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HOLOFCENER, NICOLE: Walking and Talking

Nicole Holofcener was miserable enough to write a Walking and Talking script, she tells PAUL FISCHER.

"Makes you somehow feel ... that you can take all this bullshit, and somehow turn it into something artistic."

It seemed to be a case of art imitating life when first-time writer/director Nicole Holofcener set out to write her first feature film, Walking and Talking, a female buddy flick that deals with the harsh realities of friendship and relationships. "I was inspired to tell this story, because it was the kind of thing I was going through at the time I began writing it", the director explains from her Los Angeles home. "I guess writing about the miseries of your life makes you somehow feel that you can put a handle on it, or that you can take all this bullshit, and somehow turn it into something artistic." The ‘bullshit’ she refers to is the interminable dating game. "I was pretty lonesome and trying out all these different relationships I found was so tiring."

Walking and Talking explores the changing relationship between two life-long friends. Catherine Keener plays Amelia, a single woman approaching 30 who is dating unsuccessfully and sharing her disaster tales with her best friend Laura (Anne Heche). Laura's a therapist involved in a long relationship with Frank (Todd Field), who finally pops the question, causing Laura to start fantasising about her patients and Amelia to wonder if she should really quit therapy. Amelia tries to confide in her former lover Andrew (Live Schreiber), but he's too involved in a phone sex relationship with a girl in California. Desperate, she turns to the socially skewed Bill (Kevin Corrigan), a video store clerk with a gory movie fascination. While aspects of this film are loosely autobiographical, Holofcener admits that expressing her innermost thoughts were not exactly cathartic. "Though it does help to be able to laugh at yourself."

"I think she would have been huge anyway" Holofcener on Anne Heche

Holofcener, a graduate film student from New York's Columbia University, never worried about selling the script - but not her services as a director. "Nobody ever said to me: we'll take your script but not you as director. The script was never considered such an overtly commercial proposition to begin with." It took her a number of years to raise the finance, and the film received warm reviews when released last year. The movie also introduced audiences to young actress Anne Heche, recently embroiled in controversy over her relationship with gay actress Ellen DeGeneres. "I think she would have been huge anyway", Holofcener says modestly. As to all the recent publicity surrounding Heche's sexuality, the director was not surprised. "When I knew her, I had the feeling she was into anything. I always felt that she had an attraction to women."

By the way, her one-time miserable life has since turned around. "I'm now happily married and pregnant. I don't think I would have been able to write this script now." She hopes to be back at work directing by the middle of next year, but in the meantime, to pay the bills, she’s "doing script re-writes for studios, which not only pays really well, but is teaching me a lot about writing."

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Images from Walking and Talking

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CAST: Catherine Keener, Anne Heche, Live Schreiber, Todd Field, Kevin Corrigan, Randall Batinkoff, Joseph Siravo

DIRECTOR: Nicole Holofcener

PRODUCER: Ted Hope, James Schamus

SCRIPT:Nicole Holofcener


EDITOR: Alisa Lepselter

MUSIC: Billy Bragg


RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes





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