Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus , James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Running Time: 93 minutes
Synopsis: A divorced and single parent, Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter's impending departure for college. While at a party she meets Albert (James Gandolfini) - a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), her new massage client. Marianne is a beautiful poet who seems "almost perfect" except for one prominent quality: she spends much of her time complaining about her ex-husband's annoying habits . Suddenly it all comes together as Eva realizes that Albert is Marianne's ex and finds herself doubting her own relationship with Albert as she learns the 'truth" about him from Marianne!"
Release Date: November 14th, 2013
In Nicole Holofcener's new romantic comedy Enough Said, divorced mom Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) finds herself facing life on her own for the first time as her only child prepares to go off to college. Just as the departure nears, she meets and is charmed by Albert (James Gandolfini in his last leading role), also about to face an empty nest. As she and Albert become involved, Eva befriends a new client, Marianne (Catherine Keener), a tasteful, talented beautiful poet who inspires envy and admiration. Unfortunately, however, Marianne complains incessantly about her ex-husband, making Eva her confidant. Just as Eva is falling in love with Albert, she figures out that Albert is in fact, Marianne's ex. Panicked and conflicted, Eva keeps the truth to herself and begins to doubt her own perceptions and feelings towards her new boyfriend.
With her four previous wryly funny and sharply observant feature films, writer and director Nicole Holofcener has firmly established herself as one of the foremost chroniclers of educated, sophisticated, and supremely articulate contemporary urbanites.
As in her past films, Nicole Holofcener draws on her own experiences and those of her friends to create an insightful and biting commentary on the challenges of modern life. 'Nicole Holofcener has a very specific, very funny take on the world," says the film's producer, Anthony Bregman. 'Her characters are conflicted, modern-day people who struggle to find balance and meaning in their lives. They are driven by normal human emotions, but they are just self-aware enough to feel guilty about them. That's the source of her humor and it's so relatable because we live in a conflicted society."
Already a huge fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfus for her groundbreaking work as Elaine Benes on the classic television series "Seinfeld," Nicole Holofcener knew that finding the humor in Eva's compromised situation would not be an issue for the multiple Golden Globe and Emmy winner.
"Julia Louis-Dreyfus is best known for her comedic talents, but what audiences may not realise is that her abilities go so far beyond that genre. She has a rare ability to channel that same tenacity and skill into a dramatic role, and makes it seem effortless," Nicole Holofcener explains. "When she was talking about how she took her son to college recently, she showed me a picture on her phone and teared up right there. I knew she totally understood the script and I thought, what fun it would be to work with her in a part unlike anything else she'd ever done."
'I didn't have any doubts that she would be great as Eva, but I had no idea just how amazing she would actually be," adds the director. 'What I couldn't know was that she would be able to access the deep emotions as easily as she does. She is also one of those actors that you never get tired of looking at. I can watch Julia Louis-Dreyfus's performance now and still see little things that surprise me even after having seen it so many times."
During her first meeting with Nicole Holofcener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was bubbling over with ideas and insights into Eva. 'We got along so well from the start that I felt I had known her all my life," the actress says. 'I still wonder why we never met before. I had seen Lovely and Amazing, as well as Please Give, and I was already in love with her voice. It is very quirky, very funny and kind-hearted. She writes with very real humor, not broad comedy."
Anthony Bregman and producer Stefanie Azpiazu have both worked with Nicole Holofcener since her early films and have watched her spin life's pivotal moments into comic gold. 'Her first movie, Walking and Talking, felt so authentic to being 20 and dating and having that intense relationship with your best friend, but then moving on," Stefanie Azpiazu says. 'Friends With Money is very much about that point many people reach where it seems like your friends are moving forward and having great lives while you're still struggling."
Enough Said is a reflection of some of the changes Nicole Holofcener herself has experienced of late, as well as some that she is still anticipating. 'Everything is about to change for Eva in a big way," says Nicole Holofcener. 'She's afraid she'll be lonely when her daughter leaves for college and that there will be no meaning left in her life. She jokes that she'll just spend the rest of her life knitting. Personally, of course I hope that my kids will leave home. But I'm dealing with the inevitability of how different it will be when they go. This movie is my attempt to work it all out before it happens, as if that ever works."
