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Posted October 12, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film The Intern (2015)


About the Production

Nancy Meyers’ films have been celebrated for their funny, poignant and always truthful exploration of romantic relationships-from courtship, to marriage, to divorce, and to what comes after. Throughout her films, there has always been a thread of friendship between characters, and that relationship takes center stage in “The Intern.”

Meyers offers, “Relationships are what drive my films, but there are other kinds of relationships other than romantic ones. So when I had this idea about an older man becoming an intern at a start-up, I realized it wouldn’t be a love story, in the traditional sense; it would be a story about a bond and friendship…between two people who might otherwise never cross paths.”

“The Intern” also looks at another element of our lives that helps to form our core identity: work. Meyers emphasizes this with the film’s opening line, which cites Freud’s conjecture: “Love and work, work and love. That’s all there is.” The director affirms, “I think having a purpose and being valued are needs as basic as being loved and loving.”

But when you’ve retired and the love of your life is gone, where do you go and what do you do?

That is the dilemma facing one of the film’s two central characters, Ben Whittaker.

Robert De Niro plays the man who gets the chance to begin again at a local Brooklyn start-up. The legendary actor says he appreciated the opportunity to collaborate for the first time with Meyers. “This is the kind of movie that Nancy does and does so well. It’s in some ways a classic Hollywood comedy, but not of the past; it’s very contemporary. Here, she hits on something I think a lot of people can relate to: they’re not necessarily sure anything has changed other than they just got older, but they still have plenty to offer and are able to be productive.”

Anne Hathaway stars opposite De Niro as Jules Ostin, the founder of an e-commerce site, About the Fit (ATF). Hathaway says, “Nancy is a wonderful, heartfelt filmmaker and, on a personal level, probably the funniest woman I’ve ever met. Her timing is impeccable, but her films are not just funny; they are warm and deeply human in dealing with the exquisite agony of living on a day-to-day basis.”

Producer Suzanne Farwell, whose collaboration with Meyers dates back to her working as an assistant on Meyers’ 1998 directorial debut, “The Parent Trap,” adds, “Nancy’s movies are timeless. There are always serious subjects at stake, but they are examined with a great amount of humor. That’s her trademark: being able to strike that balance, and audiences respond to that. In this film, she addresses zeitgeist topics such as women in business, retirement and remaining relevant, but with a bit of a different take than usual.”

In “The Intern,” Meyers creates an interesting and often telling arc between Ben, an early Baby Boomer, and Millennials, the latest generation to enter the workforce. She also has fun with the culture shock the former phone book company executive faces when he enters the nearly paperless world of this start-up: casual every day, not just Fridays; hoodies versus hankies; Facebook, not phonebooks; tweeting instead of talking; emoticons replacing real emoting; and gigabytes over gallantry.

“I think in recent years the world has changed so rapidly. Things are moving faster,” says Farwell. “You’ve got seasoned pros who have a lot to offer-a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from a lifetime of experience. And then you have this completely new work generation whose attitude and approach to their career is entirely different.”

Meyers set her story in the fascinating milieu of the start-up culture. “A start-up seemed like the most interesting and fun environment to let the inevitable culture clash play out,” she says.

“It was a fun playground, with two generations colliding,” Hathaway remarks. “Among the technological and social advances we’ve made, a lot of things that were holding us back are slowly dying away. Unfortunately, something that also seems to be disappearing is a sense of gentility.”

De Niro agrees. “There is definitely something to be said for experience and tradition, and that’s what Nancy’s expressing in the story. It’s a tale of age over youth, if you will.”

That generation gap has also given way to a somewhat intriguing reversal, which is reflected in the film. Meyers explains, “As women went from girls to women, men went from men to boys. While girls were being told they could accomplish anything, I think guys got a little lost in the shuffle and are still trying to figure it all out.”

 

THE CAST

We first meet Ben Whittaker at a Tai Chi class because, Meyers reveals, “I saw some humor in that choice, but also because I believed Ben would know how good Tai Chi is for you.” Despite his apparent Zen, we soon learn that Tai Chi is only one of the ways in which Ben is going through the motions to forestall his restlessness as a retired widower. To fill his time, Ben plays golf and pinochle, goes to movies, reads; he’s taken cooking lessons, learned Mandarin, tried yoga and used all his frequent flier miles to travel the globe. But something is still missing.

Meyers affirms, “Ben misses work; having a place to go. He’s looking to be a part of something again. He goes to Starbucks every morning by 7:15 just to be on the periphery of the hustle and bustle.”

