Things You Might Not Know About ‘Stepmom’

© Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

The comedy-drama Stepmom was such a tearjerker and a huge box office hit when it was released back in 1998. Starring Hollywood actresses Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts, the movie told the story of the relationship between a divorced woman and her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, who have to find a way to accept one another, especially after the mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film continues to be a popular choice among fans nearly 20 years later, so here’s a look at 8 things you probably didn’t know about Stepmom!

8. Casting Characters

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Julia Roberts in the role of Isabel Kelly in Stepmom, but according to IMDB, the role was actually originally written with Molly Ringwald in mind.


7. Cameos

Susan Sarandon’s daughter, Eva Amurri, who’s now a well-known actress, had a small cameo in Stepmom. We wouldn’t have noticed it back then, but she actually played the pilot in the Thanksgiving play! In addition to that cameo, director Chris Columbus’s daughter, Eleanor Columbus, also appeared in the film as the little girl in ballet class. Both roles went uncredited.

© Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

6. Rumored Feud Between Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts

While Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon were filming Stepmom, rumors began to swirl that they didn’t get along on set. They vehemently denied these rumors and even referred to them as “boring.” In a 1998 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sarandon set the record straight when she said, “If you make a movie with a male star everyone assumes you’re f–king. If it’s a female star, everyone assumes you’re fighting.” Nearly 20-years later, Sarandon found out and revealed that the rumors were actually spread by her publicist. The actress tweeted: “Press printed that Julia & I hated each other during Stepmom. Found out it was my PR person creating rumors.”

© Columbia Pictures

5. Julia Wrote the Proposal Scene

The proposal scene between Julia Roberts’ character and Ed Harris’ character, Isabel and Luke, was by far the most romantic scene in the film and widely talked about when the film was released. What people don’t know is that Roberts actually came up with that scene herself and Harris wrote all his lines himself! “It came out of rehearsals and Ed was saying some things that just struck a chord with me, and he was talking about the thread that sometimes holds a relationship together and my wheels started to churn…and I came up with sort of an outline of an idea and gave it to Chris, who – our director – who flushed it out and made it this great scene and Ed is so touching and he’s so brilliant in what he does and he made it. I just had to sit down and look sleepy and try to be cute,” said Julia while on the Oprah Winfrey show.

© Columbia Pictures

4. Sarandon and Roberts are Good Friends

In an interview with Rosie O’Donnell in 1998, Julia Roberts talked about how close she was with Susan Sarandon and how it made it a lot easier while working on the film, especially since Sarandon’s character had to be “particularly nasty” to her in the film. “You have that safety net of you know that you’re not gonna hurt somebody’s feelings, and they’re not going to take it personally…We know each other too well to fall into that trap,” said Roberts.

Columbia Pictures

3. Susan Sarandon Ad-Libbed Some of her Parts

While discussing their friendship on set and how well they worked together, Roberts also revealed that Susan Sarandon actually ad-libbed some of her parts in the film. O’Donnell joked that Sarandon would throw in things like ‘You’re a horrible cook!’ to aggravate Roberts, to which Roberts joked: “Actually a little worse than that! And I say a little less brilliant with the catchy improv you’re throwing in there!”

© Columbia Pictures

2. Tweaked the Script

According to their 1998 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the two Hollywood actresses had been actively seeking a film to work on together when they found Stepmom. Wendy Finerman, the producer of Forrest Gump, had known they wanted to work together, so she went out and found them the Stepmom script, written by Gigi Levangie. Roberts and Sarandon were intrigued by it but knew it needed some work. Sarandon said, “The script had a lot of potential. But…it wasn’t very realistic,” while Roberts thought it was “flawed.” They had three new writers hired who made some revisions and the end result was a Hollywood blockbuster!

© Columbia Pictures

1. Dedicated to Irene Columbus

The main storyline in the film revolves around Susan Sarandon’s character, Jackie, being diagnosed with terminal cancer. As a result, director Chris Columbus dedicated the film to his mother who had passed away from cancer the year before the film came out.

© Columbia Pictures

Katherine G

Katherine G

Katherine is the Managing Editor for Health and Parenting, but she has a soft spot for entertainment. She loves binging shows on Netflix, reality TV is a guilty pleasure, and country music is her go-to playlist. When she's not writing, she's spending time outdoors, especially with her puppy Zoey!