Nancy Meyers (writer: Private Benjamin, Father of the Bride, writer/director: Something’s Gotta Give, It’s Complicated)
“I think the movies I’ve written or co-written are about something. I have no need to just write a comedy without any meaning and that you forget. I want somebody thirty-five years later to stay it sticks with them, and I think it’s the substance and the essence of the story is why you remember it, more than the comedy.
I think, truthfully, if you write great parts, you will get really good actors. Don’t write such a good part, you’re probably not gonna get them, but you really have to think about wh- you know, don’t pigeonhole stuff, “I’ll only do this if I get this- Jack Nicholson,” but, but these people are offered a lot of material, and there has to be a reason they pick your movie. So it’s, so hopefully you speak to them, the movie works. They’re very smart, big movie stars are very smart people. They understand how movies work and why some movies don’t work, and they understand what makes it good, the part is not just the part. They want to be, have a good part in a movie that works. So, that’s the other reason why I don’t wait to turn in a script, to see what someone else tells me what I should do, which, I always get those calls. “Is it coming?” “Yeah, I’m just fixing one more thing.
I think of myself as a writer, but I’m flattered by that and I want my movies to be funny, and I do, obviously, you’ve seen some of them. I do write scenes that are funny and where the audience is really laughing. It’s the biggest, biggest, biggest thrill in the world. The biggest to hear a huge amount of people laughing at something you’ve written, and your friends are acting it, you know. That we’re all, it’s so exciting. Like, I’ve been to these previews, you know, and Steve Martin will be with me [?], and you know, the laugh comes, feel all these [?] touching everyone, it’s so great. [audience laughs] We work so hard, you know to make it work. We think about it, we figure out the shots, we try to, you know, just tell the best. I mean, it’s so serious on the set, you wouldn’t even know we’re making a comedy.
Where, I think, when I can spend time with it, start the process, and I see I can go here and I can go here, and just maybe when the ideas come, if it’s a huge struggle, I don’t, I don’t think it would could encourage me. ‘Cause I know what it takes to, like, get to the finish line when it comes out. You know, so I have to be really drawn into it, and I have to feel that this is me, this is so many, I can do- you know, my mind’s just going all over the place, and I know these are all good ideas and I can build this and, you know. But I have, I have had an idea or two over the years where that didn’t happen, you know. I didn’t feel that things percolating and I just, and I don’t feel bad about it. It’s just not the one. I think if it’s, I- I could be wrong. Maybe it’s some of their favorite movies have been enormous struggles for people. So I don’t know, that’s just me.”