De Niro notes, “Ben didn’t have an overly ambitious career, but he’d done well and felt fortunate. Now he’s finding retirement to be a different thing from what he expected. I guess it depends on what you’re retiring from, but Ben is someone who actually liked his job.”

Meyers considered having De Niro in the role of Ben to be something of a casting coup, stating, “Bob’s a brilliant actor with tremendous depth and range. In his other comedies, he’s often played a humorous version of the tough guy, but in ‘The Intern,’ we get to see a different side of Bob. Also, in our film, he’s not only playing against Anne Hathaway, as her intern who becomes more of a mentor than a mentee, but he’s also playing against a group of young actors, several from Comedy Central. Their backgrounds couldn’t be more different, and that led to some very rich moments on and off screen.”

Ben first encounters Jules Ostin when he lands a “senior” internship at About the Fit, Jules’s shopping site growing at hyper speed. When Jules agreed to have senior interns join the company, however, she assumed that meant seniors in college.

“Jules isn’t so great with older people,” Meyers acknowledges. “She has a bit of a bumpy relationship with her mom, so she feels she might not be the best candidate to be assigned a senior intern.”

Hathaway adds, “She resists initially because she knows the speed at which her business and her life run, and she imagines somebody older might slow her down. But the senior intern program may be just what she needs.

“Jules is a type A; she very much has the ‘lean in’ mentality,” the actress continues. “She’s incredibly smart and another thing I really like about her is she’s got an amazing heart. The reason her company is doing so well is not just because she’s so brilliant, but also because everything she does is from a genuine place of passion and vision…and that’s also a reflection of Nancy,” she smiles.

Meyers says Hathaway’s work ethic is not far removed from her character’s. “Annie has tremendous substance. She has great drive and energy on screen and is one of those rare actresses who can do it all. She’s funny when we need her to be, and so vulnerable and truthful in the more dramatic moments. She’s also not straight down the middle, she’s got a quirkiness to her, which I love.”

What begins as resistance on Jules’s part soon gives way to respect and appreciation. Hathaway attests, “In a company full of young techies with maybe not so many people skills, Ben is the person who inspires us to look up from our computers and really engage. Jules is the product of a generation that makes snap decisions: click on it, tweet it, post it, trash it; so I think she puts a lot of pressure on herself. Ben shows up and he just listens to her. He doesn’t judge, he just accepts her and brings a level of calm. She knows she’s not easy and he thinks that’s great about her. All the things that she’s afraid other people find off-putting, he sees as indicators of someone of value. He may have wanted to be needed but it turns out she needed him too.”

De Niro offers, “Jules is very ambitious and smart and has been fortunate to fill a niche with this business that she’s created. I think anytime you start something, you have to treat it with a lot of love and attention; you really have to invest yourself in it. Jules does. She is very hands-on. She extends herself and puts caring into every detail to make sure that it’s all done right.”

“The friendship that gradually forms between Ben and Jules is what kept me writing,” states Meyers. “It’s their personal connection that drives this story.”

The director also observes that De Niro and Hathaway’s chemistry established a powerful dynamic between their characters. “It’s this magical thing that happens if you’re lucky,” says Meyers. “It can’t be forced, it just happens. There’s just something special between Ben and Jules, and also Bob and Annie. And I believe it’s very palpable on screen.”

The two actors confirm their admiration for each other was entirely mutual. “This kind of comedy has a certain precision, with a lot of dialogue and timing,” says De Niro. “It’s why you need a good partner and I couldn’t have had a better partner than Anne. “She’s very professional and very much a team player. She was great.”

“I was so fortunate to have had Bob by my side,” Hathaway declares. “He is such a terrific guy and, it goes without saying, was wonderful as Ben. He makes these razor sharp turns in a scene and you feel chills go through your soul because that power is so strong and so focused and you’re right next to it. But he’s so modest and so laid back and easy going, you forget for a moment that he’s one of the greatest actors who have ever lived.”

The senior intern program that brings Ben to ATF is the brainchild of Jules’s COO, Cameron, portrayed by Andrew Rannells. Rannells notes that Cameron didn’t realize how successful his own program would be-or how much it would help him, as well as his boss. “Ben’s effect on Jules has a ripple effect on Cameron. He sees her gaining more organization and more confidence and that makes his job to keep her, and the company, on track easier.”

