Warner Brothers Pictures releases The Intern on September 25th, 2015.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Nancy and Anne, do you think that it's lonely at the top for women?
Nancy Meyers: You know, I never wouldíve thought of that. When you said it, I thought, thatís interesting. I donít know about you, Annie. It didnít strike me as any kind of loneliness as much asĖI can only write what I know, so I can imagine any man who would also have this company would need Ben. I donít necessarily think itís because sheís female. I think when youíre taking on a big thing like that, itís you. Youíre a one-man or one-woman band, so I didnít see it as lonely. I donít know if you felt that, playing it.
Anne Hathaway: Iím so relieved to hear you say that, because Iím like, I donít know how to answer that, that never occurred to me, am I bad actor? Did I not ask the right questions? I thought it was not because of a gender issue, but just because I think Jules is a private person, and I think that sheís so dedicated to her company, and she dreads the idea that anything in her personal life could impact her ability to do her job and keep the company going. She doesnít really have anyone to confide in. And then she meets Ben and their friendship develops organically, and she winds up opening up to him and taking his advice because she really, really respects him and itís really sound, excellent advice. And like I said, thatís not forced, it happens organically, so I just thought she was more isolated, what Nancy said, because of her position. One of the things I love about the movie is you know, Jules has so much heart and she builds an incredible structure and they have bones, but thereís no connective tissue in it, and nobody at the company knows how to build connective tissue, and thatís when Ben comes in, and he kind of figures out how to get everybody to connect to each other. And I just love that observation, that in this day and age, where we have the tools for communication at our disposal, weíre using them in such a way that sometimes isnít taking full advantage of them, or maybe thatís taking full advantage of them, but thatís not as effective as just having a one-on-one conversation. So I thought it was a great. Nancy made observations about how old school meets the new world, and each is made better because of the other.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Youíre such a great mentor to Anneís character in this movie. Was there any mentor in your life who really made an impact? And second thing, are you as technically-challenged with computers as Ben is?
Robert De Niro: Iím a little as technically-challenged, but Iím not far behind. No, I never had a mentor like that. I donít envy, but I do think thatís a great thing if you are lucky enough, especially if you are in a certain untenable situation, and you have a mentor whoíll change your life. They can do that. I mentored myself, in a lot of ways. I think itís a great thing, you know. And I like to give advice to younger people if they ask me. I have at times asked people who were further on in their careers, like Kazan or certain actors who were a generation ahead of me. I asked them what to look out for, blah blah, because I wanted to take a shortcut in some things. I donít want to have to experience something if I donít want to, if itís going to be a negative one. I would just get some words of advice. So I do that with people if they ask me. I donít volunteer it, but Iím certainly there if somebody I have some young friends who sometimes ask me stuff and I give it to them, my opinion of what the situation is.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, can you speak about collaborating with Nancy and share what you admire about her?
RDN: Iím used to doing movies that took as much time as our movie did. Iím from that generation, I donít know, it just stopped at a certain point, except certain types of big-type science fiction or those types of movies, but Nancy was very specific, you know, as far as tellingĖwe do things in a lot of takes at times, but for good reason. She was very specific about what she wanted, and I totally get that and understand it. It was terrific. These days, movies are doneĖdonít have the luxury of extremely long schedules or big budgets, unless you kind of just find yourself there, because youíre in it and you have to finish it, and itís going to take longer than everybody hoped it would.
AH: So, you look at Nancy and you see this tiny, adorable woman with awesome hair, and at least at first glance, I had no idea the tenacious, uncompromising, inexhaustible powerhouse that she is. Iím so lucky that i got to work with her on this, in terms of collaborationĖ-itís true, though. I admire you so much. I had admired you, and even now that Iíve made a movie with you, itís beyond. When we started, we saw the character in two different ways, and I wanted her to be wearing her stress more on her sleeve, and Nancy wanted Jules to kind of have it little bit more together. I kind of had this moment where I was like, okay, we see it different ways, am I going to feel so uncomfortable the entire time if Iím not following my instincts? And then I just thought to myself, idiot, who knows a Nancy Meyers character better than Nancy Meyers? These characters are beloved, theyíre beloved by you, trust her! So, it became this wonderful exercise in being guided through a character, which is very new for me. I felt like it was a true collaboration, and Nancy is the funniest person Iíve ever met, I think sheís probably the smartest person in any room sheís ever been in, and I imagine having been a woman in this industry for the last 30 years, itís not easy being the smartest, funniest person in the room, and being a woman, but sheís handled it with tremendous grace. And I think sheís underrated.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How much would you say that you enhanced each otherís lives and changed each otherís lives as characters? How would you say this speaks to different audiences, in terms of your characters? The young audience and the older audience.
