Anne Hathaway & Jake Gyllenhaal Love and Other Drugs Movie

Anne Hathaway & Jake Gyllenhaal Love and Other Drugs Movie

Love and Other Drugs Movie

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gabriel Macht, Judy Greer, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria
Director: Edward Zwick
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rated: MA
Running Time: 112 minutes

Synopsis: Anne Hathaway portrays Maggie, an alluring free spirit who won't let anyone - or anything - tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie's evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug.... love.

Verdict: Love and Other Drugs is an incredibly fresh and emotionally engaging film that made me laugh, smile and cry.

Set in 1998, when Viagra was first sold in America, Love and Other Drugs showcases the appeal of true love when two unexpected souls find their no-strings physical relationship turning into the ultimate drug: love. Like all relationships, Maggie Murdoch (Anne Hathaway) and Jamie Randall (Jake Gyllenhaal) face lives ups-and-downs on their journey towards the realisation of true love.

Love and Other Drugs shows that love arrives when you least expect it and can takes you on a surprisingly journey, on a path that you didn't plan…
Rating: ****

-Brooke Hunter

Release Date: 16th of December, 2010

Review - and Other Drugs
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In the emotional comedy Love and Other Drugs, Anne Hathaway portrays Maggie, an alluring free spirit who won't let anything, including a formidable personal challenge, tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie Randall, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with women and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie's evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love. Most relationships proceed from love to sex. This one goes the opposite direction and thus makes an unexpected film from an unconventional love story.

The film's pairing of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway sees both actors at the top of their game, taking unexpected risks in bringing their richly delineated characters to life. Jake Gyllenhaal's Jamie is a charismatic underachiever who's finally found his niche, as a rep for a drug called Viagra that has just hit the market, launching a thousand jokes as it becomes a pharmaceutical - and cultural - phenomenon. Anne Hathaway is Maggie, a beautiful and talented artist.

Edward Zwick directs, produces and co-wrote the screenplay for this unconventional and realistic romance that explores the nature of love and sex, how sex/lust evolves into love, and the ways people try and figure it all out. "Love and Other Drugs presents two people who are desperate not to go to a deeper, more profound place in their connection to one another," says Edward Zwick. "But their appeal to each other and the nature of the love are so powerful they defeat the couple's impulses to resist connecting. Jamie and Maggie just can't help but fall in love no matter how much they try to avoid it. They surrender to something stronger than their intentions. And that's fun to watch because it provides comedy and emotion."

Those themes certainly resonated with the film's two leads. "Love and Other Drugs is about what it takes to let love in," says Anne Hathaway. "Love is hard work and it's scary - and it's all totally worth it!" Adds Jake Gyllenhaal: "It's a comedy and a love story about two people who are running away from the same things: intimacy, connection, and caring. These are some of the most difficult things you can ask of another human being. But the movie is first and foremost a comedy; that's what we were trying to bring out in almost every scene."

Love and Other Drugs has thematic ties to Edward Zwick's feature directorial debut, About Last Night, a critical and box-office hit that, like Love and Other Drugs, presents a realistic, non-glossy romance that begins one way, then evolves into something quite unexpected. In between these two films, Edward Zwick helmed several epic dramas set in such locales and periods as 19th-century Japan (The Last Samurai), contemporary African diamond mines (Blood Diamond) and displaced persons camps and Eastern Europe forests during the Holocaust (Defiance). But even painting on these larger canvasses Edward Zwick always focused on character and relationships.

For television, Edward Zwick and writing-producing partner Marshall Herskovitz, who co-wrote and produces Love and Other Drugs, helped redefine character-driven narratives. "I think many people had forgotten that I started my career with stories of this intimate nature, especially on television, whether it was thirtysomething or My So-Called Life," says Edward Zwick. "Since I hadn't played with this voice in movies in a long time, when this opportunity materialised, I was drawn to it. I am interested in what is epic in the personal; sometimes the smaller struggles loom just as large with stakes that are just as high."

"Edward Zwick and I are drawn to projects for multiple reasons," adds Marshall Herskovitz, "and it's the thematic complexity that brings us to a specific project. We've wanted to do a motion picture comedy for a long time and we were quite intrigued by the world of pharmaceutical reps and the kind of silly, almost absurdist aspects of that subculture. With Love and Other Drugs, we saw a real and very interesting relationship between these two people who have avoided connections and serious relationships. You see that possibly neither one has the capability to be in a relationship so therefore you are pulling for them."

Producer Scott Stuber notes that "the truth of any good love story comes from how the characters grow up and that's really what this movie is about. It's about two people who have to step out on the cliff that is love. Jamie's got to mature and Maggie needs to let someone love her with all of her flaws."

