IAR Exclusive Interview with 'No Strings Attached' Scribe Elizabeth Meriwether

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 22:33 Written by  JimmyO
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IAR Exclusive Interview with 'No Strings Attached' Scribe Elizabeth Meriwether

During the press conference for the latest Natalie Portman/Ashton Kutcher romcom, one person really stood out. Sure Natalie was delightful and Ashton was funny enough, but it was a young lady by the name of Elizabeth Meriwether, the screenwriter for No Strings Attached who really made the experience worthwhile.

Ms. Meriwether really charmed the audience with her warm personality and incredibly humorous outlook. Luckily, after the press conference, iamROGUE.com had the opportunity to chat with this talented writer. And of course we talked about sex, dating, social media and the movie she wrote.

Where did you find the voice for these characters, specifically the men?

I’m actually a man [Laughing].

Well, you don’t look like it, so that is interesting [Laughing].


The thing I love about this movie is that it is about my actual friends and my actual life. So it was really fun to write it, because I’m taking from my life and the life of my friends that I see around me. That is kind of where it came from.

Now they hit upon the subject of sex in the press conference. Sex is usually so taboo in America but this story takes a bit of an unflinching look at an adult sexual relationship, at least in a comedic way.

Yeah! And that is really important because I didn’t want to make another romantic comedy that didn’t deal with sex, and what it actually is to have a relationship with the weirdness and the comedy of sex. I think sex is so funny [Laughing], it’s like this awkward, weird, fun thing and I didn’t want to do one of those movie things where they kiss and then the camera pans to the table, and when it comes back it is morning. I wanted to actually show what happens and I’m really proud of that first sex scene because it is a real time sex scene. Which is really fun to write after coming from TV too because you kind of can’t do that… [Laughing]

It just seems sex is tough to approach, and when they do depict a serious sex scene in film, they go through what Blue Valentine just went through with the ratings board.


Exactly.

Nope, can’t show that! NC-17…


Didn’t that movie rule?

Brilliant!


Yeah! And I was so happy to see that because I was like, that is exactly the kind of thing I want to be doing. I’m doing it to a certain level with this movie. And I also think that with female sexuality, the ratings board gets scared of that a little bit, and it’s important to kind of get it out there and show that it is funny and not scary. It can be talked about. We talked a little bit about that…

Yeah, the girl power thing.

Yeah, but it’s true. But girl power doesn’t have to be alienating…

Spice Girls?

[Laughing] The Spice Girls are amazing!

I’m going to use that as a quote for this.

“If you like the Spice Girls, you’ll love this!”

Right.


I just think that girls can be just as funny as guys. And girl stuff can be just as funny as guy stuff. That is a no-brainer for me and I just wanted to put that into the movie.

I think my favorite scenes were the ones with the girls, and what a terrific group of actors…


Oh yeah.

What was your reaction when they cast Natalie [Portman] and all these terrific actors?


Obviously you are like, ‘Oh my God, Natalie Portman is in my movie!’ It is so f*cking awesome! And Ashton too, it was like getting this great group of people, and we all became friends over the course of movie. And the women in the movie are so smart, like Mindy Kaling, Greta Gerwig and Lake Bell, Ophelia Lovibond, Olivia Thirlby… Natalie invited all the girls to have dinner at her house while we were shooting and it was just this group of amazing, smart women all being hilarious. That was like heaven for me. And I don’t think you see that enough in comedy. You don’t see funny, smart women really.

Do you think the studios in general are afraid of that?

Yeah, I think it is changing but it may not be the first thing that you go to. It’s not like, ‘Where are our smart female comedies?’ it’s more like, ‘Where are our comic book adventures?’ Although there is a place for that too…

Romantic comedies have made some interesting change throughout the years.


I love the genre. It’s gone through some ups and downs but I just think they need to start making romantic comedies that actually feel real, like what people are actually going through. Like Annie Hall, When Harry Met Sally, some of the best loved movies are romantic comedies because people love to talk about love and watch it on screen. Some of the older, screwball comedies from the 30’s and 40’s had the women just give it right back to the guys in those movies. I would just love to keep writing romantic comedies where they are doing something different.

Isn’t it strange that women were written stronger and smarter back then [Laughing]?

Totally weird! I don’t understand what happened. I think maybe the answer lies in Mad Men.

How much has technology and social media changed dating in do you think?

I think technology is a huge part of the dating world right now and I wanted to put that in the movie. What does it mean when you text somebody but you don’t call them? What does it mean when you e-mail them or Facebook them? It’s really daunting. People are still figuring it out and the rules haven’t really been written yet. I just wanted to put that new language of communication into the movie. Basically, being single sucks, because you are all like, ‘Oh my God, what does that text mean?’ or ‘What does it mean that he Facebooked me?’ You know, what does a poke on Facebook mean? You shouldn’t have to ask these questions.

Are you planning on seeing No Strings Attached this weekend?

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