Nancy Meyers


Nancy Meyers
Nancy Meyers
Born Nancy Jane Meyers
December 8, 1949 (1949-12-08) (age 61)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse Charles Shyer (1980-1999)
Children 2

Nancy Jane Meyers (born December 8, 1949) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter. She is the writer, producer and director of several big-screen successes, including The Parent Trap (1998), Something's Gotta Give (2003), The Holiday (2006), and It's Complicated (2009). Her second solo venture, What Women Want (2000), was at one point the most successful film ever directed by a woman, taking in $183 million in the United States.[1]

Contents

Early life

Meyers was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The younger of two daughters, she was raised in a Jewish household in the Drexel Hill area, a largely Catholic neighborhood.[2] Her father, Irving, worked as an executive at a voting machines manufacturer, while her mother, Patricia (née Lemisch), was a homemaker and volunteer, who was also engaged in the Head Start Program and the Home for the Blind.[3] After reading the Moss Hart biography Act One at the age of twelve, Meyers became interested in theater and started to act in local stage productions. Her interest in screenwriting did not emerge until she saw Mike Nichols' film The Graduate in 1967.[2]

In 1972, after graduating from American University in Washington, D.C. with a degree in journalism and spending a year working in public television in Philadelphia, Meyers moved to her sister Sally's in Los Angeles, California to try her luck in Hollywood.[2] Without any connections, she landed a job as a production assistant on the CBS game show The Price Is Right three days after her arrival.[3] Two years later, Meyers quit the job to focus on a career in screenwriting and took film-making classes where she connected with directors such as Martin Scorsese.[2] To support herself, she started a small cheesecake business after seeing the reactions to a cake she made for a dinner party.[3] She was eventually hired as a story editor by film producer Ray Stark, who later fired her after she objected to the fact that two writers were working on the same script without the other knowing.[3]

Film career

1980s

In the late 1970s, Meyers started work with Charles Shyer when she was a story editor in the film division at Motown. The pair became friends and, along with Harvey Miller, created the script for the comedy Private Benjamin (1980) together, a film about a JAP who joins the U.S. Army after her second husband dies on their wedding night during sex.[3] Starring actress Goldie Hawn, who along with Meyers and Shyer executive produced the project, it was Hawn's agent who made Warner Brothers executive Robert Shapiro buy the script after practically "everybody [had] turned it down. Everybody. More than once," according to Meyers.[3] Contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time, that a female lead with no male star was box office poison, Private Benjamin became one of the biggest box office hits of the year 1980, grossing nearly $70 million in total. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, as were Hawn and her co-star, Eileen Brennan, for her performances, and won the team a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay.[3] In addition, the film spawned a same-titled short-lived but Golden Globe-winning television series that aired from 1981 until 1983.[4]

Meyers and Shyer's next project, Irreconcilable Differences (1984), marked Shyer's directorial debut. Shelley Long and Ryan O'Neal played a Hollywood couple whose obsession with success destroys their relationship with their daughter, played by then eight-year-old Drew Barrymore. Released to a mixed reception by critics, the collaboration became a moderate box office with a gross of $12.4 million,[5] but received multiple Golden Globe nominations, including Best Actress nods for Shelley Long and Drew Barrymore.[6] Also in 1984, Meyers, Shyer and Miller penned Protocol, another comedy starring Goldie Hawn in which she portrayed a cocktail waitress who prevents the assassination of a visiting Arab Emir, and thus is offered a job with the United States Department of State as a protocol official.[7] Hawn reportedly disliked their screenplay and hired Buck Henry for a major overhaul, prompting the trio to go into arbitration to settle their differences.[8] While neither Meyers nor Shyer became involved in producing or directing the film, it fared slightly better at the box office than Irreconcilable Differences, garnering $26.3 million in total.[9]

Meyers eventually returned to producing with Baby Boom (1987), a film about a New York City female executive, who out of the blue becomes the guardian of her distant cousin's 14-month-old daughter. Her debut collaboration with Diane Keaton, who appeared in her first commercial vehicle with the film, the catalyst for the project was a series of situations that Meyers and Shyer and their friends had experienced while managing a life with a successful career and a growing family.[8] Baby Boom was favorably received by critics and audiences alike. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and earned a respectable $1.6 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. alone and approximately $26.7 million during in its entire run.[10][11] As with Private Benjamin the film was followed by a short-living television series starring Kate Jackson.[12]

