Ryan Murphy has been having quite a year. First, his latest TV creation, Glee, has become a runaway success, spawning soundtrack albums, a tour and 19 Emmy nominations. And now he’s bringing his second feature film to theatres, an adaptation of the bestseller Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts.
Metro caught up Murphy in Napa Valley to discuss his working with Julia, his connection to the book and how he feels about causing breakups.
You and Julia have a great rapport. How did that relationship develop?
You know, from the moment we met, it was kind of like we just riffed. She makes me laugh and I can make her laugh. I’ve never had that with another actor like I’ve had that with her.
And also, I went into the process being a big fan.
Like, I was the first in line to see Sleeping with the Enemy. So I think that she felt, rightly so, that I loved her and would protect her and was invested in her being a success. She’s sort of like the sister I always wanted but never had. I have one brother. I always wanted a sister, and lo and behold, I got Julia Roberts. Not a bad gig.
Are you worried the movie is going to break up a lot of couples?
Well, there’s two women in my life who got divorced because of the book. I think that the power of the book, and I hope the movie, is that it says to people — particularly, I think, women and gay men — if you’re not happy, change.
Be brave enough to walk away from what other people tell you you should be. I hope that it doesn’t cause divorces so much as that it launches a discussion of, ‘OK, why do you feel you’re stuck?’ Because, you know, not everybody can take a year off of their life and travel all the way around the world and find themselves.
And I don’t think you need to do that to find yourself. I think you can find yourself by maybe reading the book or seeing the movie and just asking yourself the question, ‘Am I happy? If I’m not, how can I become more happy?’ I think most people don’t do that.
Did you have a personal relationship to the book before filming?
Oh my God, yeah. I think things come to you for a reason. I went through a bad breakup, and literally, I walked into a bookstore and it was literally being unpacked. I read it as a fan, I really deeply related to it, I felt in my life I wanted to learn those things, and I did. And when I did that is when my world opened up. I’ve had such a great six months.