Oh, all right, it wasn’t that straight forward. Actually, yesterday a friend called from the Café Mouffetard where she was having a glass of wine to say that they were setting up for a movie. It turns out they were shooting Julie & Julia. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s about Julie Powell taking on the task of cooking all of Julia Child’s recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. That’s 524 recipes in 365 days.
They transformed this small bit of Rue Mouffetard, the famed market street, into a 1950s version of itself for this shoot. We watched transfixed as they wheeled in antique handcarts, scales and even a couple of delivery trucks to set the scene. When I got up this morning, I walked down the two blocks from our apartment to the film set and lo, behold, the whole street was a weird Twilight Zone light transformation. There were extras walking around in 1950s garb, smoking and talking on their mobile phones. It was anarchimism central.
Then I walked around the camera area and bam, there was Nora Ephron. Resplendent in a cream outfit with a hat, big sunglasses and cream-ish pashmina. A small crowd had started milling but yet they were just sitting there, on the street. I was five or six feet away.
Then, boom, Meryl Streep shows up made up as Julia Child. I was standing 10 feet from her and all I can say is that she has remarkable skin. She made a convincing Julia Child. Maybe it was the hair. She definitely had the early hunching posture down. But then, some weird American guy showed up on the sidelines. I can only state two things definitely: 1) He was a gay out-of-work actor and 2) if I were Meryl Streep, I’d be afraid of him.
He seemed pained. “But I love her.” He looked around. We had a pretty good spot right behind the camera. “Do you think they’d make me move? Oh shit, I’m out of film. Damn. Shit. Damn.”
We took some photos and waited through a few takes, but there was not much to see around all the cameras. They put up big dark curtains around Nora. We ran errands, went to see a friend and came back as they were starting to break down the set. We watched fake pig heads going by on trolleys, extras stopping into bars for a drink and a slew of people swarm past us. By 7:30 p.m., it was all back to 2008.