The new drama series from HBO Max Julia follows the life of famous American chef and TV personality Julia Child.
The first three episodes, portrayed by British actress Sarah Lancashire, were released on March 31st.
While most versions of Child’s story thus far have spotlighted her hit, long-running cooking show, this eight-episode drama uses her merely as window dressing. Instead, it focuses on the celebrity chef’s relationships, particularly her marriage to Paul Child (David Hyde Pierce) and her shifting power dynamic as she rises to fame.
Given that Child has written over a dozen autobiographies and cookbooks, and given countless interviews, show creator Daniel Goldfarb had plenty of material to work with.
However, Goldfarb admitted this The Washington Post That part of his process was reading between the lines as long as it didn’t “change the course of the biography.”
We’ve broken down some key moments to see what’s fact and what’s fiction.
In the first episode, Child is introduced to us as her career begins to take shape – with news of a book deal with publisher Alfred A. Knopf.
In real life, Child actually signed her first cookbook deal with Knopf, which in turn led to an invitation to promote her book on the WGBH television show in Boston I have readmoderated by Albert Duhamel.
The child’s private life with her husband is also lifelike. Paul was a strong supporter of Child’s cooking show, even going so far as to hold cue cards to help out during filming, just like the new series shows.
A secondary storyline explores Child’s struggles with menopause and the end of her reproductive years. While her character wonders what could have been, Child did have moments where she regretted her “lack of offspring,” as recounted in an excerpt from The French Chef in America, penned by her grandnephew Alex Prud’homme.
One of Child’s main trademarks was her unusual voice, a combination of odd intonation and a mid-Atlantic accent, despite her Californian roots. This is something mentioned in the show and a trait that does a decent job of replicating Lancashire.
Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a free 30-day trial
The story’s antagonist is Russell Morash (Fran Kranz), WGBH’s top producer, who is initially opposed to the idea of showing a cooking show on public television, particularly one starring an elderly woman. Although he seems to accept the idea at the end of the first episode, he quickly changes his mind in the second after Child’s pilot doesn’t go as planned.
In reality, Child thought fondly about her pilot episode in her bio, my life in france Described it as “a bit of a high wire, but it suited me”. While she added that it was messy at times, she never mentioned a catastrophe as extreme as depicted on the series. It’s safe to assume her pan caught fire just for comedic effect.
Russell Morash is a real person but nowhere is it written that he opposed the production of Child’s Show, The French chef.
Featured heavily in the first few episodes is Alice Naman (Brittany Bradford), the only female producer at WGBH, who has proven to be a major force in promoting Child’s cooking show on the network.
There was no real Alice Naman at WGBH, and HBO has confirmed that Naman’s character was largely inspired by Ruth Lockwood, an assistant producer at WGBH who became an integral part of Child’s team.
A subtle reference to Lockwood occurs in a scene where Naman’s mother lectures her and switches to using her full name, Alice Ruth Naman.
A famous American editor, Judith Jones (Fiona Glascott), discovered Child and her iconic book Master the art of French cuisine. At one point, Jones’ colleague mentions the author Updike, a direct reference to the American author John Updike, whose work Jones is credited with herding.
She is best known for rescuing Anne Frank’s diary from a publisher’s committee, another component the series alludes to in passing.
The first three episodes of Julia are streaming now on HBO Max, with individual episodes releasing weekly through May 5.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/julia-child-hbo-fact-fiction-b2048281.html Julia: What is fact and what is fiction in the new series from HBO Max?