Julia Roberts and her familiar big smile has become a bigger part of Chopard’s imagery and marketing.
The deepening collaboration between the Hollywood star and the Swiss luxury jeweler and watchmaker becomes evident Monday when Chopard unveils a spirited campaign directed by James Gray.
Dubbed “Chopard Loves Cinema,” the campaign consists of 12 video clips that will be released over the coming months. They capture the audacity and playfulness of the famed actress as she frolics behind the scenes of a make-believe movie set. The 15- to 30-second videos provide glimpses into a vast San Francisco building filled with studios bustling with crew members, props and meticulous logistics.
Roberts also appears in black-and-white still shots by photographer Alasdair McLellan, furthering the campaign. McLellan is known for his work in fashion as well as portraits, landscapes and documentaries.
Chopard picked Monday to launch the campaign since March 20 happens to be the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness. “To me, every day is International Happiness Day,” said Roberts, who has been the muse of some of Chopard’s collections since 2021, and now for all of them.
“With Chopard serving as the official partner of the Cannes Film Festival for the past 26 years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the films of directors from all over the world and as an ardent cinema-lover, I am always excited by the premiere of a James Gray movie,” Caroline Scheufele, Chopard’s copresident and artistic director, told WWD. “He is such a sensitive and masterful storyteller, and captures the special, fleeting moments of humanity with grace and subtlety. He is the perfect fit for our candid mini-episodes revolving around Julia Roberts and our creations.”
Though Gray and Roberts never worked on a movie together, Scheufele said the two are friends. “That adds an extra sparkle as the scenes appear so spontaneous and heartfelt — we really wanted to express the authentic joie de vivre that Julia so easily and charmingly embodies.”
Scheufele, a member of the family that owns and runs Chopard, said she draws inspiration from movies for her jewelry designs. She told WWD she was first mesmerized by Roberts’ distinctive smile in “Pretty Woman” and was also impressed by her performance in “Erin Brockovich,” for which she won the Best Actress in a Leading Role Oscar in 2001.
The new campaign, said Scheufele, “broadens the spectrum of the initial momentum” of the Happy Diamonds campaign with Roberts, which was directed by Xavier Dolan in 2021 when the actress became the official “ambassadress” for Chopard. “We are revealing a new facet of our identity, the feel-good vibe: the self-confidence instilled by Chopard jewelry and watches, reverberating in the air…with positive energy.”
The videos show Roberts in action, joking around off-camera. She knits, finds something nice to say about everyone, slips into trainers under her glamorous dresses, takes over the camera herself and interrupts her script rehearsal to cuddle her dog Myrtle, a mixed breed that jumps on her lap.
In one sense, the partnership between Roberts and the 162-year-old Swiss luxury jewelry and watchmaker is surprising. She doesn’t readily endorse products. In another sense, it’s not surprising since she’s known to wear Chopard on red carpet appearances.
The making of the videos reminded Roberts of her best memory at the Cannes Film Festival, with Chopard, in 2016: “The first time I was there, I was running late and racing down the hallway. Somebody was still sewing me into my dress, so we were all running down the hallway to the elevator and somebody was sewing away. And I just thought, it’s so classic. It was a Cannes-do moment.”
“Julia Roberts is that rare thing: a genuine movie star,” Gray said in a statement. “She also happens to be a person with a tremendous sense of humor about it all, and somehow, she hasn’t let her legendary status go to her head.…We are pals, with a real respect and affection for each other. I always consider my day made if I’ve made her smile.”
Winner of several international awards, Gray has had five films selected for the official competition at the Cannes Film Festival over the years. “Little Odessa,” set in Brooklyn, New York, was his first feature film. It became a cult favorite. Among his other films, “The Immigrant” in 2013, as well as the most recent “Armageddon Time” last year were presented at the festival.
McLellan embraces a blend of classical and pop-style references creating a dialogue between genres and identities. “It’s hard to describe working with Julia without sounding incredibly clichéd, but she really was everything I could’ve hoped she’d be,” McLellan said. “Editing the shoot was surprisingly difficult, as she looked great in every frame, and it was easy to imagine every image on a billboard.”
Greg Williams shot the videos. A former photojournalist, Williams has made a name for himself in the film industry thanks to the candor emanating from his portraits of stars. “I’m quite often looking for joy and I try to create a joyful experience,” Williams said. “Working closely with Julia on this campaign was in many ways the perfect assignment because she is such a joyful person.”
Chopard, founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard, has developed a reputation for sustainable luxury and says it has been using 100 percent ethical gold in the production of all its gold creations since 2018.