Marriage Story is a painfully honest look at divorce through the complex dynamics of a family that’s falling apart. We spoke with director Noah Baumbach, producer David Hayman and actor Ray Liotta on the red carpet of the London Film Festival’s May Fair Hotel Gala.
Marriage Story is not an easy film to watch. The The Squid and The Whale director’s latest drama centers on two people who are drifting apart, and looks at all the aspects of a marriage we often try to forget. There are lawyers, there are arguments, there are painful negotiations and there are raw, intense, emotionally charged scenes that will break your heart into a million pieces. Laura Dern will surprise you with hilarious puns and incredibly entertaining moments, and Adam Driver will make you cry your heart out with the most emotional few minutes of the movie.
But Noah Baumbach’s most personal film to date is not just the story of a marriage falling to pieces. It’s also the delicate portrait of two people who are doing what they can. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson are superb at portraying two flawed but well-meaning characters who are so relatable precisely because they are so very human. It’s their vulnerability and honesty that gets to us, and it’s what makes Marriage Story so powerful and so memorable.
Marriage Story was selected as the May Fair Hotel Gala this year’s London Film Festival, and Noah Baumbach attended the premiere with producer David Heyman (Gravity, Once Upon in Hollywood, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and cast members Adam Driver, Laura Dern and Ray Liotta. There’s always so much happening on the red carpet that it’s hard for celebrities to juggle the very limited time they have, but we were able to exchange a few words with Noah Baumbach, David Heyman and Ray Liotta. Here’s what they told us.
David Heyman, Producer
What made you want to take part in this project?
It’s simple: Noah Baumbach. As a producer, you’re only as good as the directors you work with. This year I’ve had the privilege of working with both Quentin Tarantino and Noah Baumbach, and… they made me look better than I am! It’s a privilege, and Noah is one of those directors: he’s made ten films, and each of them is incredible in its own way. In a way, it’s all been leading to this.
I’m really proud of the film: it was an absolute pleasure to work with Noah, and I am incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity.
Ray Liotta, “Jay”
What do you look for in a movie and what drew you to Marriage Story?
To me, in any project, it’s about the writing, and Noah’s writing is just really, really good. This specific story is about a couple, and things don’t work out between them, but they want to do the best that they can for their son. Everybody is going to be able to relate to this particular story, one way or the other: everyone who’s ever been in a relationship, and everyone who’s ever been in a relationship that doesn’t work out.
Noah Baumbach, Director
When did you know you wanted to tell this story?
When I’m writing and taking notes, [the writing process] does it for you. You suddenly “find” the story, and it’s not that dramatic: it’s somewhere in the ether.
Marriage Story is such a personal film for you, and it’s also a very emotional one. How were you all able to cope with all these powerful emotions coming from the scenes you were shooting?
Yes, Adam and Scarlett give so much of themselves in this movie, and there were moments when we’d just all have to say, “let’s just all take a second and walk around the block!”. But it was also so gratifying to see them commit so much of themselves to these characters.