The race for Best Actress just got a little more crowded. The latest trailer for Ben Is Back proves that Julia Roberts is in it to win as a mother desperate to keep her son safe as he struggles with drug addiction.
Writer and director Peter Hedges cast his own son, Lady Bird's Lucas Hedges, as 19-year-old Ben Burns, who unexpectedly turns up at home on Christmas Eve after a stint in rehab. Though his mom, Holly (Roberts), is initially pleased to see him (Roberts' blesses him that big, toothy Julia Roberts smile), she remains cautiously optimistic. As her new husband (Courtney B. Vance) quickly reminds her, they've been down this road before.
And as it turns out, she was right to worry. Over the next 24 hours, it soon becomes clear that Ben hasn't quite left his old life behind, and that Holly is going to have to fight like hell to help him get out for good.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Dad Hedges was initially uncertain that Son Hedges would want to be in the film, but that news of Roberts' casting changed the game. (My, my, how could you resist her?) But the film was a double family reunion for Hedges, who also stars alongside Kathryn Newton, who played his sister in Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri and a classmate in Lady Bird.
And speaking of families — in an interview with Oprah for Harper's Bazaar, Roberts said that Newton and Hedges spent some time bonding with her real-life children, after her son pointed out that she often plays mothers in movies.
"I felt that it was important for my kids to know who I was going off with, pretending to be their mother," she said. "My son Henry had said to me, 'Mom, why in movies when you play somebody’s mom, why is it always a boy?' And I said, 'Wow, I don’t know. You know what? We’re going to have Lucas come over and you guys are going to meet him.' So Lucas came over, as did beautiful Kathryn Newton, who plays my older daughter. I would just send them down to the beach with my kids. 'Go for a swim, and I’ll see you guys in an hour and I’ll have lunch ready.'"
A fierce mom, on and offscreen.
Ben Is Back hits theaters December 7, right on time for Oscar season. Watch the full trailer, below.