Another longtime Edward Zwick collaborator, producer Pieter Jan Brugge, who first worked with the director on Glory, notes, "Edward Zwick possesses the ability to fuse different tonal elements with remarkable skill and ease, which is not an easy thing to do. Love and Other Drugs is not just a romantic comedy or drama or love story or social satire. It has many different elements and Edward Zwick's ability to fuse these tones into a seamless whole is his gift as a director. To accomplish this he needed great collaborators, principally in the cast. What sets our actors apart is their ability to play multiple things at the same time."

The fictional world of Love and Other Drugs is based on the nonfiction Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, by Jamie Reidy (published in 2005), in which a cocky young Pfizer salesman chronicles his experiences as he played and beat the pharmaceutical industry at its own game in the late 90s. Hoping to adapt the book, Charles Randolph (who ultimately was a co-writer and producer on Love and Other Drugs) brought the tome to Scott Stuber in 2006. "It was actually the first thing that I bought as a producer," recalls Scott Stuber, who had been co-president of production at Universal. "Jamie Reidy wrote about experiences I thought were analogous to films like Jerry Maguire, Wall Street or any movie where a young man goes into the workplace with ideas of what the world is going to be and the world beats them out of him. That's a very appealing theme."

Charles Randolph recalls that he was more intrigued with Jamie Reidy and his world then he was in the book itself. "I was interested in Jamie as a person. He's fun and interesting. I wanted the story of Love and Other Drugs to be more about the tone of his life and some of the experiences he's had, then a strict adaptation of his book."

"Charles Randolph wanted the adaptation to be a love story set amidst this world of pharmaceutical sales, which inspired the creation of the Maggie character," Scott Stuber elaborates. "Charles Randolph's story brought Jamie's journey together with the one Charles Randolph invented for Maggie, as her affliction [of early-onset Parkinson's disease] brings her into Jamie's world."

Charles Randolph worked on several script drafts until Scott Stuber thought it was ready to go out to directors. Scott Stuber was delighted that not only was Edward Zwick interested in helming the project he and Marshall Herskovitz had some strong ideas for the story and characters. "Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz added a lot of texture to the characters, but their real breakthrough was to weave together Jamie's work life and love life into what feels like one story. They brought in their voices so that Edward Zwick could direct the film within his own voice."

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway/Jamie and Maggie
"I think one of the joys of doing what I do," confides Edward Zwick, "is finding and working with people whose gifts are only coming into their full flower; I think that can be said of both Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway's work in Love and Other Drugs. I was the 'midwife' to that moment, and allowed it to happen. And they were not just extraordinarily brave and open with me; they were remarkable with each other."

Edward Zwick says the roles of Jamie and Maggie represent significant steps for the two actors. "[As Jamie] Jake Gyllenhaal's not just romantic, interesting and charming, he's enormously funny. Jake Gyllenhaal's sense of humor is nothing new to those who've known him socially, but up to now we've never quite had the opportunity to see that on film. He has a great leading man quality and is extraordinarily at ease, and that comes of maturity and experience. Jake Gyllenhaal's work in this film allows us to witness a younger actor become a leading man, and that's very exciting for a filmmaker and, I think, an audience.

"Anne Hathaway has long been taking extraordinary risks with her performances in films like Rachel Getting Married [for which she was Oscar®-nominated] and through her work in Shakespeare in the Park," Edward Zwick continues. "Maggie in Love and Other Drugs is another in a series of brave choices she has made again and again. Anne Hathaway reveals yet another aspect of her talents, takes more risks and pushes more of her boundaries.

"I think there's great pleasure to be taken not only in experiencing these moments in Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway's professional lives but also seeing how they combust on screen with one another. These are two actors who worked opposite one another on Brokeback Mountain, who knew each other, who had real fondness and trust and confidence and faith in each other as well as great delight."

Jake Gyllenhaal's Jamie is the black sheep in a successful family. He's the ultimate seducer, and would have been perfectly happy to float through life minus the burden of responsibility or connecting to anyone…until he meets Maggie. "He's bright but a bit self-destructive," says the actor. "He's content to be successful with his life as a salesman of a revolutionary drug - a job for which he's perfectly suited - and continue to succeed at fake connections. He's an expert at those because he's a great performer."

But Jamie's shell of charm and carefree seduction begins to crack after he meets Anne Hathaway's equally free-spirited Maggie. Maggie is a fine arts painter who is finding it increasingly difficult to continue her work, due to her being afflicted with early-onset Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer's motor skills and speech. "When Maggie meets Jake, she is at a transitional moment in her life," says Anne Hathaway. "She hasn't accepted her challenges, and more importantly, she hasn't been able to accept herself. "

Anne Hathaway and the filmmakers made sure that Maggie's condition shapes the character's attitude and was always in the service of the character. Her illness provide Maggie with unexpected richness and poignancy, especially with her relationship with Jamie, which began as casual sex and evolved into something so much more.

