Eric Roberts Talks 'Gifted' Family, 'Fraud' Government
By Gary Susman Posted Aug 25th 2010 04:20PM
Visiting the multiplex over the last couple of weekends, you might have seen Eric Roberts in 'The Expendables,' the veteran tough-guy reunion movie that's been No. 1 at the box office since it opened two weeks ago. Or you might have caught his sister, Julia, in 'Eat Pray Love,' which has been close behind on the box office chart. Or, on a handful of art house screens, you may have seen Eric's daughter Emma in 'Twelve.'
It's been a good month for the Roberts clan, and no one is prouder than Eric, who says he's thrilled with all the successes of his extended family. That includes his stepchildren, Keaton and Morgan Simons, the grown kids of his wife Eliza, who are making splashes of their own. As for Eliza, a casting director and actress in her own right, she's the one Roberts credits for his current successes, from 'The Expendables' to 'The Young and the Restless,' where he has a guest stint this summer. Via her decision-making ("I let her do my thinking for me, and it's paid off," Roberts says), the actor's career management and publicity are also being kept in the family.
Roberts' current high profile is a nice bonus for the 54-year-old actor, who's not often in the spotlight despite a busy schedule that often has him appearing in as many as a dozen movies or TV projects a year. Still, he found time to call PopEater to talk about his family, how he stays straight (and fit), his top-secret political project and his efforts to project a "smart, sane" new image.
How did it feel going up against your sister's movie at the box office?
I don't like that word, "against."
"Opposite," then. Is this the first time your movies have opened opposite each other?
We've been in theaters together lots of times. This was the first time we opened on the same day. There are a lot of Robertses and Simonses in the business, so it's cool, but there are bound to be family opening days. I'm just so glad neither my sister's nor my movie did badly. A Roberts movie was No. 1 and No. 2 the first week, which thrilled me.
And your daughter Emma was in theaters at the same time with 'Twelve.'
Isn't that cool? Who knew?
Do you have any advice for her now that she's taking on adult roles?
She's at an age where the parents don't give advice. She's 19 and she's not interested in advice. If we give it, we're only hassling.
You mentioned the Simonses. What are your stepchildren doing?
My stepson is on the edge of becoming a huge rock and roll superstar. If you go to my website, EricRobertsActor.com, there are links to his music. Or you can go to his website, KeatonSimons.com. He just came off tour with REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar, where he opened for them, and he's kickin' ass. If you listen to his music, you'll understand why I'm so excited about him. It's not at all about the fact that we're related. It's about the fact that he's brilliant. He blows my mind, and I'm a huge fan. In fact, he's my favorite singer-songwriter since Cat Stevens. That's a matter of fact, not a false compliment.
And your stepdaughter Morgan is a chef whose catering business serves healthy food to celebrity clients?
I just want to make sure that, in my middle years now, you are what you eat, and if you want to eat perfect, go to ACateringCo.com and you will. It's not because she's my stepdaughter, any more than that's why I recommend Keaton, because he's so brilliant. It's not because I married their mom. It's just that these three people are extraordinarily gifted, and I'm really lucky to be in their lives. So I just want to push them.
You're also touting the site Yoga With Jocelyn. What's your connection to that?
Yoga and pilates are the answer to staying straight and fit. I want more people to know that. I'm not a muscle guy. I'm just your standard, medium height, medium weight, toned, cut guy. But I'm not a muscle guy because of yoga and pilates, which I firmly believe in.
Your wife Eliza oversees your career and serves as your publicist?
I have the most intelligent wife on the planet, which really helps. She's just so f**kin' smart, dude. I let her do my thinking for me, and it's paid off. I call her "The Boss." And it saves me four grand a month. Who knew?
I don't really have an image. The image that I have is peculiar because ... I don't have an image. Everybody just weighs me out from what I've played. Most people think I'm very peculiar. And that's okay. It's been a lot of fun, but now I'm ready to play smart.
Are there roles you'd like to play that you don't usually get to play?
I want to play guys who have a reason for understanding and dissecting our government. I think our government is a fraud. It was exposed how fraudulent it was during the Bush Jr. years. I want to pursue making that understandable to the public. It's time that we took our country back. It got away from us through Bush. He left Obama with such an economic hole that he's having trouble shining. It's because of Bush, but Bush doesn't have the intelligence God gave a pigeon, so Bush was just a frontman. So there's a lot of problems I would like to expose through entertainment. So that's what I'm pursuing next.
Do you have a project in development that will explore those issues?
I do indeed.
What can you say about it?
Not a thing yet.
Is your stint on 'The Young and the Restless' ongoing?
It sure is, pal. In fact, I'm told behind the producers' back that they want to keep me. As long as it can be my day job, I'll stay. Because they offered me a smart, intelligent character, which I don't get offered a lot of. I get offered a lot of psychopaths or a lot of idiots. Which I love playing. They're fun. But it's also fun playing somebody smart. I hope the industry takes the soap's lead, and they cast me as a smart, sane person with great lighting and fantastic clothes. It's fun to look like a movie star on TV. They stop lighting you when you hit your fifties. It's like, "Okay, he's not a lead anymore, f**k it." But on a soap, everybody's pretty and everybody's a leading man and everybody wears great clothes, and that's fun.
The guy that I'm playing on 'The Young and the Restless,' he's an attorney, he's really smart. Some people would view him as a bad guy, other people would view him as a genius. So I love those kind of guys. That's the kind of guy I want to play.
Read more of this conversation with Eric Roberts at Moviefone, where he discusses the surprise success of 'The Expendables,' his dream reunion project with Mickey Rourke, and what's behind his tireless work ethic.
• Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.
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