There comes a point in every actor's career where they just want to be bad. They just want to find a role where they don't have to worry about being sympathetic or likable and just be as mean as possible.
It looks like that time is now for Julia Roberts as she sinks her teeth into the role of the evil Queen in "Mirror Mirror," a new telling of "Snow White." The role gives her the chance to be both wicked and wickedly funny as she schemes to retain her status as the "fairest of them all."
It's a departure from how the fairy tale villain has been portrayed in the past. While the Queen from Walt Disney's 1937 version was dark and imperious -- and Charlize Theron's take in next year's "Snow White and the Huntsman" looks icily alluring -- Roberts puts a brash, sharp-tongued and vibrant twist to the role.
In the just-released trailer for the film, Roberts sure seems to be having fun as the Queen banishes Snow White (played by Lily Collins) to the dark forest so that she can have the handsome Prince (Armie Hammer) all to herself. But according to her costars, being wicked didn't come naturally to Roberts.
Lily Collins told People Magazine that while Roberts was completely convincing as a villain when cameras were rolling, but "once they yell cut, the first thing she says to me, 'Are you okay? I'm sorry, I hate being mean to you.'" The film's director, Tarsem Singh ("Immortals") also said that Roberts expressed her mixed feelings about getting tough on screen, telling him "I feel so strange being mean to her, because it feels like I'm being mean to Bambi."
It's obvious, though, that Roberts isn't playing an overly dark and foreboding character here. Her Queen is snarky and sarcastic, hurling insults at Snow White and her servant (Nathan Lane). And her attempt to bewitch the handsome and rich Prince fails when she gives him the wrong love potion. But we do get a hint of the real threat the Queen poses with a brief shot of her withered hand giving Snow White that famous poisoned apple. Collins said in Entertainment Weekly, "The way [Julia is] playing the queen, people feel really bad for Snow White."
Watch the exclusive trailer premiere for "Mirror Mirror," opening March 16, 2012.