If Jules was at first reluctant to avail herself of Ben’s assistance, the rest of her staff, and Ben’s fellow interns, are eager to gain from their new colleague’s experience. Adam Devine, who plays Jason, the ATF staffer in charge of the interns, notes, “What is cool is that Ben is from the old school, ‘man’s man’ business world, but he’s able to step into their world and not only like it but thrive in it.”

Tech savvy intern Lewis is played by newcomer Jason Orley, and though he is making his acting debut, he is actually a familiar face to Meyers. Fittingly, he had served as Meyers’ intern on the “It’s Complicated” set. “Sitting next to Nancy at the monitor, I learned more in one summer than four years in film school. Sorry, NYU,” Orley smiles. “When I got an email from her asking, ‘Can you act?’ I thought she was messing with me.”

“He always made me laugh,” Meyers relates. “But he had to audition more than anybody, to make sure it wasn’t just me who found him funny. He came out from L.A. to the table read, and there he was with all these seasoned actors in the movie. No pressure, right? He did great.”

Zack Pearlman appears as another intern named Davis, whom the actor says is “a 14–year-old dropped in a 26-year-old’s body. He just hasn’t figured out how to be an adult yet. So he becomes one of Ben’s mentees, getting life advice…and he needs a lot of it.”

Meyers recalls, “All the young guys in the cast were fantastic. It was a fun process exploring all of that new comedic talent.”

The director also found it amusing how their off-screen interaction fed into their on-screen relationship. “At first all the boys in the office can’t believe this 70-year-old who doesn’t know how to turn on the computer is there,” she says. “But little by little, they all go to him for advice. This wise man sits among them and they’re so intrigued and fascinated by him, and they want to be like him-just like the guys were fascinated by Bob. Zack, Adam and Jason loved being around Bob and I loved that because it’s exactly how the interns feel about Ben. And Bob was wonderful with them.”

“They were all great young men, and very funny,” De Niro says. “I got a kick out of them.”

Hathaway agrees, “I loved their energy. They were really confident with their comedy tools. It was exciting to work with so many fresh faces, and it made for great interaction in our scenes.”

Another fresh face is Jules’s assistant, Becky, played by Christina Scherer, who calls her character “kind of a mess. She just goes and goes because she’s terrified of disappointing Jules.”

Although Ben’s new coworkers are all young enough to be his kids, there is someone closer to his age that catches his eye. Meyers wrote the part of ATF’s in-house masseuse, Fiona, with Rene Russo in mind. “She is probably the first woman since his wife that Ben has really shown an interest in,” says Meyers. “And not because she’s beautiful, which she is, but because she’s such a warm and present person.

“When I mentioned to Bob that I was casting Rene, he told me they’d done two movies together,” Meyers continues. “I had no idea, but it was perfect because they already had this terrific rapport. Rene has a very infectious, adorable personality. She was fantastic to work with.”

Though Russo had worked with De Niro before, “The Intern” marked a first for them. “I got to massage Robert De Niro this time-I mean, so how bad could it be?” Russo teases. “Bob’s so much fun to work with and I love all of Nancy’s movies, so I was in.”

When Ben takes on the job of being Jules’s driver, he soon finds himself privy to her family life as well. Meyers relates, “Being a woman who’s worked my whole life, and a mother of two, I remember vividly what it was like trying to do well at my job and to be sure to make it home in time for dinner. It was interesting examining what the work-life balance was like for a new generation of families in 2015.”

Anders Holm portrays Jules’s husband, Matt, who has become a stay-at-home dad to their daughter, Paige, played by JoJo Kushner. Holm says, “Jules is doing well, but she’s been burning the candle at both ends as expectations are increasing.”

As pressures begin to mount at the office and at home, Jules faces bigger decisions about her work and family.

 

ON LOCATION

Filming on “The Intern” took place in practical locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, with some shooting on a soundstage in Yonkers.

Meyers had a unique way of communicating with her entire team, including the actors, on all aspects of the production: Pinterest. “I love Pinterest,” says the director. “Before Pinterest it would be me talking everybody’s head off. Okay, I still talk their heads off.” Meyers thought doing a Pinterest board for each character and all the main sets would be a great way to show specifically what she was thinking.

“It was a great way for everyone to just breathe in a little bit of the character’s essence and world they lived in,” says Meyers.