'I've been married and divorced," she says. 'When I began another relationship, I wondered what my ex-husband told his new girlfriend about me, and how she probably saw me as the problem. But when I became involved with someone else, of course I told the stories that made him seem like the problem. Where does the truth lie? Probably everywhere, and nowhere. How do you clear your head of all this in order to actually open your heart and take that risk of falling in love again?"
At the beginning of Enough Said, Eva attends a party at which she makes two potentially life-changing connections: Marianne, a poet whose serene outlook and elegant lifestyle is everything the insecure single mom aspires to, and Albert, an unassuming television archivist who shares her low-key sense of humor and unpretentious world view.
Awed by Marianne's aplomb, Eva embarks on a friendship with her that borders on hero worship. Marianne bonds with Eva by sharing the gory details of her not-so-amicable divorce, including a detailed list of her former husband's faults. 'Marianne loves to talk about her ex and how awful he was," explains Nicole Holofcener. 'According to her, he is just clumsy and overweight, with incredibly annoying personal habits."
Eva begins dating Albert, who wins her over with his authenticity and warmth, and she surprises herself with the depth of her feelings for him, then things change. 'Unfortunately, Eva realises that the dreaded ex Marianne is always talking about is the same guy that she has started to fall in love with," says Nicole Holofcener. 'But she doesn't do the mature thing and say, -Wow. I'm dating your ex-husband' or -I think I just met your ex-wife.' She's so freaked out about the way her life is changing that she regresses and she decides simply not to acknowledge what she's learned."
'It's so clear that Eva behaves badly because of the other things that are going on in her life," continues the director. 'She lives alone. Her relationship with her daughter, regardless of how close they are, will never be the same as it was. She's panicked and freaked out. And new relationships are scary. Who wouldn't want to hedge their bets to minimise the risk? Eva wonders if she can handle the things that drove Marianne crazy, and in a way, Marianne becomes a human Trip Advisor; basically reviewing what Eva is about to experience. And just like a hotel, someone may love it and another may hate it. One person's treasure is another person's trash."
The humor in Nicole Holofcener's films comes from recognition of our own foibles and past missteps, Stefanie Azpiazu points out. 'You're laughing in acknowledgement of your own worst instincts. You relate to these people so completely, because you've been there and you've done that."
That authenticity also makes it easier for the actors who inhabit the roles to relate to their characters, adds Anthony Bregman. 'The words just flow right out of them. She makes comedy from real relationships, not cheap punch lines."
Stefanie Azpiazu, who has worked with Holofcener for 11 years, says the director's ability to balance pathos with humor has earned her a ferociously loyal following"a following that will not be disappointed by Enough Said. 'It's a really funny, sweet love story that I don't think has been told before. The main character is at a point where the love of her life, her child, is leaving her. She's lonely, but she isn't looking for idealised romantic love. She happens to come across a guy who doesn't look like he would be the ideal mate for her, but he gets her and makes her laugh. That, to me, is an adult love story about a relationship based in warmth, companionship and humor."
Filling Nicole's Shoes
Julia Louis-Dreyfus had read the script before her first meeting with Nicole Holofcener and she identified with Eva's abject fear of separation, loss and loneliness. 'As a parent who had just seen my child go off to college, I knew those pangs of anticipation and that feeling of, -who am I without my kid?'" she says. 'And as the child of divorced parents, I very much understand the guilt that goes with that decision."
That fear and guilt paralyses Eva when it comes to relationships, says the actress. 'It's almost subconscious. She means well. She doesn't mean to hurt people's feelings, but she is so scared of making the wrong decisions that she doesn't make the most critical one at all."
Nicole Holofcener and Julia Louis-Dreyfus became close friends during filming. 'They were almost like sisters," says Anthony Bregman. 'It's like they were born for each other. Julia Louis-Dreyfus fit into the role so naturally that I had to wonder why it took so long for them to work together."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has in abundance the two qualities essential to playing a Nicole Holofcener heroine, according to the producer. 'She's really smart and really funny," says Anthony Bregman. 'She also has a unique facility for playing uncomfortable moments in a really entertaining way. Her look of astonishment at herself is one of her great talents. The movie is full of awkward situations and you will enjoy seeing her step blithely into them. The whole story is about exploring both the emotional stress of the situation and finding the comic highlights of it."
