The book-club/gal-pal movie of the summer is finally here! Not to say that “Eat Pray Love” is meant only for female audiences — it isn’t — but given the film’s also-opening box-office competition on Friday (August 13), “The Expendables” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” watching Julia Roberts eat and laugh her way through Italy, India and Bali might be a more relaxing moviegoing experience than, say, watching aging action stars blow things up.
MTV News has been following this sweet and savory film from its beginnings (most closely, on our Hollywood Crush blog) via casting news, trailer premieres, Julia Roberts love, and more. Now that the film has arrived in theaters, we have a rundown of everything you need to know about “Eat Pray Love,” based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling memoir of the same name.
Way back in October 2006, when Gilbert’s “travelogue of spiritual seeking” began to resonate with book readers all over the world, to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars in book sales, Paramount acquired the rights to develop a film adaptation with Julia Roberts attached to star. That announcement was followed by news that “Glee” mastermind Ryan Murphy would direct. Later, casting news of Roberts’ key supporting male players came: Javier Bardem as the hunky possible paramour Felipe, Billy Crudup as unlucky first husband Stephen and James Franco as her post-divorce beau. With all of the boys in place, principal photography began in fall 2009.
The first trailer set up the basic premise of the story: Elizabeth (Roberts) leaves her husband (Crudup) and decides she needs to get away from the life she has created and rediscover herself after she almost falls into the same situation with another man (Franco). She decides to spend a year traveling to Italy, India and Bali, and as the title suggests, she learns to eat, pray and love again.
A few months later, we learned that the film was staying as true as possible to the book’s exotic locales, thanks in large part to Roberts, who pushed for the production to shoot in the aforementioned countries.
“Julia was really adamant about wanting to film in the locations because the book has become such a phenomenon over the years,” director Murphy told the Los Angeles Times. “There are actual ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ vacation tours people do to travel all over the world like Liz did.”
On May 24, Roberts, along with author Gilbert and the “Men of ‘Eat Pray Love,’ ” visited “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to talk about finding inner peace, eating and more.
In early July, about a month before the film’s release date, trailer number two (a slightly modified version of the first trailer) arrived and the film’s publicity campaign kicked into high gear. Roberts appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly‘s August 2 issue, proudly revealing that she’d gained seven to 10 pounds during filming.
Murphy invited his “Glee” kids to a secret screening from which the young actors tweeted giddy reactions. Jenna Ushkowitz wrote, “Secret screening of @EatPrayLove yesterday was AWESOME. Made me want to get on a plane to Italy for a big bowl of pasta.” Kevin McHale wrote, “Seeing Eat Pray Love was like eating the best cake ever. Still filled with it’s amazingness, & I want more!! So bloody inspiring. Go c it!” Mark Sallling loved another element of the movie: “The new eat pray love soundtrack is dope, check out the track better days by eddie vedder.”
Before we knew, it was time for the film’s starry NYC premiere, where MTV News took the opportunity to ask the stars to weigh in on a hot topic: “eat, pray, love” or “gym, tan, laundry”?
Will you see “Eat Pray Love”? Let us know in the comments!
Check out everything we’ve got on “Eat Pray Love.”
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