In 2002, Julie Powell was a secretary who blogged on the side. Now, she's a bestselling author whose first book, Julie and Julia — a former Buzz Book Club pick — has been adapted into a film starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. Along the way, she's stirred up some controversy (including having her dedication to cooking questioned), and so when she stopped in San Francisco earlier this week, I was curious to chat with her about the book, the movie, and what comes next. Here are highlights from our chat:
So who feeds you better: book tour or movie tour?
Movie tour! Well, yes and no. The thing with the movie tour is, it's so fast. Everywhere I go, I have someone always ask, "Where are you going to go when you're in [whatever city]?" I'm always like, "Room service." The movie tour puts you up better, but the book tour gives you more time so you can actually go to a restaurant.
We all play those games where we think about who would play us in movies of our lives. Who were those people for you? Did you ever think Amy Adams?
One of my good friends from [Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, her former employer], he — I don't know what the event was that made him do this, but he was talking about "LMDC: The Movie," and he got everybody and he would put their face beside who he decided he wanted to cast . . . and he had me as Kate Winslet. And I thought, you know, that works. She looks like she can curse like a sailor. She looks like she could eat a good meal. When they proposed Amy, it took me a moment, because she's just so tiny! She's this teeny tiny little thing! . . . But she's such a wonderful actress, and I've been a big fan since Junebug. I think she's just lovely.
How involved were you in the process of making the movie?
Not terribly. When Nora [Ephron] first came on and started working on the script, we met a couple of times. We met for lunch, and she had printed out the entire blog on pink paper — a very Nora touch — and it had the whole thing just marked all to hell, and she went through and she would ask, "This, this here? This didn't happen, did it? This is bullsh*t, right?" She's this incredibly smart, incisive, terrifying woman, totally unlike me, and she asked me all sorts of questions and she took that information, and a lot of the details that are in that movie, I'm sort of shocked that she remembered. . . . I visited the set once, when Meryl was shooting the Paris parts, and got to talk with her for two minutes, which was lovely. But . . . Chris [Messina, who plays Julie's husband] and Amy and Nora got together and said, "Let's wait to meet until we've got it in the can." . . . So they were able to develop the characters based on the script, which is fiction. And it's not me. So, you know, putting the real me in there would just be like there's some weird, faulty 3-D thing going on.
To find out how Meryl Streep's Julia Child matches the Julia in Julie's head and hear about some scenes she wishes had been included in the film, just read more