Amy Adams and Chris Messina are pretty cute individually, but put together, they're practically magnetic. Even though they play the very flawed, very human Julie and Eric Powell in Julie & Julia, in person they're really just movie-star attractive and charming.
Still, their depiction of a modern marriage in Julie & Julia feels honest and real, making them perfect counterparts to the other half of the story, about the fairytale marriage between Julia Child (Meryl Streep) and her husband Paul (Stanley Tucci). Read below as they talk about creating real people out of their characters, dealing with the massive amount of food they had to eat on camera, and Chris Messina's early brush with fame-- and Meryl Streep.
Amy, you've made a career of playing nice girls and making them interesting. How did you do that in this film?
Amy Adams: I think maybe my challenge is making someone not nice. I didn't see [Julie] as specifically a nice girl. I saw her as very human, sort of impatient and at times selfish. But those are things that we all are. For me it's just about creating human beings the way that I see them.
Nora said you guys were eating real food the entire time during the shoot. How did you do that without getting sick?
Amy Adams: Oh, Chris got fat.
Chris Messina: At one point they put a bucket next to me. The first time I ate a lot of food, it was like 32 bruschettas. The first 4 or 5 they were delicious. Around 7 or 8 they were turning, and I was starting to complain, and I thought I was going to throw up. And Nora yelled from the other room, 'Robert de Niro would do it.' So I kept going. But the food was amazing. There was the dinner I ate four lobsters in a row. I wouldn't eat dinner or have breakfast-- breakfast would be lobsters.
How did this movie change your perspective on food and eating?
Chris Messina: Nora, as you probably know, is an amazing foodie. After rehearsals we'd go to Peter Luger's. She's the type of woman you could call, you could be in the South Bronx lost, call her up and be like "I'm starving," and she'd tell you the exact place to go. I'm not a cook, and I don't think I ever will be. The movie definitely woke my tastebuds up for some better stuff.
Amy Adams: There was a kitchen on set, and everything was fresh. We were really spoiled with some amazing food. This movie taught me more about the meditative effects of cooking, really enjoying the process of cooking with friends and family.
Was it disappointing to you not to be working directly with Meryl this time? Were you aware of her performance as the filming was happening?
Amy Adams:: It's Meryl, so you know it's going to be fantastic. When we sat down for table read, we were told it was really informal, just a couple people. It wasn't. It was like 50-75 people in a room, and in walks Meryl, she had just come from a wig fitting, and she's in Julia Child's wig. Even after working with her and experiencing her brilliance and her work ethic, to see what she brought to the role of Julia Child in that table read, that was something I definitely had in mind.
Chris Messina: I was in a movie called Before & After with Meryl Streep. I was edited out of the movie, but no one told me. I think I was 18 or 19 years old. I sat across from her and asked her every question about acting. I completely embarrassed myself. I showed up with a girlfriend to the movie-- I think I got her there because I told her I was in a movie with Meryl Streep. She's the greatest we have.
You're playing an ideal marriage here, and a lot of people would consider that boring. How did you make that interesting?
Amy Adams:: There was a lot of conflict I thought..I feel they're a completely normal couple. They fight, and they have disagreements. What's being commented on that we don't see in films a lot, is a wonderful actor who showed up to support a female, playing a man supporting a woman in her pursuits. Hopefully men will go see this movie and go, wow, that's something to aspire to. That happens on the other side of the film with Stanley's character as well. And what a wonderful gift.