Noah Baumbach has told Sky News he cannot watch his latest film Marriage Story anymore.
The director of the movie, which is leading the Golden Globe nominations for 2020, says he can see his own work too many times – and his latest drama, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple going through a divorce, is no different.
“I’m already at that point,” he says. “With every movie I’ll watch it, depending on where we first premiere; with this one I watched it in Venice and then a couple more times with American audiences, and then I let it go.”
Baumbach may have let the film go but critics and academies have welcomed it, giving Marriage Story five-star ratings and awards recognition.
Marriage Story has already won Gotham Independent Film awards, New York Film Critics Circle awards and has been named one of the American Film Institute’s top 10 movies of the year.
It now also has six Golden Globe and several Critics’ Choice nominations.
Among the Golden Globe nods are acting nominations for Driver, Johansson and Laura Dern.
Baumbach says he loves all of his stars’ work on the film.
“What’s so gratifying for me about working with these actors is, there’s a line that someone said about poetry that it provides your own thoughts and feelings back to you with added majesty, and I feel like working with these actors does that for me,” he said.
“It’s like these scenes, you know, these lines, I give them the guidance that I give them and the structure to work within and then they bring so much of themselves to it, and you feel that in the movie.
“These scenes are very personal for them, in performance, and that’s the greatest thing to get as a director; to see that it makes it easier to watch my own movie.
“I mean, you watch your movie so many times over the course of editing it and finishing it and colour timing and sound mixing and checking the prints and making sure, and you get pretty sick of your own movie at a certain point, but I can watch these scenes in this one because of what they’re doing.”
Baumbach says he and Dern have been friends for a few years, and collaborated on her divorce lawyer character.
He says Dern “almost conquers her characters”, describing her as “a benign invasion in the movie, in a way”.
“I brought her in, in the very early stages of the movie because I knew her and I’d set up this character and Laura has gone through a divorce. So we would talk about many things together, about the character, but also just about the subject, about relationships, about life,” Baumbach says.
The film includes a monologue by Dern, in which she talks about the pressure women face because of the patriarchy.
Baumbach says this came from a conversation he had with the actress.
“Laura said at one point… talking about the divorce lawyer that she plays, that when [she] got into this profession, that this woman had, you know, wanted to protect people and protect particularly women that she felt the system was rigged against.
“And when she was talking about that, I was like, ‘well, yeah, let’s hear that then’, so then that gives me the idea to write that scene.
“And then, of course, knowing that Laura is going to play that scene… She’s said very generously that that monologue was a gift to her; I feel like it’s a gift to me, knowing that she’s going to then say these lines.”
The film, which is now streaming on Netflix, had a limited release in cinemas, which the filmmaker said allowed audiences to choose how to watch it.
“I do believe strongly that certain people are going to always want to see movies in theatres – and not just action movies,” says Baumbach.
“Movies like Marriage Story, I think on their terms, are equally important to see on the big screen and in a communal environment; I mean, laughing or having an emotional experience in a communal environment is entirely different than doing it at home.
“It’s not that watching things at home can’t be great, too. There’s an intimacy there, but you are more open, there’s no question that you’re more open when you’re watching a movie on the big screen and not holding a remote in your hand.”
Marriage Story is streaming now on Netflix