By Peter Knegt | Indiewire September 10, 2013 at 12:30PM
Meryl Streep wasn't in attendance at this morning's packed press conference for "August: Osage County" at the Toronto International Film Festival. But Julia Roberts (who joked that Streep's absence was simply due to her "sleeping") helped make up for it with nearly an hour of lively Julia-isms.
The rest of the present talent -- including director John Wells, writer Tracy Letts and actors Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Julianne Nicholson, Abigail Breslin and Dermot Mulroney -- all offered some nice soundbites as well, but we couldn't help but keep this little list exclusive to Ms. Roberts, who seems to just be becoming more and more of a hoot with age.
On how she discovered "August: Osage County" the play: "That's what I was gonna say," Roberts joked after Julianne Nicholson eloquently described her experiences discovering the play before Roberts' turn. "Everything Julianne Nicholson just said, she read off my paper. Because I saw the play and I loved it. You sit in your seat and think 'my life will never be the same again.' Having spent time now with this cast trying to take this incredible play and make it into a movie. My life will never be the same again."
On how the cast worked together on the film: "Here's the thing. Here's the crux of the biscuit, if you will. We worked our asses off. Because there was no other way to do it. I've never worked so hard in my life and I've given birth to three children. It was like a mountain to climb every single day and the only way to climb it, we discovered, was holding hands -- whether we liked it or not. We would work all day and go home and shower, and then all run to Meryl's house and start practicing for the next day. Because you had to have that momentum going really about 19 or 20 hours of the day or else it would just leave you. And it was the best acting experience of my life."
On what she thought it must have been like for the cast of the play: "I don't know they did it eight times a week, without some kind of rehab after. Or was there was a halfway house for them after to get back to real life?"
On working with Meryl Streep (part 1): "At the top of the heap was the person who's sleeping somewhere right now, Meryl Streep. Who showed that it is about working hard. Because I've never seen anyone work harder than she works. She doesn't just snap her fingers and be a genius. She really is just the hardest working girl in the room. I was so grateful to see that up close."
On how she manages fame and family values: "Family values. That's actually values in general. That's all there is. Fame is just a summer breeze that comes and goes. But to have a bedrock of knowing who you are, that's what it's all about."
On seeing the movie for the first time last night: "I think I cut off Dermot [Mulroney]'s circulation just squeezing his hand with excitement and thrill to see what everybody did. Because it's such a great ensemble. Even though there were a lot of scenes that we are all in together, my favorite is the bus station scene with Benedict [Cumberbatch] and Chris [Cooper]. It was my favorite scene in the play and it was my favorite scene when I read the screenplay. To watch the way they did that in the film, it was heartbreaking. I have too much makeup on right now to keep talking about that scene! But that's why you want to go and see what your friends did so perfectly. It's great. I loved watching the movie last night and I thought the audience was so great. It was great to have so much energetic support. It was something I'll never forget."
On working with Meryl Streep (part 2): "To work with Meryl Streep is a dream come true for anyone. To know her is an honor. She is such a beautiful person and it was intimidating, certainly, to be in these scenes with her. Choking her, and things like that, were not how I pictured it going in my mind all these years. I thought we'd be together, having tea and speaking in fabulous accents all dressed up. But there we were... I'm sweating and have on a big butt pad. So that's not how it was in my dream. However... It was still amazing. I think that at the end of every day -- coming out of the truth of the Weston family and into our own truths of who were are together with a hug and a kiss and an 'I love you' -- that was really the elixir that I needed to come in the next day and climb over the next table to choke her in the next way."
On what she does to alleviate anger: "Act! I don't have to be angry now for like 10 more years after this. I got it all out!"
On the fact that the actresses that played her sisters are named Juliette and Julianne (after a reporter tried to pose a question to all three of them): "Isn't that hard to say? Imagine what John [Wells] went through! Why did he cast the three of us? It was a Jule-bilee! [huge laughter from the audience] Just take a minute people. Enjoy that. Cause it's hard to say, too."
On working with Meryl Streep (part 3): "Meryl is not only sublime and superior in her work. She's such a beautiful person. She sees not only what I need as an actor but what I need as a girl in the world. She provides all that, all the time. No wonder she's sleeping. She's exhausted after taking care of me."
Watch the whole press conference here: