The challenges of shooting on location in three foreign countries and inherent logistical limitations notwithstanding, the filmmakers behind "Eat Pray Love" were determined to make the production as green as possible. “There were bicycles to get from base camp to the set, we e-mailed the call sheets, we had metal thermoses and encouraged people to fill those with water,” says producer Dede Gardner. “Julia Roberts is a fiend about recycling and made everybody not drink out of plastic cups,” adds director Ryan Murphy.
Based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling memoir about her yearlong journey of self-discovery in Italy, India and Bali, "Eat Pray Love", in theaters Aug. 13, inspired fashion designer Sue Wong to create a line of embellished silk georgette evening wear. “I really related to the book and since this is my own personal style and look it was really natural for me to move into this and do a really beautiful sarong type of look,” says Wong, who spends two months out of the year at her sustainable, off-the-grid, solar-powered home in Kipahalu, Maui, where she composts and grows vegetables, herbs and exotic fruits in her garden. She also bought an adjacent 35-acre oceanfront parcel, kept five acres for herself, and dedicated the rest as a nature preserve. “Nobody can ever build on it,” says Wong, who recently donated more than $1 million to the Nature Conservancy.
“I'm trying to ban plastic bags from my house,” says Laura Linney, who as star and executive producer of the new Showtime series "The Big C" has made sure there are vegan options from the caterer on set. Though not vegan herself, Linney gave the chef a copy of good friend Alicia Silverstone’s book "The Kind Diet" for inspiration and recipes.
In "The Big C", premiering Aug. 16, Linney superbly plays a teacher who’s keeping her advanced melanoma diagnosis secret from her family as she deals with it in her own way. “She’s been functioning but not living. She doesn’t really know who she is and she has the opportunity to find out and she’s going to take it. She’s learning from the mistakes that she makes,” says Linney, who was intrigued by the idea of “how we spend our time, the fact that we have a limited amount. It’s a privilege to grow old and I think a lot of people have forgotten that.”
Emmy winner Linney gets stellar support from Oliver Platt as her estranged husband, "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe as her lippy student, John Benjamin Hickey as her homeless brother, and Gabriel Basso as her son, with Liam Neeson and Idris Elba among the A-list guest stars.
Like many Hollywood TV productions these days, “We have no plastic water bottles and we have recycle bins for the scripts,” Melissa Joan Hart says about the set of "Melissa & Joey", the ABC Family series she’s co-starring in and producing about a woman who’s raising her jailed sister and bailed brother-in-law’s kids with the help of a ‘manny’ (Joey Lawrence). Hart, who lives in Connecticut with her husband and two kids, rented an apartment across the street from the studio lot during shooting and rides her bike to the soundstage. “I don’t want to buy a car to go two blocks,” she explains.
For his part, Lawrence “changed all the light bulbs in the house” to CFLs and feeds his daughters organic food. “We do as much as we can,” he says. He and Hart starred in the highly rated TV movie "My Fake Fiancé" and got along so well that both were eager to re-team in a series. "Melissa & Joey" premieres Aug. 17 on ABC Family.
Being vegan is easy when on-set caterers cater to your dietary needs. “We have the best craft services I’ve ever had in my life,” reports Mae Whitman of "Parenthood" a longtime vegetarian who went vegan nine months ago. “Sometimes they’ll bring a raw vegan chef. Some of the wardrobe gals are vegan and a lot of people are vegetarian. A lot of us want to eat healthier and they make it very accessible,” says Whitman, who drives a Tahoe hybrid. She appears opposite Michael Cera in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," opening Aug. 13, and underwent several months of training for the fight scenes. “I’ve never done anything like that before,” says Whitman, who’s eager to return to her role as Amber in the second season of "Parenthood,: premiering on NBC on Sept. 14.
“She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s artistic and she has good moments with her mom. It’s not just all angsty drama. That’s what makes it different, and that’s what makes it cool,” says Whitman, offering a little tidbit about Amber’s storyline. “I know that’s she’s going to be making a friend and their relationship becomes a little dangerous and weird.” For the moment, Amber’s getting along with her cousin Haddie. “I’m hoping that if she gets another boyfriend, I’ll be able to have a line like, ‘Don’t worry, you can introduce me. I won’t steal him this time.’ ”
Tune In: Leading up to the season one finale, Planet Green will present a marathon of the first nine episodes of "The Fabulous Beekman Boys." The series about a couple of city boys turned newbie farmers has been picked up for a second season to premiere in the first half of 2011. On Aug. 14, also on Planet Green, "Black Wave: Legacy of the Exxon Valdez" follows the effects of the oil tanker disaster, the biggest environmental catastrophe in U.S. history prior to the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Wildlife expert Mireya Mayor goes in search of urban critters in Rio de Janeiro after dark in "Wild Nights: Rio" on Nat Geo Wild on Aug. 16 and explores the fauna of her hometown in "Wild Nights: Miami" on Aug. 23.
Additional photo credits: Laura Linney by Ken Regan/Showtime; Melissa & Joey by Bob D'Amico/ABC Family; Mae Whitman by Mitchell Haaseth/NBC.