Eva has a problem with boundaries, admits Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 'She doesn't have good ones, not with her daughter or her daughter's best friend, not with Albert or Marianne. She's so desperate for companionship that she risks hurting people she loves very much. She's somebody who I would say is filled with fear of loneliness. She means really well, so I found it easy to love her, and when she makes these wicked mistakes, I have compassion for her and I think the audience will too."
The actress and the director share a similar sensibility when it comes to filmmaking. 'Julia Louis-Dreyfus feels completely in synch to Nicole Holofcener's work ethic and aesthetic," says Stefanie Azpiazu. 'She even seemed to develop some of Nicole Holofcener's personality quirks during the shoot. Julia Louis-Dreyfus never plays comedy in a broad way. There's a tempered quality and a real sadness to the character. She can do more with just her eyes than most actresses can do with their whole bodies."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus calls the director 'very actor friendly," adding 'Nicole Holofcener could be a theater director. She's so interested in creating the characters and she really values the journey. She's all ears as we were discussing the characters and that was really fun for me as an actor."
She also appreciated that Nicole Holofcener gave the actors space to be spontaneous and flesh out their characters in an organic way. 'The movie is about real people's intimate feelings and reactions and emotions, so there needed to be an element of improvisation to keep the scenes raw," she says. 'For instance, the scene in which Eva gets caught in her lie of omission was very much in the moment. It had to be as real and fundamentally uncomfortable as it could be."
Another scene that was the subject of much discussion on set was the one in which Eva comes close to revealing to Albert her relationship with his ex-wife. 'I thought it was important for Eva to try to tell him about her friendship with Marianne"and fail," says Nicole Holofcener. 'It's a very subtle scene in which she tries super hard to confess. Albert makes a joke, saying something like, -I hope you're not talking about my ex-wife.' It seems such an outrageous notion that she's unable to tell him, even though she knows she should."
Nicole Holofcener says she and Nicole Holofcener disagreed on only a few minor things about the character. 'She wanted Eva to wear uglier shirts than I did," laughs Nicole Holofcener. 'But otherwise, she was always adding great things, taking unnecessary things away, finding the really human stuff. Every morning, she would say, -I've got a couple of thoughts.' A really good collaborative actor can change the character and enhance the script for the better."
To play Albert, Eva's love interest, another director might have gone for a conventional leading man, but Holofcener made a completely unexpected casting choice. 'I like to cast people who look real," she says. 'I mean, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is really beautiful, but she looks like a normal beautiful person and she's the age that I wrote this character, which is fantastic. James Gandolfini, who plays Albert, looks like a real guy"a real cute one, but a real guy."
Casting an actor so identified with one role could have been seen as risky, but Holofcener says she had no second thoughts about asking James Gandolfini to play Albert. 'I never felt like I was taking a chance on Jim. His performance in -The Sopranos' was so enormous. He showed unparalleled range in the scenes with his therapist and his relationship with his kids. That's what made the show so wonderful. He didn't just run around shooting people and being a tough guy. It was a very complex character."
Nicole Holofcener describes the actor as complicated himself, and a sweet, gentle and curious collaborator. 'Working with Jim was wonderful and a little intimidating," she says. 'He was a perfectionist who wanted to understand everything his character was saying and doing. Flying by the seat of his pants would have made him extremely uncomfortable. But he was great at improvisation and so willing to look foolish. Jim added a lot to the script that stayed in. You can't beat that if the actor is really smart and understands the character."
After deciding on James Gandolfini for the role, Holofcener refined the character with his strengths in mind. 'The characters are still fantasies for me until I have the actors," she says. 'Albert was just a flimsy idea in my head, an amalgamation of old boyfriends or maybe future boyfriends, until I met Jim. He was intensely charismatic, very sensitive and self-conscious. He had a terrific sense of humor that was very unlike Julia Louis-Dreyfus's, which made things more interesting. He added a lot of moments that would not exist without him."
