Jacobson’s team sent Hedges’ script to Oscar winner Julia Roberts to gauge her interest in the role of Holly. Roberts responded immediately to the material. "The story was very touching," says the actress.
Later, Roberts took time out of a family vacation to meet with Hedges at her home in Malibu. "We had a great meeting," says the Brooklyn-based filmmaker. "Julia really connected with Holly as this mother who will not give up on her child no matter what. But it’s a big deal for Julia to be away from her kids, so she wanted to discuss the movie with her family before making a
Hedges received a text from Roberts saying she had accepted the role. He says, "My heart was pounding I was so excited," Hedges recalls. "First of all, Julia Roberts has been my favorite movie star for my entire adult life. She’s incredibly smart and passionate, and as I would learn later, she’s also the most prepared actor I’ve ever worked with. One of my hopes is that this film reaches as many people as possible, and Julia Roberts is an actor whom so many people root for. And this part gives her an opportunity to go places emotionally, physically and dramatically as she tries to save her son. So it was an amazing day when she said yes."
Nineteen-year-old Ben Burns unexpectedly returns to his family's suburban home on Christmas Eve. Ben's mom, Holly, is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son's drug addiction. Over a turbulent 24 hours, new truths are revealed, and a mother's undying love gets put to the test as Holly does everything in her power to keep Ben clean.
BEN IS BACK is written and directed by Peter Hedges. The film also stars Lucan Hedges, Courtney B. Vance and Kathryn Newton apart from Julia Roberts. The film will be released in India by PVR Pictures on December 14th, 2018.