A good [movie food] stylist always has enough replacement food. That’s not so easy to plan for. Often, no one knows what part of a dish an actor will eat until the scene is shot or how many takes the director will want....What a complicated, brilliant way for a committed vegetarian to finally get some steak — and look even more committed!
Johanna Weinstein, a food stylist based in Toronto, said, “It’s guerilla kind of stuff because you are all about making quantity so the actors have enough of the one thing they have to eat 100 times and then correcting things on the fly.”
And things change fast. For the 2000 movie “American Psycho,” Ms. Weinstein had prepared several vegetarian dishes for the actor Willem Dafoe, who, she was told, didn’t eat meat. But at the last minute, he decided his character was a carnivore. In deference to his Method acting technique, she had to send out for steaks and figure out how to cook them on the set.
A few more tidbits:
There are a thousand little ways to make it easy on the actors.. Parsley needs to be used sparingly so it doesn’t get stuck in teeth. Toast can’t be so toasty that it crunches too loudly. Low-fat options like apple slices need to be tucked on top of a high-calorie dish that an actor has to nibble on repeatedly....
Then there are live creatures on a set that must be dealt with properly. On “Titanic,” which was filmed in Mexico, the food was constantly sprayed down with pesticide to keep the flies off....
On the set of “Julie & Julia,” the lobsters posed a special challenge. Ms. Adams appears to plunge two live lobsters into a pot of steaming water. The steam is actually a cool mist, and just off camera representatives from the American Humane Association monitored the creatures’ health.