Julia Roberts Is The Center Of A Secret Sci-Fi Cinematic Universe

By Douglas Helm | Published

There are a lot of cinematic universes out there, but what about a Julia Roberts cinematic universe? Well, director and writer Sam Esmail seems to be gradually building this reality, as he admitted that Roberts’ characters in his projects could all live in the same world. Esmail and Roberts have now worked together three times in the past five years, with the latest being the upcoming Netflix film Leave the World Behind.

Julia Roberts In Sam Esmail’s Movies

The so-called Julia Roberts cinematic universe began with Sam Esmail’s 2018 thriller series Homecoming and then continued in 2022 with the political miniseries Gaslit. When asked about the fact that Roberts is becoming a bit of an Easter Egg in Esmail’s projects, Roberts humorously acknowledged the fact, saying, “Yeah, I’ll be the egg,” adding, “I’ll just keep showing up.” In the same interview with EW, Esmail expressed his admiration for Roberts’ talents and that he’s well aware of her recurring presence in his projects.

The Friends Connection

Specifically, Esmail acknowledged his awareness of the Julia Roberts cinematic universe when the subject of Roberts’ onscreen daughter in Leave the World Behind came up. In the film, her onscreen daughter is obsessed with the show Friends, which Roberts has starred in before. While Roberts herself didn’t think of the connection, Esmail did, saying, “I think in the universe of the movie, Amanda is a real person,” adding, “Julia Roberts is not playing her, so Julia Roberts also exists [in this universe].”

He also joked that there might be a resemblance between Roberts’ character Amanda and Julia Roberts in the universe of Leave the World Behind. It’s, funnily enough, not even the first time that this joke has been made on-screen. Roberts was in the Oceans franchise, where she played a Julia Roberts lookalike, so it’s certainly not the first time that Roberts has been a part of this kind of meta joke.

Characters Co-Exist In One Universe?

Sam Esmail was also happy to feed into the idea of a Julia Roberts cinematic universe when asked about it, as he also added, “By the way, I think [Homecoming’s] Heidi Bergman exists in this universe.” Could there be a chance that these characters ever cross paths in one of Esmail’s projects in the future. To that idea, both Roberts and Esmail remained coy, with Roberts joking, “We are unable to reveal any of those eggs at this time.”

Leave The World Behind Is Now Streaming On Netflix

In the meantime, you can check out Julia Roberts and Sam Esmail’s growing cinematic universe on Netflix tomorrow with Leave the World Behind. Leave the World Behind is adapted from the Rumaan Alam novel of the same name and is a disaster film that follows a family (Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Charlie Evans, Farrah Mackenzie) who rent a luxurious home for their vacation. However, the vacation takes an ominous turn when two strangers (Mahershala Ali, Myha’la Herrold) appear, claiming to be the owners of the home.

The New Julia Roberts Thriller Is Already Receiving Rave Reviews

To add to the tension, something causes the wifi and phone lines to be wiped out, leaving the uneasy group stuck together. Leave the World Behind is getting good reviews, so it should be the perfect film to check out this weekend. Make sure to check out Julia Roberts’ latest entry to her cinematic universe tomorrow.