Academy Award® nominated screen writer, Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, Something’s Gotta Give) directs Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in It’s Complicated, a comedy about love, divorce and everything in between.
Jane (Streep) is the mother of three grown kids, owns a thriving Santa Barbara bakery and, after a decade of divorce, has an amicable relationship with ex-husband Jake (Baldwin). But when Jane and Jake find themselves out of town for their son’s graduation, things start to get complicated.
After a bottle of wine and a few moments of reminiscing, Jane and Jake begin a whirlwind, impulsive affair. With Jake now remarried to someone much younger, Jane is now the ‘other’ woman!
Caught in the middle of this complicated romance is Adam (Martin), Jane’s architect. A divorcee himself and falling for Jane, Adam soon gets caught up in an unusual love triangle.
Q and A with NANCY MYERS
Q: How did you come up with the plot for IT’S COMPLICATED?
A: I am not sure, because it’s not as if one day I suddenly had it; but it started off as a movie about this woman, and then the ex-husband came in. And once I had decided that she has an affair with him things began to fall into place.
Q: Are relationships complicated by nature, or do we complicate them much more than we need to?
A: Both! It is naturally complicated to open yourself to somebody else and let your guard down; but in this case it’s even more complicated as they were married but got divorced, he is married again now to a younger woman, and she is dating someone else.
Q: It’s complicated, but also relatable?
A: When we previewed the movie to a public that didn’t know much about it, the most common thing they said – after that it was funny – was that it was very relatable.
Q: Is it true that you wrote the movie with Meryl Streep in mind for the lead role of Jane?
A: Yes, very early in the writing I started to think about her. You see I write movies, not books, and I need to picture someone saying those lines because if I just write without doing so, it’s limited. So, I attach an actor to the part that inspires me. But I didn’t think I would get her!
Q: But you did! What was Meryl like to work with then?
A: She is extremely prepared and knows, not just what she needs to do in the scene, but also the whole picture, as if she were a filmmaker. Meryl is always very thoughtful about the film and the storytelling.
Q: What do Jake and Adam represent to Jane?
A: I think they represent her past and her future. She was with Jake when she was young, had kids and struggled with him until they got divorced. And Adam is probably best for her future, as he is more solid.
Q: The movie wouldn’t work if you didn’t also have two great actors like Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin in the roles of Jake and Adam, completing the love triangle you created.
A: Yes, I was very lucky to get them and the rest of the cast.
Q: You have worked with Steve before. What is he like?
A: He is inspiring and a very offbeat person, because he is one way and then acts another. Steve looks so normal; but, as we all know, he can be a very explosive comedian. So, I thought he would be perfect for the role of Adam.
Q: Why was he perfect for that role?
A: Because the character is a little bit hurt, but he is also funny and has a couple of strong comedic scenes. Everyone loves when Steve Martin gets to be super funny in the movie.
Q: What can you say of Alec Baldwin’s performance as Jake, Jane’s ex-husband and the man she is now having an affair with.
A: Alec is also brilliantly funny, though in a different way. There is always a little sense of danger with his comedy because you never know what’s coming, but he comes into the scene with an open mind and takes direction very well.
Q: And however complex these characters may be, they are still very likeable.
A: Yes, it’s a bit of a magic trick. And especially in Jake’s case, because if Jane is considering getting back together with him again it’s important that he is likeable.
Q: What makes him so attractive?
A: Well, Jake is a charmer, and he is fun! And his reasoning to go back to her is true, but the character flaws are still there.
Q: And then you have a talented actor like John Krasinski playing Harley, who is in the middle of everything.
A: He is the easiest actor I have ever worked with, and it’s funny because his character is the one that finds out about this affair, but he doesn’t really want to know about it. With John, I went off the script at times to see what I could get out of him. And he can be improvisational even in the way he says the written line. He is just so funny! For instance, he saw me at the premiere of IT’S COMPLICATED and said: “Nancy, what are you doing here?”
Q: How did you find the right actors to play Jane and Jake’s kids?
A: With a lot of casting sessions. I think I met every kid those age groups until I found the right ones for the three roles!
Q: IT’S COMPLICATED takes place in Santa Barbara, but most of it was shot in New York.
A: When they are outside the house it’s California, but when they are inside it’s New York.
Q: Food plays a role in this movie, as Jane is a chef. Are you into cooking too?
A: I am, but nowhere as good as Meryl is in the movie!
Q: That scene with Meryl and Steve eating chocolate croissants at her bakery is beautiful.
A: And as we shot it several times, it was amazing how many croissants they actually ate without complaining!
Q: How personal is this story to you?
A: It’s based on personal things; but the plot isn’t personal, though there are some things I have in common with Jane: I work and live in California, I have friends like hers and an ex-husband, and I also have children of that age.
Q: Why did you choose Santa Barbara for the story to take place?
A: I love it there, and I didn’t want the film to be associated with Hollywood, because people outside of Los Angeles think that everybody in LA lives in Hollywood – which is not true. So, Santa Barbara was still in California but it represented a calmer and smaller community.
Q: What’s the best test for a comedy?
A: The audience’s laughter. You can’t fake that.
In classic Nancy Meyers’ style, It’s Complicated is a smart and heart-warming journey into the lives of three very different people all dealing with divorce, life and new love. A romantic comedy for young and old, It’s Complicated will be available to own and rent on DVD & Blu-Ray from 30th April 2010.