Production designer Kristi Zea comments, “It’s a credit to Nancy’s energy level that she can troll through thousands of websites and pictures and post exactly what she wants, so accurately, that we were able to look at it and say, ‘I get it.’ The biggest compliment was her walking on set and saying, ‘Oh my god, it’s just like my Pinterest!’ Nancy has a keen eye and is very precise; she knows what she does and does not want. She has an enormous amount of knowledge about decor, color and style and is extremely astute when it comes to all that.”

Zea adds, “Over all the style on the film is minimalist-simple, no ornamentation. The palette is subdued, with natural fabrics, textures and stripes.”

The film’s main set piece is the headquarters of About The Fit, which is located in the Red Hook part of Brooklyn. After scouting in Brooklyn, the filmmakers found the perfect space in the Bronx at The Light Box, a photo studio on the second floor of the Bank Note Building, a large complex which, until the seventies, manufactured over half of the world’s paper currency. Meyers loved the original, expansive windows, aged brick and all the natural light, of which director of photography Stephen Goldblatt took great advantage.

The look Meyers had in mind for the burgeoning e-commerce company was based on her research of real start-ups. Zea and Meyers toured a number of start-ups, all big spaces with a very contemporary vibe.

The layout of the ATF office is open-no one has a private office, not even Jules. The production design team built glass conference rooms, polished up the floors and created the company’s perks: a massage room and an open kitchen area. Rows and rows of white desks and gray chairs were brought in, and CB2 couches were added to the common areas. “We purposely didn’t use anything that wouldn’t fit into what we thought Jules’s budget for a new business would be,” says Meyers.

“It’s eclectic, a mixture of traditional, mid-century modern with found objects as well as procured pieces. It’s reflecting Brooklyn, e-commerce, start-up, fashion…it’s crisp, hip,” says Zea.

Zea realized Meyers’ vision with supervising art director W. Steven Graham and his team. They also had to design the company website, which is the lifeblood of the company and is seen on the computer monitors in the film. A photo shoot was done in pre-production and those images were used in the ATF offices and on their website.

Although she had seen the progress of the build, Meyers admits, “The first time I walked in when the desks had arrived, and the logo was up, it was thrilling. I thought it felt real, it felt like Jules did it. I was so happy with the work everyone had done to create ATF.”

Although the focus of the film is on Jules’s business, we also get a glimpse into the home environments of the main characters. “There are great stories to be told in people’s homes; it’s important to the imagery of the film. I like to make the characters’ homes tangible,” she says.

For Jules’s and Matt’s Park Slope home, they settled on a brownstone in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn that had been renovated. For the overall palette of the brownstone, Meyers gravitated towards darker charcoals.

Hathaway says, “All of Nancy’s movies have a kitchen everyone wants for their own. This one is no exception. I was thrilled to get to live in a Nancy Meyers kitchen even for a little while. Let me tell you, you could cook in there.”

Ben’s place was a bigger challenge “because his character is an amalgam of old and new,” says Zea. They found his Brownstone in Cobble Hill in Brooklyn. It was smaller than Jules’s brownstone, with lower ceilings.”

Another important detail of the set decor was the art chosen for each character’s home. In Jules’s house, there was a very interesting collection of prints and black and white photography displayed, along with Paige’s colorful drawings. In Ben’s house, they incorporated Robert De Niro, Sr.’s art. De Niro was named after his father, a figurative painter, and has preserved his father’s studio in New York as well as filmed a documentary about him. “We went to Bob’s house and he said, ‘Take whatever you want,'” Zea reveals.

“It was Nancy’s idea to put some of my father’s works in the house. That meant a lot to me. I thought it was a nice touch that added some hominess for me,” De Niro remarks.

Meyers also wanted Ben’s house to reflect his history with his wife. “He was married 40 years. He doesn’t live in a bachelor pad. He lives in their home. I wanted to feel her presence in the kitchen, in all the rooms,” she says. In fact, when one of the interns is there, he notices Ben still has all the throw pillows layered on the bed, just like his wife always had.

Another telling part of Ben’s house is his closet, which reflects a man who was a successful manufacturing executive. Zea’s team created a closet for Ben that represented a life he no longer had.

Other practical locations in Brooklyn were used for an ATF warehouse, two coffee shops and a market; Paige’s school in Park Slope; Cobble Hill Park, where Ben and Paige attend a birthday party; and Prospect Park, where Ben takes a Tai Chi class. A Victorian house in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn doubled for Jules’s parents’ home in New Haven, Connecticut, and Meyers shot a seminal sequence where Jules confides in Ben at the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue, which doubled for the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Another location in Brooklyn included Teddy’s Bar & Grill in Greenpoint, for a telling scene where Jules throws a few back with Ben and the interns.