1990s

In 1990, Meyers and Shyer, working from earlier material for the first time, re-teamed with Keaton to remake the 1950 Vincente Minnelli film Father of the Bride (1991). Starring Steve Martin as a father losing his daughter and his bank account at the same time, their version was released to generally positive critics in 1991, and became another hit among audiences, resulting in the pair's biggest financial success yet at a worldwide gross of $90 million.[13] A sequel to the film which centered around the expansion of the family, entitled Father of the Bride Part II, was produced in 1995.[14] Loosely based on the original's 1951 sequel Father's Little Dividend, it largely reprised the success of its predecessor at the box offices.[15] A third installment, also penned by Meyers and Shyer, failed to materialize.[16]

Also in 1991, Meyers contributed to the script for the ensemble comedy Once Upon a Crime (1992), directed by Eugene Levy, and became one out of several script doctors consulted to work on the Whoopi Goldberg comedy Sister Act (1992).[17] Her next project with Shyer was I Love Trouble (1994), a comedy thriller about a cub reporter and a seasonsed columnist who go after the same story, that was inspired by screwball comedies of the 1930s and 1940s such as His Girl Friday and Woman of the Year.[18] Written for and starring Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte, the film was not well-received by critics but grossed over $30 million in box-office receipts in the United States.[19][20] While the script for Toast of the Town, another Meyers/Shyer collaboration, that Meyers described as "a Depression-era comedy about a small-town girl who comes to the big city, loses her values and then finds them again," found no buyers, another project called Love Crazy failed to materialize after lead actor Hugh Grant dropped out of the project after months of negotiations.[21][22]

Having refused Paramount CEO Sherry Lansing's offer to direct the 1996 comedy blockbuster The First Wives Club,[3] Meyers eventually agreed on making her directional debut with The Parent Trap (1998) following the signing of a development deal with Walt Disney Pictures in 1997.[23] A remake of the same-titled 1961 original based on Erich Kästner's novel Lottie and Lisa, it starred Lindsay Lohan in her motion picture debut in a dual role of estranged twin sisters who try to reunite their long-divorced parents, played by Dennis Quaid and Natasha Richardson.[23] Lohan's cast forced Meyers to shoot the film in motion control, a requirement she considered rather complicated. "I really didn’t know how to do it," she said. "We had a prep day to go over the process, and by the end of the day I had a little better understanding. But I approached the movie like it wasn’t an effects film; I just tried to make it authentic."[23] Released to mixed critics, The Parent Trap brought in $92 million worldwide.[24]

2000s

In 1998, following the succes of The Parent Trap and her separation from Shyer, Disney's Touchstone Pictures chairman Joe Roth asked Meyers to reconstruct an original script named Head Games about a man who gains the power to hear everything women are thinking, an idea originally conceived by The King of Queens producers Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith.[22] Subsequently, Meyers penned two drafts of the script before agreeing to direct, but as Roth left the studio in January 1999, Disney dismissed the film and the project eventually went to Paramount.[25] By the following year, Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt had signed on to star in leading roles and the project had been retitled What Women Want.[25] Released in 2000 to mixed reviews, it became the then-most successful film ever directed by a woman, taking in $183 million in the United States, and grossing upward of $370 million worldwide.[26][27]

Following her divorce, Meyers wrote and directed the post-divorce comedy Something's Gotta Give (2003), starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson as a successful 60-something and 50-something, who find love for each other at a different time of life, despite being complete opposites. Nicholson and Keaton, aged 63 and 57 respectively, were seen as bold casting choices for leads in a romantic comedy, and Twentieth Century Fox, the film's original studio, reportedly declined to produce the film, fearing that the lead characters were too old to be bankable. While critical reaction to the film as a whole was more measured,[28] Something's Gotta Give received generally favorable notice and became a surprise box-office hit following its North American release, eventually grossing US$266,600,000 worldwide, mostly from its international run.[29]

It's Complicated earned Meyers a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay and Meryl Streep a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a comedy as well. Both films domestically grossed more than $100 million each in their initial release alone.

Personal life

Meyers separated from Charles Shyer in 1999, and subsequently divorced. They have two daughters, Annie Meyers-Shyer and Hallie Meyers-Shyer, both of whom have had minor roles in their films.[30][31] Meyers currently resides in Brentwood, California.[2]

Filmography

Year Film Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
1980 Private Benjamin Yes Yes Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen)
1984 Irreconcilable Differences Yes
Protocol Yes
1987 Baby Boom Yes Yes Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
1991 Father of the Bride Yes Yes
1992 Once Upon a Crime Yes
1994 I Love Trouble Yes Yes
1995 Father of the Bride Part II Yes Yes
1998 The Parent Trap Yes Yes Nominated – Young Artist Award for Best Family Feature - Comedy
2000 What Women Want Yes Yes
2003 Something's Gotta Give Yes Yes Yes
2006 The Holiday Yes Yes Yes
2009 It's Complicated Yes Yes Yes Nominated – Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Comedy Film
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Film – Musical or Comedy