"I loved how seemingly fearless Maggie is," says Anne Hathaway. "I was moved by the challenges she faces and by the façade she presents to the world, as an idealised sex goddess who is fine with everything and anything. But there's an aching and yearning there; she's scared and vulnerable, and a wonderful person under all of that. As an actress, you dream of opportunities to explore those things."

Anne Hathaway notes that her previous collaboration with Jake Gyllenhaal, on Brokeback Mountain, was a critical factor in their work together on Love and Other Drugs. "We learned [on Brokeback Mountain] that were really good scene partners, and good at listening to one another. We go much deeper with that in this movie."

The actor's professional rapport was a key factor in creating the film's uninhibited love scenes, which bring both comedy and heart to the Jamie-Maggie relationship. "Sexual and intimate situations can be very funny," says Edward Zwick. "I think audiences will be surprised by the revealing situations in which we discover that humor. Chemistry is something that is very hard to talk about and, like love and attraction, it is unpredictable; but you know it when you see it. It's not just that Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal are intrinsically funny and deeply smart and emotional not to mention attractive, but they share another quality that I think is possibly more important -- they're both very brave. Some of the scenes and some of the choices that I asked of them demand that bravery, and the more I saw it the more I feel willing to ask it."

Love and Other Drugs also stars Oliver Platt as Bruce Winston, Jamie's beleaguered boss, who is desperate to relocate to more fertile sales territory in Chicago; Hank Azaria as Dr. Stan Knight, an ethically-challenged physician who'll write a prescription for whatever ails you; Josh Gad as Josh, Jamie's successful younger brother and roommate; and Gabriel Macht as Trey, a successful pharmaceuticals salesman whose competition with Jamie is complicated by his earlier relationship with Maggie.

Jamie's boss and mentor Bruce Winston, "takes Jamie out into the field and completes his training," says Oliver Platt. "Bruce immediately becomes aware that Jamie is extremely bright, instinctive and talented, although not necessarily in the most conventional ways, and sees Jamie as Bruce's ticket to a coveted sales slot in Chicago."

Hank Azaria's Dr. Stan Knight is Jamie's prime sales target. Hank Azaria describes Stan as "a successful family practitioner who has become really jaded. He began his career as a very idealistic guy who wanted to be a doctor and a healer but over time, has been ground down by the system - seeing fifty patients a day, prescribing like crazy and essentially feeling like the shill of the pharmaceutical companies. It may seem as if he's got it all going for him, but he's become an unhappy, prurient, thrill-seeking and self-serving guy whose favorite part of being a doctor is being rich and getting laid." While Dr. Knight knows Jamie, and inadvertently introduces him to Maggie, it's not until the young salesman starts peddling Viagra that the bond between the two is solidified. "For middle-aged guys who want to drink and run around with a lot of different women, you couldn't ask for anything better that Viagra," Hank Azaria laughs.

Jamie's brother Josh plays a key role in the former's life. As Josh Gad observes, "Jamie has always been the black sheep, but he is much cooler-hey, he's Jake Gyllenhaal! So when Josh is thrown out of his house by his wife, he comes to Jamie like this wounded deer that Jamie needs to help back up on its feet, older brother to younger brother. But Josh gets under Jamie's skin enough for him to constantly beat on him--much like any good sibling rivalry. It was a lot of fun discovering this great relationship."

Gabriel Macht's Trey Hannigan is the top local sales rep for a competing product and firm. Trey is not happy with Jamie's emergence as a rising star on the Big Pharma scene, or with Jamie's burgeoning relationship with Maggie, with whom Trey recently had a deep love affair. "Trey is married and has two kids," notes Gabriel Macht, "and while he's now back on the straight and narrow, he continues to care deeply for and feel protective of this young woman who's changed his life."

The Rise Of Big Pharma
Love and Other Drugs is set in the late 90s, a moment, says Edward Zwick, "when the fabric of American life changed forever" because for the first time, drugs became commercialised, via ads in magazines and on television. Drugs were now being sold directly to consumers. At the top of the sales and advertising charts was a little blue pill called Viagra, a new treatment for erectile dysfunction. Viagra became a phenomenon was that pure gold for the company marketing and selling it, Pfizer, and for its legions of sales reps crisscrossing the country extolling its virtues. Viagra's blockbuster sales trigger Jamie's ascension to the top of the heap as a Big Pharma sales rep.

