David Hyde Pierce is set to star opposite Sarah Lancashire in Julia, HBO Max’s drama pilot about the famous chef, trailblazing cookbook author and TV personality, from Chris Keyser and Lionsgate Television. Pierce is joining the project in a recasting. He replaces Tom Hollander, who originally had been tapped for the role of Paul Child, Julia’s loving and devoted husband, but has exited the project.
Julia originally was cast at the beginning of the year and was about to go into production when the coronavirus pandemic shut down filming in mid-March. According to sources, the scheduling change as well as COVID travel-related circumstances led to Hollander’s decision to pull out. The English actor is based in the UK, while Julia will film in the U.S., likely in Boston. The pilot doesn’t have a production start date yet. While Hollander has opted not to travel to the U.S. for Julia, Lancashire, who also is British, will fly in for the pilot shoot.
Written by Daniel Goldfarb and directed by Charles McDougall, Julia is inspired by Julia Child’s extraordinary life and her show The French Chef, which essentially invented food television. Through Julia (Lancashire) and her singular can-do spirit, it explores an evolving time in American history – the emergence of a new social institution called public television, feminism and the women’s movement, the nature of celebrity and America’s cultural growth. At its heart, the show is a portrait of a marriage with an evolving and complicated power dynamic.
Brittany Bradford, Fran Kranz, Bebe Neuwirth and Fiona Glascott co-star in the pilot, with Isabella Rossellini and Jefferson Mays guest starring.
Keyser serves as showrunner and executive produces with Goldfarb, McDougall and 3 Arts’ Erwin Stoff and Kimberly Carver. Todd Schulkin serves as consulting producer on behalf of the Julia Child Foundation.
Pierce, who had been rumored for the role in the pilot last fall, is an Emmy and Tony winner best known for his portrayal of Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier. He is repped by WME and attorney Philip Klein.
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