But director and actor were not always in agreement about everything the character does in the film. 'He sometimes fought me on things," Nicole Holofcener admits. 'Once he said to me, -You're going to make me say that here? Now? I'll sound like a girl.' And I said, -Trust me. At this point in the movie, you should sound like a girl.'"
Albert is an unlikely match for Eva, but as played by James Gandolfini, he may be the perfect one. 'He is not a traditional romantic lead, but that's what makes him right for her," says Nicole Holofcener. 'She is looking for someone who can understand her and make her laugh, someone she enjoys spending time with. Under all the superficial elements, she finds someone who's intrinsically loveable, strong but gentle and completely comfortable with who he is."
Tragically, James Gandolfini died unexpectedly from a heart attack after the film was completed, making this one of his final performances. 'I loved working with him," says Nicole Holofcener. 'I feel very blessed that I had that opportunity. He was a really special person and losing him was a terrible tragedy."
Producer Chrisann Verges found the tender chemistry between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfinitouchingly authentic. 'It's real and funny and dramatic to watch these two people searching for love and maybe finding it," she says. 'You're seeing that spark happen before your eyes and I think it's going to move everybody that sees it."
Working with the late James Gandolfini also made an indelible impression on Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 'Jim James Gandolfini is one of the greatest actors of our generation," says Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 'It was an absolutely honor to play opposite him. The fact that the film is coming out after his most untimely passing is bittersweet. I'm happy that he made this film, so that people could see this part of him. Audiences will be blown away by his sensitive and sympathetic portrayal of Albert."
She says that the audience will be no more surprised to find James Gandolfini playing this role than the actor was himself. 'Jim was a huge guy, physically very imposing," says Julia Louis-Dreyfus. 'Obviously everybody knows him as Tony Soprano, but the reality is that he was very much like Albert. He was very soft-spoken and earnest. All during the shoot, he kept saying, -I can't believe I'm playing the guy who gets the girl.' He was so self-effacing and I know he was nervous about doing something so different. That insecurity made him that much more attractive. He was very sensitive to people around him and completely without airs. I feel a deep connection to him and I miss him terribly."
The actors' connection is obvious on screen. 'You never know if two people are going to have chemistry until you put them on camera," says Nicole Holofcener. 'James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are adorable together. The size disparity is really kind of charming. He's like a bear. He could just hold her in his paw. They have a lot of laughs. They're both sexy and very sweet together."
Two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener has appeared in Nicole Holofcener's previous four films, often as the conflicted, neurotic and sometimes bungling heroine who seems to represent the director. In this outing, she takes on a different role as Marianne, an ethereal poetess whose life of bourgeois bohemian splendor is everything Eva aspires to. While her daughter, Tess, is also going East to college in the fall, Marianne seems to have none of the insecurities that plague Eva about the next chapter of her life.
'I thought that it would be fun for Catherine Keener to play something different," says Nicole Holofcener. 'The characters she has taken in my other films have been a bit more tortured. Here, she is a glamorous, narcissistic woman who seems to have no idea of her own shortcomings. Marianne was written as more or less as the straight man to Eva, but Catherine Keener is just such an inherently funny person that she inevitably brought enormous humor to the role."
Serenely confident, Marianne is much like the image Catherine Keener presents in real life, according to Stefanie Azpiazu. 'If you've seen her at premieres or just out in the world generally, you know she's very glamorous," says the producer. 'She's incredibly beautiful, smart and funny, somebody that you really would love to be like. Everything feels very effortless with her. Nicole was able to capture that side of Catherine Keener in one of her films for the first time."
Catherine Keener and Nicole Holofcener have become close friends since they first met 18 years ago while making Walking and Talking. 'Nicole Holofcener's voice and vision are unique," says the actress. 'She's really an auteur. She writes with economy and precision and so much depth. It's easy to mistake it for being simple, but it is very elegant."
