The film, currently in production under the working title “Julia,” is being produced by West, Cohen and Imagine Documentaries’ Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein.
“Julia” will use never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and “cutting edge” food cinematography. The project will trace Child’s path, from her struggles to create and publish 1961’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, to her become an unlikely television sensation from her show “The French Chef.”
“‘Julia’ promises to be a major independent movie event in 2021 — entertaining, revelatory and resonant for today,” Sony Pictures Classics said in a statement. “It is great to be in partnership with Imagine, CNN Films, and the formidable directors, Julie Cohen and Betsy West. We expect audiences will embrace ‘Julia’ in a big way.”
The film is being produced with the full cooperation of Julia Child’s friends, family, and The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. Books about Child — including “My Life in France” (2007) “The French Chef in America: Julia Child’s Second Act” (2017) and “Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child” (2013) — will serve as inspiration.
Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg are executive producing the documentary through Imagine, Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton of CNN Films, as well as Oren Jacoby of Storyville Films. Bob Spitz and Alex Prud’homme, who penned books about Child, will also serve as executive producers on the film. CNN Films will retain U.S. domestic broadcast rights to the feature.
Cohen and West received an Oscar nomination last year for best documentary feature for “RBG,” a portrait of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The deal was negotiated by Elsa Ramo on behalf of Imagine Documentaries, Stacey Wolf on behalf of CNN Films, and Sony Pictures Classics.
“Julia’s story is surprising, empowering, sexy, and downright delicious,” West said in a statement. “To be working on this project with the teams at Sony Pictures Classics, Imagine Documentaries and CNN Films,” added Cohen, “is the crème fraîche on the tarte Tatin!”
Cohen and West are repped by CAA.