Nancy Meyers tells us It's Complicated
Every fantastic female It's Complicated writer-director Nancy Meyers crafts is, in many ways, an extension of the woman who has had Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and Kate Winslet inhabit her words on screen.
Meyers' mighty movies
With It's Complicated arriving in theaters on December 25 starring Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, look for Meyers to overtake Ephron's esteemed box office perch -- at least until her next flick.
Filmmaking is no competition, yet audiences have rarely seen two female filmmakers craft such a brilliant bevy of films. Meyers and Streep each earned Golden Globe nominations for It's Complicated. The auteur phoned SheKnows from her New York office for an exclusive chat about all things Complicated.
SheKnows: Congratulations on the Golden Globe nomination for yourself and your performers?
Nancy Meyers: Oh, thank you.
SheKnows: OK, first of all, I just adored It's Complicated and wondered if, as the creative force behind the film, when your actors get nominations, as they have been, is that extra special?
Nancy Meyers: Yes, it's wonderful. Obviously, they work really hard. It's a long process of making a movie. To see them awarded like this for their performance, yeah, it's really exciting for me because it's the character. It's the actress. It's the movie. It's says a lot.
SheKnows: For you personally, congratulations on the Golden Globe nomination, where were you when you heard and I hate to say it, but was it expected?
Nancy Meyers: No! Not really, you never really know these kinds of things. You know, they do them at 5:30 in the morning. There were many years when I had movies out where I set an alarm and I wake up and I'm watching and they don't say the name of the movie. Then you're just…sitting in bed (laughs).
SheKnows: (Laughing) At five in the morning…
Nancy Meyers: Yeah, you wish you hadn't set your alarm. This year, I thought, "If my phone rings, that'll mean we got something." The phone rang and woke me up.
SheKnows: It's a great way to wake up.
Nancy Meyers: Yeah, totally.
SheKnows: I also wanted to ask, you have such an innate ability to create the most deeply wonderful, fascinating female characters. Not always an easy task, even for other female screenwriters. Where do these characters come from for you? Have you had a colorful group of girlfriends and family?
Nancy Meyers: Well, I do have that…but I don't really base the women I wrote about on anybody. Id' say, if they're connected to anyone it's me.
Nancy Meyers: But, they're braver than me or funnier than me or sillier than me, or wiser than me. There's always something more than me. I'd say there's a center to them that comes from me.
SheKnows: Ah, it's like you're living vicariously through them…
Nancy Meyers: Yeah, yeah (laughs)…that's true.
SheKnows: It's Complicated is the perfect title for a dramatic romantic comedy and I'm amazed it's never been used before.
Nancy Meyers: Yeah, that is definitely interesting, huh? The expression, I would say, very much in the zeitgeist now. I don't know if it was five years ago, so much. It does seem to explain away a lot of things that people are going through. When I would talk about the movie, while I was making it, I would always end up saying, "ah…It's Complicated."
Nancy Meyers: She's happily single, but yet gets back involved with her ex, and meets somebody new, and the kids find out and…it's like that. It always ends with…It's Complicated.
Meyers on Meryl
SheKnows: Working with Meryl, Alec and Steve…after crafting these characters, obviously so close to your heart, to see those names come back from casting…you must have been blown away?
Nancy Meyers: I was very excited as one-by-one they said yes to me.
SheKnows: Oh, wow.
Nancy Meyers: It was really great.
SheKnows: I also, for lack of a better word, felt a real spark between Steve (Martin) and Alec -- especially in that party scene.
Nancy Meyers: When Steve and Alec were asked to do the Oscars together, Steve said, "I've very happy to be doing the Oscars with my enemy."
Nancy Meyers: (Laughing) Baldwin! That's what they're like together (laughs). They're really funny together. I think they really understand each other in some funny, silent way. They play off each other extremely well.
SheKnows: How for you, that those two were selected to host the Oscars?
Nancy Meyers: I couldn't believe it when I heard.
SheKnows: You must have been like, "are you kidding me?"
Nancy Meyers: I was…that is exactly what I said! I said, "Both of them!" I guess my casting was a good idea (laughs). Someone else thought that was a good idea.
SheKnows: Yeah, let's borrow from Nancy. You wrote Steve's character in the Father of the Bride movies, yet in It's Complicated, it's kind of a softer, gentler Steve Martin.
Nancy Meyers: It is softer and gentler and witty, but softly funny. And then, he tries smoking pot for the first time in 27 years and seeing this somewhat conservative man unwind, you really want Steve Martin to do that. Part of the character was designed so that when he does have that moment in the movie that it can explode comically like that.
SheKnows: We're a big fan of Alec's and he's so talented on the big screen, and the small as we're seeing currently with 30 Rock, what was it like to put him in kind of a different part for him?
Nancy Meyers: Yeah, he's just so funny. I don't know when he had a big lead on film where he had to be so funny. We see that every week on 30 Rock, but to give him that much to do in a movie and to pair him with Meryl was…I think exciting for him. I think exciting for her. I know the first time I brought them together in my office, I was leaping out of my skin I was so excited.