Being able to work with Nicole Holofcener is the 'bounty" she receives from their friendship, says Catherine Keener, adding, 'I did this film because Nicole Holofcener asked me to do it. That was all I needed. I didn't even read it, so I was really happy when my character turned out to be Marianne. It's such a high working with her. She runs her set with plenty of authority, but the way she exercises it is very gentle and direct. People end up falling for her and they should."
The acknowledged expert in playing Nicole Holofcener heroines gives Julia Louis-Dreyfus high marks for her portrayal of Eva. 'Julia Louis-Dreyfus is perfect," says Catherine Keener. 'As an actor, you always want to play with somebody better than you, because you want to have a good game. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is extremely available as an actor and willing to go anywhere. She is always on point and emotionally there, which made her one of the best partners I've worked with and she really soars in this. When I work with a person whose talent seems that limitless, it encourages me as well, so it was really a blast. It's exciting to come to work with someone like that."
Oscar nominee Toni Collette plays Eva's close friend, Sarah, a harried psychotherapist with a demanding marriage, active kids and a compulsion to rearrange her furniture.
'On one hand, she gives Eva the kind of advice you'd give your best friend, which is not always the most constructive," says Anthony Bregman. 'At the same time, she knows what's right, or at least healthier. Toni Collette plays the character with that bite that you associate with her, and, at the same time, gives her great warmth."
Toni Collette's gift for balancing comedy and drama has been ably displayed in her acclaimed performance in the Showtime series, 'United States of Tara," as a woman with multiple personalities, a role that earned her many fans among the filmmakers. Toni Collette says she would have happily played any role in Enough Said. 'They're all brilliantly created. But I especially loved the role of Sarah. She's someone who is many things to many people. She's Eva's best friend, she's a wife, a mother and a healer. She wears a lot of different hats."
The spiky relationship between Sarah and her husband Will was inspired by Nicole Holofcener's single days, explains the director. 'Sarah's pretty brutal, but I think the way she and Will interact is really funny. When I was single, couples would often take me to parties or fix me up with a friend. It's odd, because I was trying to be hopeful about my own love life, but watching some of things couples do, I started to wonder if I really wanted to be with someone for the rest of my life."
The script's combination of comedy and calamity grabbed Toni Collette's attention on the first read. 'It was hysterically funny and moving, all at the same time," she says. 'Nicole Holofcener's writing is very insightful in terms of how people communicate, and the language is delightfully easy to work with. She makes it seem like we're not working at all, but we're just hanging out. As a director, she's a quiet observer who can tighten the reins when she needs to."
Toni Collette also has high praise for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who she says perfectly inhabits the film's female lead character. 'Eva makes so many inadvertent mistakes, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is brilliant at making her both comical and appropriately sad," says the actress. 'She's just so funny and committed that she's great fun to work with."
Sarah is married to Will, played by Ben Falcone, perhaps most memorable as Melissa McCarthy's air marshal paramour in Bridesmaids. 'Ben Falcone is unbelievably good," says Toni Collette. 'He's so easy to act with. Sarah and Will have an interesting and somewhat familiar relationship. They're very much together, but the way they communicate is hysterical. They bicker constantly. Once in a while they land on the same page for a moment and then they fly off again."
For Ben Falcone, the couple's interaction feels very true to life. 'I immediately felt like I've met these people before," he says. 'It all felt very accurate. Will and Sarah have a volatile relationship. He is bit more direct than I am, which was fun for me to play. When he or Sarah thinks of something, they say it then and there. They're not going to sleep on it, they're not going to wait and think it through. They're going to say, -What? Why would you do that?' And 15 seconds later, they're laughing again."
Ben Falcone says he felt lucky to be in a cast that surrounded him with such good actors. 'Toni Collette is always really surprising, open and just able to turn on a dime. She kept me on my toes. And Julia Louis-Dreyfus seems effortlessly funny, but she thinks everything through. She brought Nicole Holofcener several really good options for every shot and left it up to Nicole Holofcener to pick one."
The film also features performances from three fresh and interesting young actresses: Tracey Fairaway as Ellen, Eva's only child; Eve Hewson as Albert and Marianne's archly sophisticated daughter, Tess, and Tavi Gevinson as Ellen's best friend Chloe, who begins to encroach on her pal's mother just as Ellen is leaving home.
