Oprah: How do you know that for sure? Is there something inside that resonates?
Julia: Every cell in my body says yes. We're together constantly. Part of the reason why some of the relationships I've had in my past worked for so long is because when you're making movies, a huge gap of time can pass when you don't even see the person. Danny and I are together 21 hours a day.
Oprah: He worked on Mona Lisa Smile. Do you like it when he's on the set?
Julia: It makes me really, really nervous.
Oprah: Is it harder to step into character with him there?
Oprah: He could be looking through his lens at you.
Julia: No, no. It's fun, and I just hope I don't totally screw up every scene he's shooting. There was a day on Mona Lisa when I was in a Ukrainian library in Manhattan, in this kind of twirly skirt. Fabulous. I'm walking down this tiny winding staircase, and thinking about how I'm a grown woman who comes to work and has other people dress me and tell me what to say. I thought, "This is kind of silly, what I do." It's really bizarre. And it struck me in this really profound way that what I do, ultimately, is play games. When Danny's there looking at me, it kind of brings this awareness out. He knows me better than anybody, he can see what I'm putting on.
Oprah: How do you choose your roles? I hear you get offered every major script for every major female character.
Julia: The question is, Do I read them all? I'm just kidding. I choose totally by instinct. And the only time I've ever gone against my instincts, I've regretted it. It was only really one time.
Oprah: That was?
Julia: I shouldn't say. It's not nice. It wasn't a bad experience, it just wasn't where I should have been. Sometimes people think of actors as marionettes—everybody else makes the decisions for us—and, you know, really, making this decision [of which roles to take] is the only thing you lay claim to.
Oprah: You're absolutely right. What was it like to stand onstage and get that Oscar for Erin Brockovich?
Julia: I thought Ellen Burstyn was going to win, so I had a great weekend before. My sister and her husband were there, and it was something I wish everyone could experience just once. We went to the [pre-] Oscar parties, and everywhere you went, everybody seemed happy.
Oprah: And every celebrity is there.
Julia: Everyone you can think of. It was starting to bum me out a little bit, everybody saying I'm the favorite, but when a friend said, "There's always an upset," that's when it became perfect for me.