Integralto the story of Columbia Pictures' new life-affirming comedy Julie& Julia is the support Julia Child and Julie Powell received fromtheir husbands. "It's about partnerships and how you can support eachother in good times and bad," says Meryl Streep. Playingthe men behind their wives' success are Stanley Tucci (The Devil WearsPrada) who portrays Paul Child, and Chris Messina (TV's Six FeetUnder) as Eric Powell.
Julie& Julia seamlessly melds the two remarkable true stories of JuliaChild, the woman who forever changed the way America cooks, and pioneerfood blogger Julie Powell (who conquered every recipe in Child'scookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking") into a comedy thatproves that if you have the right combination of passion, obsession,and butter, you can change your life and achieve your dreams.
Streepsuggested to director Nora Ephron her The Devil Wears Prada co-starStanley Tucci play the part of her onscreen husband Paul Child, the manwho opened Julia's eyes to the world of art, food and travel, nurturedher through the writing of her book, and ultimately cherished herrising popularity.
"Paul Child was this sort of Renaissance guy," says Tucci, "and he was self-taught. He never went to college. Buthe was a voracious reader and he was self-educated. He was ten yearsolder than Julia, and he encouraged her. Julia came from this sort ofrarefied, upper-class background—she grew up in Pasadena and she didn'tknow a lot about the world. Paul ended up sort of takingher under his wing and teaching her a great deal. Early on, Juliadidn't really know what she wanted to do, and, of course, many womenweren't supposed to do anything at that time. They were supposed to get married to a nice guy and have babies. But Paul and Julia didn't have babies. They couldn't have babies. So Julia wanted to do something, she settled on cooking and he encouraged her—always encouraged her. He adored her and she adored him."
Asfor who should play Julie Powell's supportive husband Eric, anarchaeology magazine editor who becomes his wife's primary taster onher epic kitchen journey, Ephron chose Chris Messina, who indeliblyportrayed Lauren Ambrose's last boyfriend during the final season ofthe acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under.
"Erichelps Julie find direction by listening and really being in tune towhat she needs," says Messina. "When she starts talking about JuliaChild and cooking, it's the first time you see her character almost atpeace. He picks up on that and starts improvising with her, on how theycan make the project a reality."
Thenthere was the little matter of eating. The character of Eric Powellspends much of his screen time gorging on the French recipes Juliecooks up for him. The film needed someone who enjoyedeating, knew how to convey to audiences the pleasure of eating, couldtalk and eat at the same time the way people do in real life, and ontop of that simply look good chewing a mouthful of Lobster Thermidor.Messina brought all of this to the job. "I know that sounds so crazy tosay, but Mr. Messina is a brilliant eater," says Amy Adams. "I don'tknow how he does it. He eats like a man, yet he doesn't make it look grotesque. It's a talent."
"After a day of lots of eating, I started to complain. Norayelled from the other room, ‘Robert De Niro would do it!'—and thatgot me back in there and focused for another seven lobsters."
Openingacross the Philippines on October 14, Julie & Julia is distributedby Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures ReleasingInternational.