How Nancy Meyers and Her Daughter Are Paving the Way for Women in Hollywood
4% of film directors in Hollywood are women, according to a study from the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg. In an industry dominated by men, it's incredibly inspiring to see more and more female filmmakers, so we were especially excited to hear about a movie that was produced, written, and directed by two women who also happen to be a cool mother-daughter duo. We sat down with Nancy Meyers and her daughter, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, to hear them discuss their newest film starring Reese Witherspoon, Home Again (out today in theaters), and share what it was like to work together.
Though some moms and daughters may not be able to work together without delivering a family feud worthy of a feature-length film, Meyers and Meyers-Shyer prove that it can be a positive experience. "People think it's going to be hard because mothers and daughters don't supposedly get along," Meyers tells MyDomaine. But "I don't think that's so true. I think mothers adore their moms, and I think daughters adore their moms."
The trust you have in this relationship is just so beyond anything you'll have with anyone else.
In fact, on the set of a family dramedy, their dynamic proved to be a professional asset. "The fact that we were mother and daughter made for a nice atmosphere on set. I think everybody felt comfortable knowing that we were related … because we all sort of became like a family," says Meyers-Shyer. She jokes that people would often say, "The two of you can communicate without even speaking," which can boost efficiency in a fast-paced work environment and give actors real-time, real-life inspiration.
"The producer, in some ways, is like a parent—you know, making sure everything's okay," Meyers weighs in, explaining how her role as a caretaker played out on a few levels during this project. Meyers produced the film, while Meyers-Shyer wrote and directed it. It's the first set that Meyers worked on without having penned the screenplay herself, which she did for Private Benjamin, Father of the Bride, The Parent Trap, The Holiday, It's Complicated, and Something's Gotta Give, among others.
The fact that we were mother and daughter made for a nice atmosphere on set
The relationship also worked well because, as Meyers explains, "the trust you have in this relationship is just so beyond anything you'll have with anyone else," Meyers says about her bond with her daughter. And that deep level of trust can be incredibly valuable during a seminal moment in one's career development. It also doesn't hurt that Home Again employs plenty of humor to ease any tension because "when you're not laughing together," while working on a comedy, "it's a problem."
Watch the video below to hear the full conversation between these two talented women.
Have you seen Home Again in theaters yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share any insight you have about working with family members too.