Interview – George Clooney, Julia Roberts and the cast and crew of ‘Ticket To Paradise’

Academy Award ® winners George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite on the big screen as exes David and Georgia who find themselves on a shared mission to stop their lovestruck daughter from making the same mistake they once made. Ticket to Paradise was filmed on location in Queensland, Australia, and also stars Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) as David and Georgia’s daughter Lily, and Billie Lourde (Booksmart) as Lily’s best friend Wren.

To celebrate the release of Ticket To Paradise – in Australian cinemas September 15 – Universal Pictures gave me the chance to attend a virtual press conference with George Clooney, Julia Roberts, the supporting cast, as well as writer/director Ol Parker, as the discussed collaborating on this project and filming in beautiful Queensland.

Ol [Parker, screenwriter and director], did you write this film with George and Julia in mind?

Ol Parker: Yes, you’re entirely right! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be sitting here and we wouldn’t have made the film! If it wasn’t the case, I’d still be writing letters to them going: ‘You don’t understand, this needs to be you!” It was  conceived for them and written for them, and I begged them to do it and they took mercy on me!

George Clooney: In fairness, he [Ol Parker] had some compromising photographs of us. [laughs]

Thank God you both said yes then! It’s wonderful to see you both [George Clooney and Julia Roberts] on screen together again. Julia, what was it that connected with you in this script?

Julia Roberts: Just the chance to be snarky at George really jumped out at me! Just to see him so pathetically in love with me!

George Clooney: It’s a story about a man in love and has to deal with a horrible woman!

[all laugh]

George Clooney: What was important to me was to be able to work with the queen of romantic comedies… but she couldn’t take the job, so I would with Julia instead!

The chemistry between all the different characters throughout the film is beautiful – especially between George, Julia and Kaitlyn [Dever]. Kaitlyn, can you talk us through your character of Lillian and what it was like working with these guys?

Kaitlyn Dever: I mean, it was the best! It’s kind of interesting as an actor having to have a relationship with someone on screen, or meeting your ‘best friend’, but it’s so special when you all get along immediately, it’s just so special.

Billie [Lourd], you’ve worked with Kaitlyn before! How did it feel getting the chance to work together again?

Billie Lourd: Oh, it was the best! Having the best adventures of all time in the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve never looked better in my life than in a stinger suit with just a little bit of my face popping out. But for my character, Wren, she’s a good person and I would love to have someone like her in my life, the ultimate third wheel queen!

The chemistry and camaraderie between you all are seen even more in the outtakes during the credits, how has your friendships outside of this film helped your performances?

Julia Roberts: George and I met on Oceans Eleven, right?

George Clooney: We met with Steven Soderbergh and we sat on a hotel room floor and make jokes for about five hours. And that was the start of it all. It’s always been fairly easy for us. I remember after getting the script, I called Julia and told her she has to read this and that it will only work if she does. And she said yes! I think we were very lucky, but you know, it’s fun to work with friends.

Ol Parker: There was only one time I had to give Julia a note and it was in an argument scene between them both. George was going for it, and Julia just wasn’t. And she told me that she didn’t want to be mean to George!

And for Billie, comedy is very much a genre you’re comfortable performing in! Do you find that it comes naturally for you?

Billie Lourd: Well, I grew up with the funniest woman of all time in my mum [Carrie Fisher]. So, not being funny would just mean that I was not accepted into the family. For me, to be funny is to survive!

Ticket To Paradise was filmed on location in Queensland, Australia – what was it like filming in such a beautiful part of the world?

George Clooney: Everything is huge there!

Julia Roberts: Everything is trying to kill you!

George Clooney: There’s a little frog in front of you, and they say: “Don’t touch it, it will kill you”! But I think it’s also important to remember that the citizens of Australia really put their head down during COVID and got through this. They really took a big sacrifice. So we feel very honoured to be with those people.

Billie Lourd: Also, Tim Tams forever. It’s one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been able to spend time. I made my kid a little book of it to remember because it was incredible.

Thanks again to Universal Pictures for the chance to attend the press conference, and you can see Ticket To Paradise in cinemas from September 15.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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