Julia Roberts may finally be making her pivot from big-budget films to prestige TV, but there’s one series she wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole, no matter how many of her friends and family members are involved. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Roberts explained why you’ll never see her reuniting with frequent collaborator and close friend Ryan Murphy or costarring with niece Emma Roberts on any season of American Horror Story, let alone actually watching the show.
“You know everybody divides the world into two groups? My two groups are people that like to be scared and people who don’t like to be scared. The first season of American Horror Story came out and the way that I took my kids to school then, there was a traffic light that I always hit red and there was a poster for American Horror Story right at that traffic light. I called Ryan and I said, ‘I’m just going to tell you right now—I don’t think I can watch your show. I can’t support you. I don’t think I can do it.’ He goes, ‘Lady, you won’t get through the commercial,'” she told EW of her Eat Pray Love director. “OK, that’s a good friend, someone who really knows me. And so, of course, I would never watch that.”
She added, “And then Emma’s on it, and I say, ‘Emma, sweetheart, I don’t think I can watch this show that you’re in.’ And she goes, ‘Auntie, I was in this toy box at the end of this bed and they pulled my arm off.’ I go, ‘OK. You just have to stop talking. I can’t handle it.’ So that is off the table for me. I don’t watch things like that.”
Roberts, it seems, prefers to manipulate viewers’ emotions in other, less gory ways. In the recently released trailer for her aforementioned foray into television, Amazon’s upcoming Homecoming, Roberts’s character appears to approach the edge of a mental breakdown, becoming increasingly paranoid as she uncovers the truth about the military reintegration facility where she works. And later this year, she’ll star in Ben Is Back, which, judging by its trailer, is a heart-wrenching drama about a mother (Roberts) reuniting with a son (Lucas Hedges) who’s fresh off a stint in rehab. Neither of those may carry the physical pain of getting one’s arm torn clean off, but they’ll probably leave viewers preferring that to the inevitable mental anguish prompted by both of Roberts’s next projects.
Related: The Best of Julia Roberts in W Magazine