Directors on Their Teams: Nicole Holofcener on ‘Enough Said’
In her fifth film, Fox Searchlight’s “Enough Said,” Nicole Holofcener wrote and directed a tale of middle-age romance, which is full of charm but has plenty of heartbreak as well. The film stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini as two people who are surprised to find that they are attracted to each other. Filmed on a budget of $8 million over 24 days, Holofcener wanted the film to look real, without the typical romcom beautiful homes and expensive wardrobes. She wanted the characters to wear clothes, not costumes. Here she talks about her script and her collaborators.
Editing: Robert Frazen
He’s edited my last four movies. We met in the editing room for (the 2001) “Lovely and Amazing” and he’s done them all since. He understands me the most and his contribution is enormous. He was not the first editor on this movie because he’s actually my boyfriend and to preserve our homelife, I wanted to work with someone else. But that didn’t work out. We never have to talk about anything. He knew exactly what to keep, what to get rid of. If anything, he’s more loyal to the script and to me than I am. I want to cut things out and he’ll find a way to keep it. There were a few scenes I thought were going to have to go. After their first date, (the characters played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini) go to a yoghurt store and everyone wanted that scene out, they didn’t think it was needed. But I felt (cutting it) would make their courtship too short. He found a way to cut that scene and make it charming and indispensible.
Cinematography: Xavier Perez Grobet
We worked together on “Enlightened” (the HBO Mike White-Laura Dern series). He gets really involved in the story, really cares about each scene and its content. He made the movie look beautiful and together we found the best way to express what each scene is about. He’s very passionate and hilarious. And the crew loved him, which is important, for him to have a really strong team that supports him and ultimately supports me. It was a true collaboration. He’s really talented and we didn’t have a lot of money or time. He took care of the middle-age folk (laughs), but in a natural way. No Vaseline on the lens, but made everyone feel safe, they trusted he would make them look their best under the circumstances of the story.
Costume design: Leah Katznelson
She had her work cut out for her. Between my ideas, the studio’s ideas, the actors’ ideas, she worked her butt off. She was incredibly creative and gracious under pressure. I could rely on her completely. Before production, I did say I want them dressed like real people, not wearing party dresses and high heels and fancy purses. I wanted Catherine Keener to look glamorous but in a bohemian way. And Leah got that. She made each character look very different and natural.
Script: Nicole Holofcener
I did probably three drafts. It was thrilling when Julia and Jim for the first time were reading my lines out loud in my living room, I had to pinch myself. It was incredibly rewarding. But once we started preproduction and I started working with the actors, it was constantly changing. It stayed close to the story, but evolved, mostly in dialog, and in moments within each scene. I don’t get too precious about what I wrote, not if (the actors) make it better and it’s more comfortable for them. I just want the work to be the best and I want smart people’s input.