Tavi Gevinson, just 17, is already a superstar in the fashion world as a blogger with her own online magazine, Rookie. She makes an impressive acting debut in Enough Said. 'Tavi Gevinson gives a great performance in this movie. She became an internationally successful fashion figure at the age of 11," says Anthony Bregman. 'She sits in the front row at major fashion shows around the world and has become an influential trendsetter and a phenomenon among teen girls."
A number of talented young performers auditioned for the role, but Tavi Gevinson showed Nicole Holofcener something unique. 'When she came in, there was just something different about her," the director says. 'She's really spontaneous and very low-key. I had no idea who she was, but I liked her immediately. She just didn't look the other girls and I wanted somebody a little offbeat." 'Tavi Gevinson's a natural performer, not that she's out there with the jazz hands," adds Stefanie Azpiazu. 'She plays the awkwardness of the character beautifully and so much is written on her face. She doesn't have to say much to communicate a lot."
For Tavi Gevinson, the experience was the ideal introduction to filmmaking. 'Nicole Holofcener was so welcoming and took the time to create a community, like the mother hen for all of us," she says. 'Plus, she wrote such realistic and relatable characters. I don't often see teenagers accurately portrayed in films or TV, so I appreciated that, for sure, and I think it made my job easier. I know how special it was to work with such amazing actors. The problem was that when you're on a set, you can't actually be like, -Oh, my God. It's Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I love her!' because you have to pretend to be normal."
Working with Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a particular treat for Tavi Gevinson. 'She's so down-to-earth and professional," she says. 'Julia Louis-Dreyfus had all sorts of suggestions that were so helpful for me and she really made me feel like I belonged on the set and in this movie."
While Eva's daughter Ellen is ready to go away to college, Chloe is still at a crossroads, not sure of what she wants to do next. 'Her mom wants her to go to college, but she doesn't feel ready," says Tavi Gevinson. 'She's motivated to figure out what she wants, but she doesn't know what it is yet. I was drawn to Chloe because I am intrigued by people who seem a little disconnected. I also think it's interesting when a younger person finds it easier to talk with adults than with people her own age. She's able to have the relationship with Ellen's mom that she never had with her own."
The time off from being a fashion icon was welcome. 'Before this, I was on a road trip where my friends and I were constantly stopping to dress up and take pictures in really uncomfortable clothes. I was like, yes, I get to wear jeans! Chloe is not super fashion conscious, but I think she wants to be a little creative and try different things."
With just a handful of roles to her credit, including the television movie The Bling Ring, Tracey Fairaway was the old hand among the younger actresses. She warns the audience that they should be prepared for an emotional roller coaster ride in Enough Said. 'It's incredibly funny, but there are some heartbreaking scenes as well," Tracey Fairaway notes.
The subtlety of Nicole Holofcener's writing and characterisations appealed to her. 'I don't like things that are too over the top," she says. 'It was so easy for me to just fluidly step into the character of Ellen because her personality is a bit understated."
Getting ready to cross the country to attend university has made Ellen a bit apprehensive and that anxiety is playing out in her relationship with her mother. 'She's very into her academics, so this is an important turning point for her," says Tracey Fairaway. 'She's starting to feel like she and her mom are too close and she's pushing away a bit. As she tries to become an adult, she wants to feel a little bit more detached. But when her best friend, Chloe, tries to get closer to her mom, she finds herself feeling resentful as though Chloe is maybe going take her place. It's a paradox."
The actress says she studied Julia Louis-Dreyfus carefully and tried to incorporate some of her mannerisms into her own performance. 'Julia Louis-Dreyfusis really inspiring. She's such a professional. I tried to work in her rhythm, because, as they say, like mother, like daughter."
Eve Hewson, who recently appeared in Blood Ties with Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard and Clive Owen, is rock -n' roll royalty, the daughter of U2's frontman Bono, but on set, she was just another hardworking actress. 'She did a wonderful job on the film," says Anthony Bregman.
