It's no surprise that the Academy Award®-winning Meryl Streep was the logical choice to play Julia Child, the woman who forever changed the way America cooks, in Columbia Pictures' life-affirming comedy Julie & Julia.
Director Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle) was inspired to cast Streep after running into the actress at a Shakespeare in the Park performance. Streep asked what Ephron was working on, Ephron replied, and Streep immediately went into her Child impression: "Bon Appétit!" Before it even began, the casting search was over.
In Julie & Julia, Ephron seamlessly melds the two remarkable true stories of Julia Child and pioneer food blogger Julie Powell (who conquered every recipe in Child's cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking") into a comedy that proves that if you have the right combination of passion, obsession, and butter, you can change your life and achieve your dreams.
After she was sent the script, Streep read it and says she called Ephron immediately. "I thought it was absolutely beautiful," Streep recalls. "It made me cry, the idea that what you put in front of your family, that love, those connections between people, are the real important things." As for who she was being asked to play, what galvanized the accomplished actress was Julia Child's approach to life. "Her approach to her day was one of energy and appetite and a blanket determination not to let troubles get you down. It's a great quality and she really had it."
"When we first meet her, she and her husband Paul are living in Paris where they've been posted after the Second World War, trying to promote all good things American since he worked for the diplomatic corps," says Streep. "She was very bright, but the expectations for women at that point were not necessarily to have a career and find their life's work. But Julia was someone who had a relentless appetite and curiosity for all sorts of things, and the food that was made in American kitchens was not that inspired. She was always sort of a gourmand, but when they went to Paris they discovered food as an art form—not merely something we need for nourishment. So she went to the Cordon Bleu [cooking school] and learned cooking from the ground up, just took to it with relentless curiosity and invention."
Julia Child was famous, and because of her height (6'2") and odd, high-pitched voice, she was a subject often impersonated—but Streep found a way to avoid caricature in her portrayal. "My out is that I'm not really ‘doing' Julia Child, I'm Julie Powell's idea of who she was," says Streep. "So while I felt a responsibility to her memory and the legacy of the great work she did, and to the essence of her character, I didn't feel I was replicating her."
Producer Lawrence Mark says of the lead character, "Meryl Streep made it possible to make this movie. She has an uncanny ability to suggest Julia Child and to imbue the character with the spirit of Julia Child, but it's not any sort of impersonation. It's a beautiful, beautiful portrayal."
Opening soon across the Philippines, Julie & Julia is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.