Hollywood actress Julia Roberts prefers to work as part of an ensemble cast, because she feels less pressure for the movie to perform well at the box office.

The OSCAR-winning actress has appeared in a string of films filled with big-name casts - including OCEAN'S 11, AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS and her latest effort MONA LISA SMILE - since she last headlined with 2000's ERIN BROCKOVICH.

And Julia puts her love of ensemble casts down to enjoyment, and less work.

The 36-year-old says, "It's just more fun, I think. It's more fun and less work. These are the things I strive for in life.

"But it's really quite selfish, because their genius makes me look like a genius, so it's not like I'm really giving back."

But the trial of working with younger actresses including Julia Stiles, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Kirsten Dunst on Mona Lisa seems to have taken its toll on Julia's public persona.

She says, "This is what I got asked yesterday: `What was it like working with all these young, beautiful girls and having to get up every day and look at yourself in the mirror? Does that make you consider plastic surgery?'

"I was just so insulted. She was not having her best day either, let me tell you. I get asked a lot of insulting questions. I think they're just thoughtless."

18/12/2003 20:58