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The Devoted Husbands of Julie and Julia

Integral to the story of Columbia Pictures’ new life-affirming comedy “Julie & Julia” is the support Julia Child and Julie Powell received from their husbands. “It’s about partnerships and how you can support each other in good times and bad,” says Meryl Streep. Playing the men behind their wives’ success are Stanley Tucci (“The Devil Wears Prada”) who portrays Paul Child, and Chris Messina (TV’s “Six Feet Under”) as Eric Powell.

“Julie & Julia” seamlessly melds the two remarkable true stories of Julia Child, the woman who forever changed the way America cooks, 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.

Streep suggested to director Nora Ephron her “The Devil Wears Prada” co-star Stanley Tucci play the part of her onscreen husband Paul Child, the man who opened Julia’s eyes to the world of art, food and travel, nurtured her through the writing of her book, and ultimately cherished her rising popularity.

“Paul Child was this sort of Renaissance guy,” says Tucci, “and he was self-taught. He never went to college. But he was a voracious reader and he was self-educated. He was ten years older than Julia, and he encouraged her. Julia came from this sort of rarefied, upper-class background—she grew up in Pasadena and she didn’t know a lot about the world. Paul ended up sort of taking her under his wing and teaching her a great deal. Early on, Julia didn’t really know what she wanted to do, and, of course, many women weren’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.”

As for who should play Julie Powell’s supportive husband Eric, an archaeology magazine editor who becomes his wife’s primary taster on her epic kitchen journey, Ephron chose Chris Messina, who indelibly portrayed Lauren Ambrose’s last boyfriend during the final season of the acclaimed HBO series “Six Feet Under.”

“Eric helps Julie find direction by listening and really being in tune to what she needs,” says Messina . “When she starts talking about Julia Child and cooking, it’s the first time you see her character almost at peace. He picks up on that and starts improvising with her, on how they can make the project a reality.”

Then there was the little matter of eating. The character of Eric Powell spends much of his screen time gorging on the French recipes Julie cooks up for him. The film needed someone who enjoyed eating, knew how to convey to audiences the pleasure of eating, could talk and eat at the same time the way people do in real life, and on top 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 to say, but Mr. Messina is a brilliant eater,” says Amy Adams. “I don’t know 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. Nora yelled from the other room, ‘Robert De Niro would do it!’ – and that got me back in there and focused for another seven lobsters.”

Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 14, “Julie & Julia” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.sonypictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.

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