References

  1. ^ Diane Keaton Meets Both Her Matches New York Times, December 14, 2003.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lennon, Christine (2009-12-29). "Nancy Meyers Interview". Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmmakersonfilm/6874593/Nancy-Meyers-interview.html. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Merkin, Daphne (2009-12-15). "Can Anybody Make a Movie for Women?". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/magazine/20Meyers-t.html?pagewanted=4. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  4. ^ IMDB, Staff. "Private Benjamin (1981)". http://www.imdb.de/title/tt0081918/. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  5. ^ "Irreconcilable Differences (1984)". The-Numbers.com. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1984/0IRDI.php. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  6. ^ "Awards for Irreconcilable Differences (1984)". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087482/awards. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  7. ^ "Protocol (1984)". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087951/. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  8. ^ a b Russell, Candice (1987-11-08). "Bringing Up Baby Boom". Sun Sentinel. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1987-11-08/features/8702040515_1_baby-boom-nancy-meyers-meyers-and-shyer/. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  9. ^ "Protocol (1984)". The-Numbers.com. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1984/0PTCL.php. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  10. ^ "Baby Boom (1987)". The-Numbers.com. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1987/0BABO.php. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  11. ^ "Awards for Baby Boom (1987)". IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092605/awards. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  12. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1988-09-09). "A Hint of Fall on the Airwaves". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1988-09-09/entertainment/ca-1869_1_baby-boom/. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  13. ^ "Father of the Bride (1991)". The-Numbers.com. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1991/0FOB1.php. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  14. ^ Marx, Andy (1992-02-05). "'Father of the Bride' will become a grandfather". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1988-09-09/entertainment/ca-1869_1_baby-boom/. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  15. ^ "Father of the Bride Part II (1995)". The-Numbers.com. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1995/0FOB2.php. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  16. ^ "Steve Martin May Become 'Father' Again Sooner Than Anyone Expected". Tribune Media Services. Sun Sentinel. 1996-11-29. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-02-05/features/1992036223_1_shyer-nancy-meyers-steve-martin. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  17. ^ Cagle, Jess (1992-05-29). "The Prayer". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,310617,00.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  18. ^ Sorel, Peter (1994-06-05). "Julia and Nick look for trouble". Parade Magazine. Herald-Journal. http://news.google.de/newspapers?id=_LYeAAAAIBAJ&sjid=S88EAAAAIBAJ&pg=2964,1448426&dq=i-love-trouble+meyers&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  19. ^ "I Love Trouble (1994)". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_love_trouble/. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  20. ^ "I Love Trouble (1994)". The-Numbers.com. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/1994/0ILTR.php. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  21. ^ Marx, Andy (1992-02-02). "Sequelitis". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-02-02/entertainment/ca-2076_1_steve-martin. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  22. ^ a b Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (2000-12-08). "Lady and the Chump". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20279475,00.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  23. ^ a b c Dawes, Amy (2009-04-01). "Head of the Table". DGA Quarterly. http://www.dgaquarterly.org/BACKISSUES/Spring2009/DGAInterviewNancyMeyers.aspx. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  24. ^ "The Parent Trap (1998)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=parenttrap98.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  25. ^ a b Rochlin, Margy (2000-12-10). "Out on Her Own Now, and Feeling Liberated". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/10/movies/film-out-on-her-own-now-and-feeling-liberated.html?pagewanted=1. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  26. ^ Griffin, Nancy (2003-12-14). "Diane Keaton Meets Both Her Matches". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/14/movies/film-diane-keaton-meets-both-her-matches.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  27. ^ Kaufman, Amy (2010-01-01). "No Complications For Meyers". Los Angeles Times. The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2010/01/01/nothing_complicated_about_director_meyerss_attention_to_detail/. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  28. ^ "Something's Gotta Give". Rottentomatoes. http://uk.rottentomatoes.com/m/somethings_gotta_give/. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  29. ^ "Something's Gotta Give @ Numbers". The-Numbers.com. http://the-numbers.com/movies/2003/SGGIV.php/. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  30. ^ IMDB, Staff. "Biography for Nancy Meyers". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0583600/bio. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  31. ^ IMDB, Staff. "Nancy Meyers Delivers Hilarious Speech, Asks if Young Actresses Have Started Giving Women a Bad Name". http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/13143458.html. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 

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