THE PARENT TRAP
No writing/directing/producing duo in American film today has enjoyed more success than NANCY MEYERS (Director/Screenplay by) and partner Charles Shyer
No writing/directing/producing duo in American film today has enjoyed more success than NANCY MEYERS (Director/Screenplay by) and partner Charles Shyer. They have fashioned a series of romantic comedies unparalleled in their blending of classic Hollywood style with a contemporary social perspective. Marked by crisp dialogue and solid structure, their hits include "Private Benjamin" (1980); the critically acclaimed "Irreconcilable Differences" (1984); "Baby Boom" (1987); 1991's holiday blockbuster "Father of the Bride," and its hugely successful sequel "Father of the Bride, Part II" (1995).
Born in Philadelphia and educated at American University in Washington, D.C., Meyers moved to Los Angeles in 1972 as a story editor for Rastar Productions before teaming up with Shyer in 1979. The first script they wrote was "Private Benjamin," which Meyers also produced. Counter to conventional wisdom at the time that a female lead with no male star to back her up was box office poison the story of a pampered young woman who joins the Army was a huge hit, with a worldwide gross of over $150 million dollars.
The screenplay for "Private Benjamin" won Meyers and Shyer the Writers' Guild of America Award, and the film earned three Oscar¨ nominations, including one for Best Original Screenplay. Goldie Hawn was nominated as Best Actress for her performance as the spoiled young woman who discovers her own independent spirit in the Army; and Eileen Brennan received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her slyly comic turn as Hawn's nemesis. The film was also nominated for a spate of Golden Globe Awards, including one for Best Picture Comedy or Musical and another for Hawn as Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical.
Meyers and Shyer went on to write "Irreconcilable Differences," with Shyer directing and Meyers producing. Shelley Long and Ryan O'Neal played a Hollywood couple whose obsession with success destroys their relationship with their daughter, played by eight-year-old Drew Barrymore. Critics praised the film's evenhanded treatment of both main characters and its sensitive updating of '30s comedy style. Roger Ebert called it "A triumph of imagination ... one of the funnier and more intelligent movies of 1984 ..." The film also introduced Sharon Stone in her first major screen role, as the manipulative actress who steals O'Neal's affections. Like "Private Benjamin," "Irreconcilable Differences" received multiple Golden Globe nominations, including one for Shelley Long as Best Actress and Drew Barrymore for Best Supporting Actress.
"Baby Boom" (with Meyers producing and Shyer directing once again), tackled many of the central questions about women's choices in a new, more equal world all in the form of comedy. Ebert praised its "hard-edged satire [and] literate charm." Diane Keaton played J.C. Wiatt, a high-powered executive who unexpectedly finds herself saddled with a baby. Like Rosalind Russell's Hildy Johnson in "His Girl Friday," the Wiatt character became a film prototype of the career woman of the 1980s. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Picture Comedy or Musical, and Keaton was also nominated as Best Actress in the same division.
In 1991, Meyers and Shyer, working from earlier material for the first time, remade the 1950 Vincente Minnelli classic "Father of the Bride." (Once again, the duo wrote the screenplay, with Shyer directing an
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