‘Home Again’s Nancy Meyers & Hallie Meyers-Shyer on the Fall of the Romantic Comedy

     September 9, 2017

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Is the ‘Romantic Comedy’ dead? The heyday of the Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant and (even) Reese Witherspoon rom-com has seemingly come and gone. What’s the modern-day equivalent of Pretty Woman or Notting Hill or Sweet Home Alabama? Yes, sure, the indie rom-com seems to be alive and well; but these films still seem more like deconstructions of the sub-genre than the genuine real deal. Even The Big Sick was way more about the relationship between a man and his girlfriend’s parents than the romantic relationship advertised.

Home Again feels like a throwback to the ‘classic’ romantic comedies of yesteryear. It stars Reese Witherspoon, is produced by Nancy Meyers (Something’s Gotta GiveThe Intern), and is even directed by Meyer’s own daughter – Hallie Meyers-Shyer. There’s your typical, high-concept romantic set-up – Witherspoon, recently separated and lonely, invites three struggling young artists (a filmmaker, a writer and an actor) to stay in her guest house. It’s not long before each of these young men fall in love with Reese Witherspoon because, well, she’s Reese Witherspoon. And, of course, you know her separated husband (Michael Sheen) isn’t going to be too keen on three twenty-something guys living with his wife.

home-again-image-reese-witherspoon

Image via Open Road Films

Yet still – in talking with Nancy Meyers & Hallie Meyers-Shyer – they revealed the road to find studio funding for Home Again was near impossible. As Nancy Meyers herself says in the above interview – “[The studios] like these films… but they don’t make them.” For more on the state of the romantic comedy and the development process behind Home Again, watch the interview above, and below is a list of what was discussed.

  • What’s Hallie Meyers-Shyer’s favorite film of her mom, Nancy Meyers?
  • How critical is Nancy Meyers’ family of her films?
  • How difficult is it to get a rom-com made nowadays?
  • Has there been a shift in the studios’ attitude towards romantic comedies?
  • Why won’t the studios make rom-coms anymore?
  • What are the worst notes the filmmakers have received on their scripts?
  • How much of Home Again is based on Hallie Meyer-Shyer’s own experiences growing up with directors as parents?
  • Is the relationship between Alice (Reese Witherspoon) & Austen (Michael Sheen) based on her own parent’s relationship (Nancy Myers & Charles Shyer)?
  • How autobiographical is Home Again?
  • What notes did Nancy Meyers give on the first draft of Home Again?

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