Amherst Magazine

Julie & Julia

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Amy Adams as Amherst's own Julie Powell

Written for the screen and directed by Nora Ephron, based on books by Julie Powell ’95 and Julia Child (Columbia Pictures)

Article by Emily Gold Boutilier

“I’m a Nora Ephron movie!” Julie Powell ’95 announced in a blog post last April. The movie is Julie & Julia, which opened on Aug. 7, 2009, and is based in part on Powell’s best-selling book of the same title. The 2005 book documents Powell’s self-imposed challenge to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year, in her tiny apartment kitchen. (The first meal: pan-broiled steak, rice and whole boiled artichokes with lemon butter.) The book grew out of Powell’s wildly popular blog on Salon.com, The Julie/Julia Project.

The movie—tagline: “Passion. Am­bition. Butter. Do You Have What It Takes?”—weaves together Powell’s story with the memoir My Life in France, which Child wrote with Alex Prud’homme. My Life in France is about the early years of Child’s career.

The film stars Meryl Streep as Child and Amy Adams as Powell, a frustrated cubicle worker. “I am risking my well-
being for a deranged assignment,” Adams’ character says in the movie, adding, “Oh, Julia, you make it sound
so simple.”

Powell did a Blog Talk Radio interview with Adam Roberts in June at www.amateurgourmet.com. She told him that it was surreal to see paparazzi shots of Adams dressed in character. “They filmed one scene literally in view of my new apartment,” Powell said.

Powell’s second book, Cleaving: A Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession, will be published by Little, Brown later this year. Cleaving  is about Powell’s year spent learning to be a butcher.