For one humorous scene, Devine’s Justin had to do a rap sing-along to Busta Rhymes’ Break Ya Neck in the car while Ben and the interns have taken to some problem solving outside the office for Jules. While he is oblivious, the interns are sprinting up and down flights of stairs in the heat. Dressed in the usual wool suit and tie, for numerous takes, De Niro didn’t even break a sweat. Meanwhile, sweat was pouring off of the younger guys, who were in awe. Recalls Meyers, “They asked him, incredulously, ‘You are so cool, how is it that you don’t even sweat?’ and he answered, ‘Years of practice, I’ll teach you.’ That was a fun sequence to shoot.”

 

COSTUMES

Jules may run a fashion website but she’s not alone when it comes to style. Ben’s wardrobe reflects a man who presents himself well from head to toe. Always dressed impeccably, he gradually inspires the t-shirt-and-jeans guys to take a little more pride in their appearance.

Just as she had done with the sets, Meyers would send images to her costume designer and her team on Pinterest.

Costume designer Jaqueline Demeterio was introduced to the director by Meyers’ daughter, a PR executive at Chanel. “Anything about fashion, I’m excited to be a part of, and Nancy knows fashion. The look in the ATF office ranges from young hipsters to chic fashion types.”

Demeterio and Meyers met to discuss the characters and compare ideas. “I came with my inspiration photos and Nancy pulled out her Pinterest photos and the images were almost exact mirrors. That doesn’t happen a lot. So our taste level is very similar, which is nice. She has a beautiful aesthetic, which I appreciate.”

Suzanne Farwell adds, “One of the hallmarks of a Nancy Meyers film, apart from her attention to detail in the production design, is equal attention to costume design, and delivering cutting-edge fashion.”

Together with De Niro’s costume designer, Aude Bronson-Howard, Demeterio says, “We tested different shirts and suits on Bob and he ended up in a lot of Brooks Brothers and Hickey Freeman. In the film, he wears a lot of blue and grey.”

Meyers wanted a distinct differentiation between De Niro and the interns. “He wears button down collars throughout the movie, so I was trying to stay away from putting the other guys in button downs,” says Demeterio. “Their look has a Brooklyn hipster vibe that is mixed with lower end vintage pieces and some higher end pieces from Barneys and Bergdorf. Ben makes such an impression on these boys that they gradually change their appearance and start making an effort to wear proper shirts and even jackets and ties.”

For Hathaway’s look, Meyers notes, “I had some ideas how I thought she’d look and then Jackie, who is spectacular, just nailed it.”

They took many factors into consideration in choosing Hathaway’s wardrobe. Hathaway details, “She’s really chic, but she’s also a mom, so anything she wore had to be kid friendly or it at least it had to be believable that she goes home to a five-year-old every day. We wanted to keep it simple, and needed to find something that was classic but also really cool. When we started to talk about Katherine Hepburn, the spirit of Jules came out a little bit more clearly. Once we said, ‘Okay, she’s a little bit post-punk Katherine Hepburn,’ everything became a lot clearer for us.”

Demeterio admits Hathaway’s outfits were her favorite. “Building Jules’s wardrobe was the most fun for me. One look was a slouchy men’s trouser with a vintage t-shirt and a really great tuxedo blazer with a cool pair of Celine sneakers and a great Chanel bag. I mixed in a lot of different elements for her to relate to everybody at ATF and not be completely removed. I did a lot of Celine and St. Laurent, Valentino, Hermes, and Parisian designer Cedric Charlier.”

Apart from the central characters, Demeterio had over a hundred extras to dress almost every day. But these were no ordinary extras as they were “working” at a fashion company and had to reflect that pulse. “It was important to capture the feel of what ATF is about,” the costume designer offers.

Adding to the ambiance is the film’s musical score by composer Theodore Shapiro. Interwoven throughout the film, Meyers also used a variety of songs as witty punctuation to the action, including Benny Goodman’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes,” Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” and even a nod to the “Oceans Eleven” score for a fitting sequence.

Meyers reflects, “When Ben applies for the job at ATF, he muses that musicians don’t stop until there’s no more music in them. I think everyone has music in them and can for as long as they are passionate about something. I hope ‘The Intern’ will make people laugh but I also hope it inspires them to remember if you love something, don’t lose your passion for it. Do it as long as you can, as well as you can.”

TheIntern-Poster