Julia Roberts almost refused her role in Notting Hill because it seemed “awkward” for her to play a famous actress, she has revealed.

The Oscar-winner, 56, spoke about her celebrated part in the hit 1999 romantic comedy about a bookstore owner falling for the world’s biggest film star.

Speaking to Richard Curtis, the film’s writer, for British Vogue, she said: “Honestly, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was your movie, playing a movie actress.

“I was so uncomfortable! I mean, we’ve talked about this so many times, but I almost didn’t take the part because it just seemed – oh, it just seemed so awkward. I didn’t even know how to play that person.”

The American actress, who recently starred in Netflix’s film Leave The World Behind, said she was never “playing herself” in her roles, despite always “looking relatively like myself”.

Roberts discussed her affinity for romantic comedies, having starred in some of the genre’s best-known films such as Pretty Woman (1990), Notting Hill (1999) and My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997).

She said: “Well, I love the genre. I mean, my desert island movie would probably be The Philadelphia Story.

“I also think it’s incredibly tricky. I never realised the windfall of good fortune I had until it was well behind me. Like, to have made Pretty Woman, Notting Hill and My Best Friend’s Wedding. They just don’t come one after another (normally). So I think I got lucky.”

Roberts and Curtis also spoke about changes in the film industry since she started out more than 35 years ago.

She confessed that it “seems more chaotic” now for young people starting out in showbusiness, and added that being in the spotlight “just seems exhausting”.

“It’s completely different,” she admitted, adding: “I don’t know if it’s better, because it’s not my experience, but it just seems very different. And in a way, it seems so cluttered.

“There are so many elements to being famous now, it just seems exhausting.”

“But it seems to me that it was: you meet people, you read for parts, you try to get jobs, you get a job, you try to do a good job, and from that job, you might meet some new people who might suggest you to some other people and then you might get another job and you might get paid a little bit more for that job, and it might be a little bit of a better job.

“It kind of just made this sort of structural sense, and now it just seems more chaotic. There’s more elements, there’s more noise, there’s more outlets, there’s more stuff.”

Roberts won an Oscar in 2001 for playing the titular role in Erin Brockovich, based on the true story of a single mother who became an activist for clean water.