Julia Child Drama Ordered to Series at HBO Max

Sarah Lancashire and Julia Child- Split -H 2020
Courtesy of Neil Marland; FilmMagic

HBO Max is moving forward with a drama focused on the life of famed chef Julia Child.

The streamer on Thursday announced an eight-episode series order for Julia, starring Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) as the chef. Chris Keyser (Party of Five) serves as showrunner on the drama from Lionsgate Television and 3 Arts.

First announced in September 2019, Julia is inspired by Child's life and long-running series The French Chef. The drama will explore the emergence of public TV, feminism and the women's movement, the nature of celebrity and America's cultural growth.

David Hyde Pierce (Frasier), who replaced Tom Hollander, co-stars as Julia's husband, Paul. Brittany Bradford, Fran Kranz, Fiona Glascott, Bebe Neuwirth, Isabella Rossellini and Jefferson Mays co-star in the series, which will resume production in the late spring in Boston.

Keyser exec produces alongside Daniel Goldfarb (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). Charles McDougall (House of Cards) directed the pilot. 3 Arts' Erwin Stoff and Kimberly Carver exec produce. Todd Schulkin will serve as a consulting producer on behalf of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Julia was first taken out by CAA in 2019 as a package with Keyser, a key negotiator in the Writers Guild of America's battle against talent agencies over packaging fees and affiliated studios. Joan Cusack was near a deal at the time to star before the part ultimately went to Lancashire. The CAA package was set up in late 2018, ahead of the WGA's new Code of Conduct. The project was put together in November 2018 and taken out by Lionsgate once Goldfarb's script was completed. Sources say Keyser learned of CAA attaching a packaging fee to Julia once HBO Max expressed interest in the show.  (CAA signed the WGA's Code of Conduct last year.)

"We are so happy to help bring the incomparable Julia Child back to the small screen, when we need her more than ever. This show’s look into her life, marriage, and trailblazing career as she transformed the way we talk about food is an absolute delight," said Sarah Aubrey, head of originals at HBO Max. “Our incredible cast and formidable creative team are a recipe for success, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

Julia joins a roster of scripted originals at HBO Max including updates of Sex and the City, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl as well as recent breakout The Flight Attendant, Doom Patrol, Love Life, Harley Quinn, Search Party, Raised by Wolves and upcoming originals Peacemaker, The Batman spinoff, Green Lantern and Tokyo Vice, among a rapidly growing list of others.