The chance to work on an actor-driven project was enormously appealing for Eve Hewson. 'There's a lot of witty dialogue," she notes. 'It's more about relationships and little moments. Nicole Holofcener has a great sense of humor and it all comes from there."
'And Julia Louis-Dreyfus was of course, amazing," she continues. 'I haven't done much comedy or worked with many comedic actors and I was able to learn a lot from her, especially in terms of improv, which she is especially great at."
Her character, Tess, is a bit spoiled, says the actress. 'But she really loves her dad. She's more like her mom, so they don't get along that well, but she wants to protect her dad. She's got a big heart underneath her Chanel purse and her expensive outfits."
Eve Hewson says the character reminds her of many young women she knows. 'There's something a little bit show-offish about her, but underneath it all, she really cares. Nicole Holofcener allowed Tess to show both her bitchy side and her softer side. It's not just a one-dimensional character."
Initially she was nervous playing James Gandolfini's daughter, knowing him primarily from his work on 'The Sopranos." 'But James Gandolfini was so sweet," she says. 'We had a cast dinner and he talked to all of the kids. He was very open and very friendly. Working with these experienced actors can be really daunting, but they were so much fun and very welcoming. I learned a lot on this movie."
Nicole Holofcener says that she was blessed to get this cast. 'Hearing these actors say lines was thrilling, incredibly gratifying and sometimes scary," she adds. 'They knew how personal this was for me and it was clearly not just another job for them either. We were all there to make something human and moving and funny and real."
Enough Said was shot almost entirely on Los Angeles' eclectic and breezy Westside, which is, appropriately enough, Nicole Holofcener's home turf. The film captures that unique cultural microcosm with authentic locations and production design that draws on the area's sophisticated and artistic character. From newly hip, bustling Culver City and family-oriented Mar Vista to the seaside enclaves of Venice and Santa Monica, the Westside belies the city's reputation as a city without neighborhoods.
'Nicole Holofcener wanted the offices on the Westside," says executive producer Chrisann Verges. 'We got very lucky with our locations, because those parts of town tend to be more expensive, but the people embraced us. We were able to shoot the film exactly where it is set. The fancy dress store is in Brentwood. There's a walk-and-talk overlooking the Palisades, and we used a number of residences that are typical of the area. It becomes a big character in the film and we never would have gotten that kind of reality if we were doubling the East Side or the Valley."
Shooting in L.A. also meant the filmmakers had access to some of the best technical talent in the industry. 'One of the many benefits of shooting in Los Angeles is that we can assemble first-rate crews on a budget, because people are eager to sleep in their own beds and see their kids every day," says Chrisann Verges.
Production designer Keith Cunningham, who worked with location manager Boyd Wilson to find the perfect settings for the story, pulled out all the stops to deliver a look and feel that is pure Los Angeles.
'I fell in love with the script the minute I read it," says Keith Cunningham. 'The nuanced characters and situations made me feel like I knew exactly what it looked like before I even sat down with Nicole Holofcener. Her script provided so many jumping off points for us to build the settings she wanted."
Much of the action takes place at home with Eva, Albert, Marianne, and Sarah and Will. Each residence was carefully chosen to reflect the essence of its owners. 'We started with Marianne's house, because we thought it would be the biggest challenge," says Keith Cunningham. 'She's very together and sort of ethereal in the way she dresses and lives. We actually found the house pretty quickly. It's very picturesque, on a corner lot with a beautifully landscaped and manicured garden. It's a little Shangri La here in the heart of Los Angeles."
For Eva's house, on the other hand, the designer went looking for something that emphasised function over form. 'We kept using the word unremarkable," says the designer. 'She lives in a normal, everyday house. She's a working mother, so we thought it would have a lived-in air, versus design or décor. It's not so much cluttered, as it is not pulled together. That's a huge contrast to Marianne's house, which we wanted to look like it was ready for a photo shoot."
Albert's residence is even more 'unremarkable," according to Keith Cunningham. 'He's recently become a bachelor again. We were looking for a very simple house. It's deliberately under-decorated, leaning towards a man-cave. The colors are darker because it was scripted that he lives with his blinds closed."
