Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 314 - Director's Commentary Commentary (pt. 5)

Day 314.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but we're running out of time (to finish the L/J&J Project's Director's Commentary Commentary Series)! For those of you who don't remember, I've been watching Julie & Julia with Nora Ephron's rambling director's commentary and recording my thoughts on every one of her thoughts. Parts one, two, three and four were sort of fun I guess, so here's part five.


Nora Ephron's Director's Commentary in bold.  
My Director's Commentary Commentary in italics.

The food in the movie was made by a brilliant, uh, food person—I don’t even know what to call her. She’s a cookbook author and a food stylist and… she worked for Martha Stewart so I know she’d be able to work for me. Her name is Susan Spungen. And, she is brilliant and she cooked all of our soufflés and… lobsters and…. everything else in a way that I think makes you look as if you could cook them. 

A "food person?" Really, Nora? Could you really not think of another word for "food person?" I don't know, maybe like, "chef?" Or "culinary artiste?" And all this constant name-dropping. "She worked for Martha Stewart so I know she'd be able to work for me." What does that even mean? Is that a dig at Martha Stewart? Or is she saying that only people good enough to work for Martha are good enough to work for her? And that last sentence--complete and utter nonsense! Oh, Nora! What are we going to do with you?

The idea to use the talking heads song psycho killer came out of an improv, in rehearsal—it was Chris Messina who, who began singing that song and, and it was something that we knew when we shot the movie that we were gonna use… if we could afford it. And uh… 

I actually like that "lobster killer" bit. But now that I know it came from Chris "Not Mark Ruffalo" Messina, I guess I'm going to have to hate it now. Curse you, NMR!!!

Amy Adams has not eaten lobster since… since this scene. I think it was the first time she ever cooked one. Not that they were cooked, of course, on camera.

Hah. I like that this movie had some kind of traumatic impact on Amy Adams. Because it's certainly had some kind of traumatic impact on me. Also, NO LOBSTERS WERE COOKED ON THE SET OF JULIE & JULIA?!?! THIS IS A FARCE, I SAY. A FARCE!

Julie of course, is dressed as Julia Child here, wearing her poppet pearls… and the emblem of the cooking school that Julia started with her friends Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, whom she started… école trois gourmandes, the school of the three gourmandes—the three big eaters. And umm, those are made of paper of course. 

Of course. Poppet pearls. Of course. Trois Gourmandes. Of course. The three big eaters. Of course. Paper. OF COURSE.

Julia always wore that badge, when she was teaching... in Paris and then when she did the French Chef on television, the famous television show, she, she wore it forever… even though, at least one of the gourmandes was pretty much history in her life.

Pretty much.

Those cooking of those lobsters was a kind of a turning point for Julie Powell’s blog. It got a huge amount of attention and a lot of comments and sort of launched her from an obscure blogger into a… into one that really began to have quite a following.

That's actually kind of weird. Because my lobster post was the big turning point for this blog... launched me from an obscure blogger into a slightly less obscure blogger. Chalk that up to another eerie coincidence between the Julie/Julie Project and the Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project. That, along with the fact that I have slowly transformed into an unpleasant middle-aged woman who eats too much.

Chris Messina actually ate 35 Tums the day we shot that scene and ended up sick to his stomach.

Haha, fuck you, Not Mark Ruffalo. That's hilarious. In actuality though, wouldn't it have been easier if they just made him eat like, placebos or something? Or like Flintstones chewable vitamins--those look like Tums. I'm pretty sure force-feeding your actors heartburn relief medicine might violate some sort of SAG policy.

That’s Linda Emond, who is a wonderful New York actress, whom I’ve wanted to work for… for years…. And, she plays Simone Beck.

I don't think that's the proper useage of "whom."

And this is Helen Carey, who plays Louisette Bertholle. They’re just lovely actresses. They look a little bit like the real people they’re based on.

That's nice. That people in historical biopics look a little bit like the real people they're based on. I supposed it doesn't really matter for these gals, though. No one knows what the fuck a Simone Beck or Louisette Bertholle looks like.

 I told them all that this was a scene about lipstick.


One of the things that was most important to Meryl doing this movie was that she be 6’ 2”. Meryl is in fact, 5’ 6”. Julia child was 6'2” and all the effects guys will tell you that it can’t be done. You cant make a shorter person into a much taller person, but Meryl and Ann Roth were determined that they do this and it was very… much central to how she saw Julia Child... that, that she thought that being 6’ 2” especially then, especially in a place like France was the main fact and how would you do that? And how would you find that person and know what it felt like to be that person who, who managed to get people who were instantly struck by her almost freakish height in that period to instantly relax about it and love her.

Oh. Kay. I'm not sure if any of that made sense.

All of this at the Cordon Bleu actually happened to Julia. Um, they would not let her take her test.

Fuck you, Nora.


Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "You'll get there. You'll get there."


  1. I watched the movie with Nora Ephron's commentary today. It was my fifth viewing of the movie this week. I am beginning to understand the small hell you have put yourself into.

  2. Actually, I think that is the proper usage of "whom". It's the object of the preposition, for ;)

  3. it should be "for whom I've wanted to work". poor nora. so dull. such bad grammar.

  4. "You can not make a short person into a tall person."

    Shoes. Stilts. Stepladder. Platforms. Tiny extras and props. Trick photography. That thing they did in Captain America and The Social Network where they stick one actors head onto another actor's body. Injections of Human Growth Hormone.

    Did I mention shoes? Because they do seem to spring to mind.

    But maybe that's just me.

  5. This got me thinking, you should totally record yourself riffing on Julie & Julia and sync it up with the movie, MST3K-style. Plus you could split it up to fill several posts, if you haven't already planned out the final stretch for the year.

  6. That is the proper usage of "whom." XOXOXOXO

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I second Antiskill's motion. You could just post as an MP3 and we could download and listen while watching our own copy of J&J, Pink Floyd-Wizard of Oz-style.

  9. I love the directors commentary posts!

    Also have you done the deleted scenes? Are there any? Are they any better than the actual movie? INQUIRING MINDS MILDLY WANT TO KNOW.

  10. Didn't they do things to make John Wayne look taller in every single movie? Um, I think it can be done, Special Effects Guys! If they could do it in the 50's, they certainly can now!

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