"The commercialisation of drugs is commonplace now, but then it was revolutionary," Edward Zwick explains. "I think that phenomenon bespeaks deeper cultural trends that are part of Love and Other Drugs' story about a guy who wants his piece of the greatest accumulation of wealth in modern memory, and the way he's going to get it is to partake in something that is happening for the first time in American culture-the selling of these drugs. Then, because of Jake's relationship with Maggie, he goes deeper into the world of medicine and drugs and the different strands of the story knit together and, I hope, resonate off each other."

Jamie Reidy, author of the film's source material, has first-hand experience with the pharmaceutical industry's cutting-edge marketing tactics. After spending time on the set of Love and Other Drugs, Jamie Reidy was impressed by the film's focus and attention to detail. "The production design of the medical offices was spot-on - and Jake Gyllenhaal and Oliver Platt look exactly like real drug reps," Jamie Reidy says. "A moment when I noticed that something was a bit off, like when Oliver was carrying a briefcase into the office - a person of Bruce's position would never carry a briefcase - I mentioned to Edward Zwick and on the very next take the briefcase was gone."

To help prepare Jake Gyllenhaal for the role, Jamie Reidy met with the actor several times before production. "Jake Gyllenhaal was great about asking advice on how a drug rep would handle certain situations," says Jamie Reidy. "For example, he didn't understand how a rep could walk in cold into an office and approach the receptionist to try and leave samples or talk to a doctor. I told him it is just like being in a bar and walking up to a woman you don't know. We talked about the lean-in - that when you walk to the reception counter, you don't just stand there, you lean in, just like you would when you talk to a woman at a bar."

While Jake Gyllenhaal consulted with Jamie Reidy, Anne Hathaway received advice from another real warrior in the drug wars, Lucy Roucis, a professional actor with Parkinson's disease (diagnosed when she was in her late twenties) who now works in Denver with an acting troupe called PHAMALY (the Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League, Inc.). In the film, Roucis plays a comedian with Parkinson's whose shtick at a convention for Parkinson's patients helps Maggie begin to come to terms with her condition.

Also critical in defining the characters and their world was the work of director of photography Steven Fierberg, ASC, production designer Patti Podesta and costume designer Deborah L. Scott. Podesta describes how "Maggie's loft is the complete opposite of the corporate, sterile world that Jamie's been dumped into. It's a big, open factory space with large windows - complex and boundless - where she seems to be almost squatting. It's a free space, yet it's a kind of limbo because as her disease progresses, she won't be able to live there [without assistance]. Edward Zwick and I talked a lot about how the medical spaces in the film would be sort of cold and rectilinear, not soft and round so that when we get to Maggie's space we'd see every kind of shape. Jamie is attracted to her home, like he's attracted to everything that she offers - this world that he's never really been opened up to."

While Jamie's tailored business suits are a type of uniform, Maggie's outfits are a more self-conscious expression of her individuality. "Maggie's an artist and she's quirky," says Deborah L. Scott. "You imagine her having collected whatever pieces of clothing she liked or found; she doesn't have much money. A lot of her things come from thrift stores and a few are vintage pieces - some of it from my own closet. It's fun to dress Maggie, because you have no boundaries like you have with Jamie. She's not someone whose outfits you can create on paper. It's really hard not to let a quirky character like that get over the top. Initially we explored what Maggie having short hair that was tinted blue, but Anne is so gorgeous, we all decided early on that Maggie should be gorgeous."

Deborah L. Scott further notes that Jamie's back to the basic clean-cut well-tailored suit fits into an established formula for drug reps. "But Jamie is a complex character that undergoes a subtle transition in the film," she notes. "While he starts off a bit lackadaisical about the way he dresses, he slowly takes on the uniform of a pharma rep and then takes it a step further to where he kind of owns it before realising that's not really who he is. "

Love and Other Drugs was shot in the fall of 2009 entirely in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first week of shooting coincided, without incident, with the G20 Summit hosted by President Obama. Over the past two decades, after the collapse of the steel industry, the city completely reinvented itself. Pittsburgh is now a center of the U.S. medical industry, with vibrant biotech research companies, big universities, and impressive resources. Says Brugge: "I'd worked in the city before when I produced and directed my film The Clearing and I'd come to really like Pittsburgh and the fantastic work ethic of its people. We were able to work with an entirely local construction, grip and electric departments; we brought in very few people in order to make Love and Other Drugs."

After principal photography wrapped in Pittsburgh, Edward Zwick and his post-production teams worked for months before the film was ready for its initial previews and screenings. The results met or even surpassed everyone's expectations, including the film's director/co-writer/producer: "What's most pleasing is how people relate to it," says Edward Zwick. "They see something of themselves in the Jamie-Maggie relationship, which describes something people have, want to have, or something they once had and lost. When you tell a story that's this personal, this kind of response is very gratifying."