Keith Cunningham points to a small detail from the script that shaped his concept of the home. Albert doesn't have nightstands in his bedroom. 'That's the beauty of Nicole Holofcener's writing," says Keith Cunningham. 'I think we all know people who just never got around to things like that. He's fine with a stack of books next to the bed. That small but poignant detail informs the rest of the house."
For Sarah and Will, who have two kids and a pair of busy careers, he found a mid-century-style house and filled it with finds from Pottery Barn and West Elm. 'That house is sleeker and more modern," he says. 'She's always overbooked, so we decided she shops through catalogs."
Another important location is Albert's workplace. It was originally written as the Museum of TV and Radio, but Holofcener decided that that the sleek, white showplace in Beverly Hills felt a little too upscale for the character. 'We wanted something a little humbler," says Keith Cunningham. 'I'm a graduate of the American Film Institute, so I approached them about using the library. They opened their doors to us. It was the first time anyone has been allowed to shoot in their library."
Keith Cunningham also worked closely with costume designer Leah Katznelson to develop individual styles of dress that coordinate with the characters' private spaces.
'I'm interested in telling my story honestly, so I try to keep the honesty in everything from makeup and hair to wardrobe," the director says. 'If I see a movie with some woman who's wearing something I know that character can't afford, I'm completely taken out. I keep thinking, -I know that jacket. I wanted that jacket. How can she afford that jacket?'"
With that idea in mind, Leah Katznelson viewed her job as helping tell the story through the clothes. 'I had to think about what these people's closets would look like," she says. 'I needed to know where they would shop and stay true to that, whether it's Barney's or K-Mart. Nicole Holofcener really feels strongly that she doesn't want the clothes to speak before the characters do. She wants us just to believe that that person exists."
Being in Southern California helped define the style for Leah Katznelson. 'Los Angeles is much more colorful and casual than other places," she notes. 'People wear flip flops and sandals year round. Jeans and t-shirts are acceptable clothing at lunch. I tried to infuse that California lifestyle into the clothes."
For Eva, a massage therapist who treats her clients in their homes, which meant practicality and comfort had to come first. 'She is often in yoga pants and sensible shoes, because she's carrying a heavy table," says the costume designer. 'We personalised her look by layering jewelry. She collects pieces from meditation retreats and her travels. She repeats those a lot and it became a very important part of her character."
On the other hand, Marianne, who represents an elevated version of Eva, is draped in diaphanous fabrics and dazzling colors. 'She's looks like what you imagine a poet would," says Leah Katznelson. 'Other women see her and think -how come she looks so great in that,' it's just a pajama top. But on her it looks amazing. We used lots of silks and chiffon for her."
Tavi Gevinson may be a fashion icon in her real life, but her film character is an average teen and her wardrobe had to reflect that. 'She is so well known in the fashion world as being quirky and experimental with her clothing," says Leah Katznelson. 'But we wanted to make sure that when people watch the film, they don't see Tavi. They need to see Chloe, who is an artsy, intelligent kid with a creative side. We pulled back from some of the bolder fashion choices that she makes to make it more accessible to real teenagers."
Determined to ensure the correct look for the characters' clothes and surroundings, Nicole Holofcener went as far as to literally take the shirt off her back for Julia Louis-Dreyfus to wear in one scene. She also lent some of her personal paintings and accessories for use on set. 'We used quite a few of her items," says Keith Cunningham. 'In Eva's home, there are a couple of paintings that were done by Nicole Holofcener's father, as well as a bright beautiful landscape in Marianne's that we used along with some throws and pillows that were very colorful."
With her fifth feature film under her belt, Nicole Holofcener says she still feels fortunate to be on set, coaxing her characters to life. 'I love directing my own material," she says. 'If a scene is no good, it's my fault. And if it's really good, it's mine, too. If something turns out to be weak, I change it. We rewrite all the time in the middle of scene."
Overall, Nicole Holofcener says she just feels lucky she gets to make movies. 'I feel like I'm really utilising all the good parts of me," she concludes. 'It's all-encompassing, but I'm having fun. I just hope other people are having as much fun as me"although they're probably not, because some of them are carrying heavy things."
Release Date: November 14th, 2013