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen Thursday night, when she was asked by a fan if there were any parts she regrets passing on, especially considering how big the movie went on to become.

"Well, none that I have regrets about because I feel it's all kind of destiny," said Roberts, 56. "But what have I passed on that went on to be great and wonderful and I thought it maybe wouldn't have been as great and wonderful with me? You've Got Mail. The Last of the Mohicans."

According to the Oscar winner, Meg Ryan — the actress who did go on to star in You've Got Mail — "was supposed to be in Steel Magnolias and she was still filming When Harry Met Sally. And so I got that part" of Shelby, the ill-fated daughter of Sally Field's M'Lynn, in the 1989 tearjerker.

"Cate Blanchett was supposed to be in Closer, but she got pregnant. So I got that part," Roberts added of the role of Anna, which she played in the 2004 drama opposite Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Jude Law. "I've lucked into some good stuff."

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<p>Tri-Star/Kobal/Shutterstock; Warner Brothers</p> Julia Roberts in <em>Steel Magnolias</em> (1989); Meg Ryan in <em>You've Got Mail</em> (1998)

Tri-Star/Kobal/Shutterstock; Warner Brothers

Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias (1989); Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail (1998)

Related: Iconic Roles That Were 'Almost' Played by Someone Else

Based on the 1987 play of the same name, Steel Magnolias explored the relationships and sisterhood of a group of women in a small Southern community. Aside from Roberts and Field, 77, the movie starred Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah and the late Olympia Dukakis.

Roberts, a relative newcomer at the time, scored the film’s sole Oscar nomination. The young actress was filming her breakout romantic comedy, Mystic Pizza, when she nabbed the heartbreaking role of Shelby Eatenton Latcherie in Steel Magnolias. Her devastating performance landed her a Best Supporting Actress nomination. (She would later go on to win Best Actress for Erin Brockovich in 2001.)

Amid Steel Magnolias' 30th anniversary back in 2019, MacLaine, now 89, told PEOPLE that she knew from the second she met her that Roberts would go on to become a star.

“We were rehearsing on a soundstage, I can’t remember where, and she walks in,” MacLaine recalled. “And the way she walked into the room and sat down and said hello ... I got up from the table and called my agent before we even started to rehearse. I said, ‘There’s a woman here and she’s going to be a huge star. You should handle her,’ I told him. She was amazing. The energy that she had just walking into the sound stage.”

Roberts would go on to do just that, starring in hit dramas and iconic romantic comedies while also racking up numerous accolades.

<p> Moviestore/Shutterstock </p> From L: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton in <em>Steel Magnolias</em> (1989)

Moviestore/Shutterstock

From L: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias (1989)

Related: Julia Roberts on Advice She'd Give Her Younger Self: 'It's All Going to Be Okay—and Don't Pluck Your Eyebrows' (Exclusive)

During her WWHL appearance, Roberts was asked by another viewer to pick a movie of hers of which she'd love to make a follow-up. And her answer came quickly: My Best Friend's Wedding.

The comedy was a global box-office hit when it opened in June 1997. Directed by P.J. Hogan, it follows Roberts as Jules, a food journalist who realizes she's in love with her longtime best friend, Michael (Dermot Mulroney) after he reveals he's engaged to new love, Kimmy (Cameron Diaz). Desperate to win his heart, Jules spends the next four days trying to break up his wedding, even faking an engagement to her gay best friend, George (Rupert Everett), out of desperation.

Of course — spoiler alert — it doesn't end well for Jules, with Michael choosing Kimmy in the end. But the richness of the characters and the dynamics between them means there's plenty of material to explore for a sequel, as Roberts told host Andy Cohen.

"There's so many people in it," she said, noting that she'd want "to see what they're doing and how Kimmy and Michael's marriage is going."

Asked by another WWHL viewer whom she thought Michael should have chosen, Roberts stuck with her character. "Well, I mean, of course, Jules. But he married Kimmy!" she answered.

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