How The Julia Child Foundation Is Sharing More Of Her Career Through The New HBO Series - Exclusive

Julia Child lived an eventful life with more than one impressive career — a life that has inspired multiple biographies and played a major role in the 2007 film "Julie & Julia," which saw Meryl Streep playing the beloved chef while blogger Julie Powell (Amy Adams) struggles to complete all the recipes in Child's first book decades later. But fans who have read books or watched movies about Julia Child might have missed out on a very important part of her life, in the opinion of Todd Schulkin, executive director of the Julia Child Foundation. That's why Schulkin explained to Mashed how the new HBO Max series "Julia" presents a different side of Child's life and career.

"I actually worked with Kimberly Carver, one of the other executive producers, at the very beginning. It was the two of us saying, 'Let's do a show about Julia, what could it be?' [We] had come up with this idea of looking at a portion of her life and career that hadn't been the one that other people had focused on before," Schulkin said. "I always say people get totally enamored, for very good reason, on the romantic nature of her early life in France and discovering of food. And it's an incredibly compelling story, but one of our original ideas was to look at this point in Julia's life that was super significant of when she became Julia," he explained. To accomplish this, the series set its focus on a portion of Child's life that has rarely been dramatized.

"Julia" focuses on Child's burgeoning television career

For Todd Schulkin, it was important to show the evolution of Julia Child from a cookbook author to a beloved personality, noting that while her book brought her (and her co-authors) success, that success was more about the book itself than her as an icon. "If you say, 'Okay, let's look at when she became Julia' ... Julia on television was really when she came into her own I think as a personality in America's living room and really blossomed into the big career that she ended up having," Schulkin said. "The interesting thing about that is it happened during the Civil Rights Movement, during the Vietnam War, at a time where television was also coming into its own and particularly public television, [and Julia's show] started as a local show and became one of the earlier national shows," he added.

Though Schulkin knew that it was a good, fresh angle through which to view Child's life, he knew the team would face the challenge of making it as entertaining as the chapter of her life that involved falling in love with food in France. "The great pleasure for me is seeing what Daniel Goldfarb and Chris Kaiser and the really skilled women of the writing team did," he said. "The banter and the warmth and these imagined interactions between the characters, because there weren't enough of us there to know particularly what Julia was saying to Paul in the bedroom, has been beautifully brought to life, surpassing my expectations of how it could be meaningful, deep, warm, funny, and entertaining. I'm definitely ... very thrilled with the outcome," Schulkin asserted. 

Visit the Julia Child Foundation's website to learn more about their work in keeping Julia's message alive. The first three episodes of "Julia" premiered on HBO Max on March 31, and new episodes will stream on Thursdays.