Julia Roberts says she refused to 'shimmy down a well in a micro mini' for 'Erin Brockovich'

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A Look Back at Julia Roberts' Career


Julia Roberts may have won an Oscar for her no-holds-barred leading role in the 2000 biopic, Erin Brockovich, but there was one scene that she flat-out told producers she would not do.

Roberts participated in a New York Times piece that asked 27 people who are considered minorities in the entertainment industry to share "their personal experiences of not feeling seen, heard or accepted." The Times titled the project, "What It's Really Like to Work in Hollywood."

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"I remember my first meeting with the producers on Erin Brockovich, before [director] Steven Soderbergh came on it, and saying, 'This scene where she's shimmying down a well in a micro mini? I can't do that,'" Roberts, 48, recalled. "I didn't feel I was being fully understood."

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Julia Roberts says she refused to 'shimmy down a well in a micro mini' for 'Erin Brockovich'
Betty Lou Bredemus and Julia Roberts during 'Benny & Joon' Los Angeles Premiere in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by S. Granitz/WireImage)
Julia Roberts (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Julia Roberts arrives at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - JULY 01: Julia Roberts and her mother Betty Motes (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Betty Lou Bredemus and Julia Roberts during 'Benny & Joon' Los Angeles Premiere in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by S. Granitz/WireImage)
Julia Roberts (Photo by S. Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 4: Actor Eric Roberts, actress Julia Roberts and their sister Lisa Roberts and actor Jon Voight attend the 'Runaway Train' Premiere Party on December 4, 1985 at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, and Richard Grieco during NATO Showest annual theatre owners convention at Ballys Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 7: Actress Julia Roberts attends the 27th Annual People's Choice Awards on January 7, 2001 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
383845 01: Actors Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts act in a scene in Dream Works Pictures 'The Mexican'. (Photo by Merrick Morton/Dreamworks/Newsmakers)
Actress Julia Roberts, winner 'Best Actress' for 'Erin Brockovich' with Richard LaGravenese & Steven Soderbergh winner 'Best Director', at the National Board of Review awards dinner at Tavern on the Green in New York City. 01/16/2001. Photo: Evan Agostini
UNITED STATES - APRIL 19: Julia Roberts arrives at Cipriani 23rd St. restaurant for an after-party following her Broadway debut in 'Three Days of Rain.' (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
PARIS - MARCH 12: Actor Clive Owen, Actress Julia Roberts and Director Tony Gilroy attend 'Duplicity' Paris Premiere on March 10, 2009 in Paris, France (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
LONDON - MARCH 10: Actress Julia Roberts attends the Duplicity film premiere held at the Empire Leicester Square on March 10, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Jon Furniss/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MARCH 16: Julia Roberts attends the premiere of 'Duplicity' at the Ziegfeld Theater on March 16, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 07: ***EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE*** Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman pose backstage at LAByrinth Theater Company's 6th Annual Gala Benefit at St. Paul The Apostle Church on December 7, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
US cinema actress Julia Roberts arrives on set in the village of Mirzapur, some 60 kms from New Delhi on September 27, 2009. Roberts arrived in India September 18, where she is shooting scenes for her forthcoming film 'Eat, Pray, Love'. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 08: Actress Julia Roberts and Emma Roberts attends the 'Valentine's Day' Los Angeles Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on February 8, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
CANCUN, MEXICO - JUNE 29: Julia Roberts poses for a photo during a portrait session at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Cancun, Mexico on June 29, 2010. (Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images) Reproduction by American tabloids is absolutely forbidden.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 17: Actress Julia Roberts arrives at the 10th Annual GLSEN Respect Awards at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel on October 17, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
Actress Julia Roberts arrives for the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, January 25, 2015 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Actress Julia Roberts attends the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 25, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Several other stars also revealed their fears and struggles in Hollywood. "When you're a minority, and it's the first time you've done something, you're like, this could all be taken away from me," actress and writer, Mindy Kaling, explained.

SEE MORE: 8 Actresses Who Were Told They Weren't Pretty Enough for Hollywood

Ugly Betty star, America Ferrera, had a similar sentiment. "I remember feeling powerless," the 31-year-old actress said. "What do you do when someone says, 'Your color skin is not what we're looking for?'"

Jimmy Smits also revealed the hurdles he's gone through as an actor. "I've been told that I wasn't Latin enough," Smits said, "which was code for street enough."

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Queen Latifah and Eva Longoria also shared their stories. "I felt I represented a woman out there who should get to see somebody who weighs about as much as she does," Latifah said of her role in the entertainment industry.

Longoria admitted that she still sometimes feels like she's not taken seriously. "As a director, I definitely feel the boys' club," Longoria explained. "There's still that, 'She can't possibly know what she's talking about.'"

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The Times' piece comes days ahead of the controversial Academy Awards. Several stars are boycotting Sunday's Oscars given the fact that all the nominees in the acting categories are white.

Kerry Washington has decided not to participate in the boycott, but told ET that she's happy that diversity in Hollywood is now a topic of conversation. "What's great about what is happening this year with the Oscars is it's giving us an opportunity to talk about these things in a way that's a little bit more honest than we've talked about them in the past, so great!" she said.

The Scandal star is scheduled to present at the awards show.

EXCLUSIVE: Kerry Washington Supports Oscars Boycott: 'It's Giving Us an Opportunity to Talk'

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