After more than a decade as the founding editor of Martha Stewart Living, chef Susan Spungen moved on to food styling on the silver screen, working with Meryl Streep on the films Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated and Julia Roberts for Eat Pray Love.
Spungen has also written several best-selling cookbooks, recently releasing her latest effort, Open Kitchen, and she joined The Morning Show from New York to discuss her amazing career.
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She began by crediting Stewart with launching her career.
“It was the experience of a lifetime, I worked with her for 12 years … it was definitely the seminal experience of my career … we were very close I worked with her and a big team of people on a big collaborative effort and it was a lot of fun and I learned so much, I really grew up working there,” she said.
Spungen explained that her first job as a film food stylist on Meryl Streep’s 2009 movie Julie and Julia came when the film’s director Nora Ephron contacted her out of the blue.
“She called me and told me she’s doing a movie about (the late US TV chef and author) Julia Child … she said ‘do you want to work on my movie?’
“Of course, I was dying to and I said yes, it was a wonderful project and it turned out to be Nora Ephron’s last project, her final film so it was very special to work on it,” she said.
Spungen also recalled working with Streep on the 2009 film It’s Complicated, which also starred Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.
“She’s an amazing actress and before she came on set the first day, somebody said, ‘Meryl is very good with props’. It’s just part of her craft and she just gets in there and knows just what to do with it.
“There is pressure when there is food because it only lasts a minute and it has to go out of your hands and into the actor’s, so it’s almost like you have to boobytrap it so that everything is at the right temperature,” she said.
She also revealed the challenges she experienced when working on location in Italy with Julia Roberts on her 2010 film Eat Pray Love.
“In Rome, we were basically working in the street, for the scene of her eating pasta we literally ran into this restaurant, in the middle of Rome … maybe two hours we were there.
“I was prepared, I knew what I had to do but I had a refrigerated truck, I didn’t have a permanent kitchen, we rented out the restaurant as a location.
“We went in there, shot the scene and got in the cars and got into the next scene so it was just really crazy, there were crowds of paparazzi everywhere, it was wild,” she said.
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