Julia Roberts Disagreed With 1 Scene Decision In Netflix's Leave the World Behind

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
Julia Roberts In Netflix's Leave the World Behind

Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts had one problem with a scene in her new Netflix movie Leave the World Behind.

Roberts teamed with Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali and Oscar-nominee Ethan Hawke for Leave the World Behind, an apocalyptic psychological thriller exploring the gradual breakdown of technology. 

Julia Roberts Requested a Change for Leave the World Behind Scene

Speaking in an interview with MTV, Julia Roberts revealed her one issue with the dancing scene in her new Netflix movie Leave the World Behind, to which director Sam Esmail responded by justifying the decision.

The scene in question refers to the moment in which Julia Roberts and Mahershala Ali's characters dance to "Too Close" by R&B group Next. 

Leave the World Behind Dancing Scene

Roberts revealed her one issue with the scene, despite agreeing with director Sam Esmail on "almost everything," was the choice of song - so much so she "asked him to change it so many times:"

"Sam and I are very good friends, and we agree on almost everything, except that song, and I asked him to change it so many times. No offense to the talented blokes, but I asked him so many times because I was so embarrassed at the beginning of that song and Mahershala Ali is standing there, all eight-and-a-half feet tall of him."

The 56-year-old star added how even getting up to the point of release the director continued to justify the song because "being uncomfortable [was] the right thing" for that scene:

"But even just this morning, Sam explained yet again why he picked that song, and he's completely right because being uncomfortable is the right thing, and just that song being kind of known but not really popularized, and he just has an answer for everything. But it was very funny to have to portray Amanda in that scenario of my boogie."

Esmail explained how he felt the scene had to be "very grounded and very silly," and the song choice allowed the pair to "cut loose:"

"You know, that moment in the film needed to feel very grounded and very silly, and I felt that the song kind of allowed those two characters to cut loose in a way that maybe a more familiar or popular song wouldn't have. And come on, their dance moves just really complimented the lyrics."

During another interview with Access Hollywood, Roberts noted how Esmail was eager to help the process behind the "really complex" scene by giving the stars some control over the placement of key elements:

"It was great. I mean it was a really complicated scene and what I appreciate about Sam is that he can almost see before I've seen down the line that this is going to be really complex.' So he will take us into that space, as soon as they had that set built he took us in there and sat us down and was like, 'Where do you want to be? Where is the dancing? Where is the record player?'"

Co-star Mahershala Ali interjected to add how he was "surprised too" in the say they were given in working out the scene: 

"I was surprised too because you don't always work things out like that. I was like, 'Oh wow, we're really working this moment."

The Oscar-winning actress also noted that by the time the dancing scene came around, the cast and crew had "already excavated these characters:"

"Well I think he anticipated once we got to this point in the movie all that we would have already excavated these characters and that suddenly it's not just a dance scene so it was good to have had that time and also then to get over the people jitters of, 'Ha ha, here I am dancing in front of all my friends."

Leave the World Behind is streaming now on Netflix.

- In This Article: Leave the World Behind
Release Date
December 08, 2023
Julia Roberts
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.