RDN: I mean, she learns from him, even though heís older and all that, and we tend to sort of not disregard, but when people are getting older, theyíre kind of sidelined, in a way. The point is that heís someone very important, if you stop and look and listen, he has advice that only somebody whoíd been on the planet a lot longer can give. Itís really that simple, so she gets that from me, and my character, I get certain things from her. I wish I had said it more eloquently, but I guess thatís it.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How much would you say that you enhanced each otherís lives and changed each otherís lives as characters? How would you say this speaks to different audiences, in terms of your characters--both older and younger audiences?
AH: So thereís a joke that unfortunately got cut from the movie, but itís my favorite joke in the movieĖ [Laughs] So itís a scene where a characterís over at Benís house, and theyíre talking, and he puts his beer on the coffee table, and Ben looks down and he goes, ďWhy would you put your beer next to the coaster?Ē I just feel like my generation laughs because weíre really bad about using coasters, and Boomers laugh because itís a legit question. So thatís like, an example. I think so many of the jokes work both ways. Theyíre so satisfying. So in terms of what Jules gets from Ben, you know, it took me a long time to kind of crack Jules, because I kept looking for her deep, dark secret, and it turns out sheís just a really wonderful person on the inside, thatís actually the secret, her strength, thatís what makes her a good boss, is that sheís a deeply decent and nice person. And the reason the story is being told about her in this moment is sheís in a moment of unbelievable stress. And she had everything she needs to navigate this moment, except space and a compassionate ear. And thatís what Ben brings into her life, is a tremendous amount of compassion. And I donít know if itís generational thing or what, but I mean, I feel like thereís a lot of judgement in the world, particularly when people are in a more visible position, like Jules would be, as the CEO of a startup, where her business has grown so quickly. Thereís a lot of judgement for people who are in those kinds of positions, and Ben doesnít judge her, he just observes her and opens her, and gives her a safe space, full of compassionate understanding. And she thrives in it. And actually, he does that to a lot of people around him. And they all thrive as a result of it. And itís a simple thing, but itís not something we see very often in our world. And itís something that I think if we could see more of or perhaps contribute to, weíd see a lot of really positive results.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Robert, if you were to sit down with your character and got to know him, what questions would you like to know about him?
RDN: I would just ask him a lot of questions about their everyday habits, what they think about things, just on and on. Thatís what I would do.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Anne, what advice would you give your character to make her happier?
AH: Oh, god. Weíre the same age, I donít know that I have any authority to give her advice, necessarily. Honestly, like, by the end of the movie, Iím on her side. In the beginning, you would tell her make more time for [herself], but by the end, Jules really is doing the best she can, by the end of it, and I think sheís being authentic to herself and her feelings, I donít think sheís a dramatic person who craves confrontation, and sheís honoring that aspect of herself. By the end, I think sheís treated herself and everyone around her with respect. Oh, I know what advice I would give her. Value your assistant more. But, Ben gives her that advice so she doesnít need to hear it from me.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What, if anything, did each of you learn about yourself making this film, in the process?
RDN: I donít know if I learned anything about myself that I didnít know already. I had a very good time doing the film. You know, it was just a really terrific experience.
AH: I canít explain why it happened for me on this movie, if it was my character or the dynamic or just being around Bobís zen or what, but Ö Iíve made a lot of my movies from a place of insecurity and neuroses and self-doubt, and I just got really tired of it and decided to make one from a more positive place, and to feel good about what I was doing and embrace the unknown and not necessarily assume that if I didnít have a clear idea of how things just went, that it necessarily meant that it was bad. I could actually trust that the unknown could be good. So, I actually had a wonderful time making this movie, and I think it yielded a more relaxed performance, and Iím really proud of the work we all did out there, and what we created. And it turns out that you can make a movie without having like, nonstop sleepless nights.