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JULIE & JULIA

Casting The Right Ingredients
"Both stories were going to be about marriage and food, two things that certainly go together in most people's lives,” says Ephron. "When you're in the romantic comedy business, the movie ends when people say ‘Will you marry me?' It's very rare to find something about what happens next, where you've got two equally smart people in a relationship who adore each other. It's one of the reasons I think Meryl was completely drawn to the movie.” It's no surprise that the Academy Award®-winning Streep was the logical choice to play Julia Child. Ephron 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. 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 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 – most famously by Dan Aykroyd on "Saturday Night Live” – 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.” "Meryl Streep made it possible to make this movie,” says Mark. "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.” When it came to casting Julie Powell, Ephron wanted an actress who could embody a young woman's insecurities and emotional blow-ups. She knew Amy Adams was up to the task, but she also met another major requirement for the writer/director. "Among the many things I liked about her was that I believed that she was smart enough to be a writer,” says Ephron. "And she's funny.” Adams found plenty in the character of Julie Powell that spoke to her. 

"It's right after 9/11, she's turning thirty, and she's confused in her life,” Adams explains. "She's really come to a crossroads, and she's trying to make decisions. That was something I was very familiar with, and I don't think it's reflected very often in films in an honest way. For a more modern woman, there are some very all-encompassing questions, and I thought this character really embodied that journey and that confusio

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