The film shoot mirrored Liz's journey, so the Moder family's first stop was Italy. "We did it in sequence," Julia says. "Ryan [Murphy, the director] felt it was really important for me as an actor, which it just makes it easier when you're kind of taking the trip the way that she took it."
In Italy, Julia lived out Liz's pursuit of pleasure by indulging in all the pizza, pasta and gelato she could handle. "Well, the permission to eat, I think, is a gift. For someone to say: 'Just eat it. Eat all of it,'" she says. "It always had to be the gusto. Like by the seventh plate of pasta, the gusto became a little more of: 'Give me a minute. I'm going to look like I like it in just a minute.'"
Julia and the crew even filmed a scene at Pizzeria da Michele, the Naples, Italy, pizzeria Liz made famous in her memoir.
Like Liz, Julia says she gained a few pounds during the "eat" portion of the story. "I ate a lot, and [the producers] made me eat it," she says. "They knew I was going to advance my muffin top, which I did, but it all worked out."