This Is What The Julia Child Foundation Thinks Of The New HBO Max Series Julia - Exclusive

Fans of Julia Child might not realize just what a daunting task it could be to envision telling a new story about the beloved and storied cookbook author. But along with protecting Child's legacy, that's exactly what Executive Director of the Julia Child Foundation Todd Schulkin accomplished alongside Daniel Goldfarb, Chris Keyser, and Kimberly Carver. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Schulkin explained not only what a challenge it was to present Child in a new light, but also how he actually felt about the final edit of the show. 

"[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," he added. But that wasn't the story he and other HBO Max executive producers wanted to tell. "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," the executive director explained. Fortunately for viewers, that meant examining Child's life through a lens during a significant period of time rife with change.

This is why it was so exciting for Schulkin

For Schulkin and those he worked with, telling such a story meant looking at a later period of Child's life. "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," he 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," Schulkin explained.

In his opinion, Child and the HBO Max series, "Julia," present her story and that time in history as one that's far more entertaining while showcasing its pivotal importance. "That's all pretty significant, and not a lot of people had focused on that, [but it's] kind of academic, if you will, and so how do we make that entertaining?" Schulkin wondered. "That was the great pleasure for me, is seeing what Daniel Goldfarb and Chris Kaiser and the really skilled women of the writing team did and they totally brought that to life."

"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," he continued, "surpassing my expectations of how it could be meaningful, deep, warm, funny, and entertaining. I'm definitely, from my chair, very thrilled with the outcome." 

Visit the Julia Child Foundation's website to learn more about their work in keeping Julia's message alive. New episodes of "Julia" are available to stream on HBO Max each Thursday.