The Eat Pray Love Movie: Filming Kicks off in NYC

Lost Girls, New York City, Spiritual Travel, Travel Books & Movies — By on August 27, 2009 at 5:00 am

by Sarah Amandolare, LG Entertainment Editor

What leads a 32-year-old woman who appears to have everything-a husband, writing career, and sophisticated New York lifestyle-to relinquish it all? For author Elizabeth Gilbert, it was the gnawing suspicion that something in her life was missing, coupled with an overwhelming depression that threatened to consume her.

In Eat, Pray, Love-Gilbert’s novel that has been on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 100 weeks-we learn how she took responsibility for her own happiness, seeking and ultimately attaining a level of fulfillment and self-respect most of us assume is pure fantasy. After painfully divorcing her husband and realizing the post-marital affair she’d entered into was crumbling, Gilbert leaves it all behind for a year of solo travel: four months of unadulterated indulgence in Italy (comprising the “Eat” portion of the memoir), four months exploring spirituality in India (the “Pray” section) and four months in Bali, Indonesia, learning to balance fearless joy and disciplined honesty, or “Love.”

In October 2006, news broke that Brad Pitt’s Plan B, affiliated with Paramount Pictures, would produce the film version of Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts in the starring role. Set for release in 2011, the film is being adapted and directed by Ryan Murphy, who wrote and directed Running With Scissors and several episodes of the TV series “Nip/Tuck.”

This month, mega-stars Javier Bardem and James Franco have been spotted filming alongside Roberts in Manhattan’s West Village and at a house on Pacific Street in Brooklyn. Filming will continue in New York through August, and in September, the cast jaunts to India for filming in an ashram. Check back here for updates-we’ll let you know when and where the cast has been seen!

While the life of her absurdly successful memoir continues, Gilbert has moved forward. She married José Nunes (known as Felipe in the book) in 2007, and subsequently tossed the entire 500-page follow-up to “Eat, Pray, Love” to allow time for her newly confident voice to fully emerge, as The New York Times explains. After taking six months off from writing, Gilbert resumed work on “Committed,” a non-fiction work about the oddities of marriage that publishes in January under the Viking imprint of Penguin Group.

Gilbert acknowledges that her critics are likely to reemerge once “Committed” is released- critics like Anna N. of Jezebel, who wonders whether Gilbert’s second-coming will be “less annoying than her first.” Anna takes issue with Gilbert’s seeming ease with, well, everything that crosses her path in Italy, India and Indonesia, and finds Gilbert’s modesty a tad disingenuous. However, in an interview with Big Think, Gilbert puts to rest the notion that her marriage is all wine and roses, a far cry from the unabashedly dreamy denouement to her first memoir. “That very romantic relationship has now evolved into a marriage,” she says of hers and Nunes’ partnership, “which, like everybody else’s marriage, is complex.”

So what do you think? Should “Eat, Pray, Love” have been turned into a film? Or will watching the story play out on the big screen only further perpetuate a perhaps overly romantic take on love? Drop us a line and let us know.

Note from Holly and Amanda: Very much by accident, the two of us found ourselves walking smack through the middle of the final day of the Eat Pray Love filming in on Grove Street in the West Village! While the crew wasn’t really allowing pedestrians to stop and watch, we were able to sweet talk our way onto a patch of sidewalk just outside the restaurant One if By Land, Two if By Sea (thanks Chad, whoever and wherever you are!).

Just as we were about to leave, the producer called for quiet on the set, and we saw Julia Roberts herself exiting the restaurant (it was a filmed a couple times) and get into her car for the night. It was such a cool night-and would have been perfect if our cameras/phones hadn’t died before we could snap a photo. We managed to squeeze in this blurry one before we totally lost power. Normally, we’re not too star struck-but it was truly a fantastic, inspiring experience to watch Eat Pray Love come to life in NYC.
If anyone else happened to watch the filming or has any news about it, write and let us know!

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  • mina says:

    After I told one of my friends about my around-the-world trip plans, she told me I just had to read this book. I found the tone whiny and irritating. Having said that, I would be curious to see the movie & they've chosen a perfect cast for the characters! {P.S – Where's the blurry picture?}

  • Heather Rae says:

    I loved the book Eat, Pray, Love but didn't care too much for the ending. It was a bit too perfect and took something away from the idea that Elizabeth Gilbert had finally learned to be happy on her own. That said, I'm looking forward to the movie. Julia Roberts is amazing, and I imagine she'll do a fabulous job!

  • Camels & Chocolate says:

    This was one of my least favorite books I've ever read (and I had Gilbert as a college professor and loved her!). I think she has much better writing out there, and I think adventures such as your own, LGs, are far more intriguing–you had to scrimp and save for your trip and plan your own route; you didn't have some lofty advance to pave the way for you. Hopefully, the movie will be better than the book….

  • themisadventuresofk says:

    I agree with C&C – I wasn't a huge fan of the book. I never understood why it had some huge following. I am hopeful for the movie though.

  • Global Butterfly says:

    I think the movie is going to be fantastic and they picked awesome actors for it! How cool that you were able to see THE Julia Roberts in the flesh. 🙂

  • Andrea says:

    I didn't enjoy the book that much either but any film with Javier Bardem has got to be worth seeing 🙂