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IN GOOD COMPANY

Production Information
Director Paul Weitz is admittedly drawn to material that examines life's surprises, ironies and coincidences, which he, along with his brother and collaborator, Chris Weitz, successfully explored with their Academy Award-nominated screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's About a Boy (which they also co-directed).

Intrigued by the non-traditional father/son relationship, illustrated in the drama with- comedy About a Boy and earlier in the comedy-with-heart American Pie (his directorial debut with Chris), Weitz, who wrote the original script for In Good Company, returns to that premise…but with a different, albeit compelling, set of circumstances. The ever-changing economic landscape of corporate mergers, failing dot-coms and global conglomerates that has dominated the news over the past several years proved to be the perfect chaotic world in which to set his screenplay.

Says Paul Weitz, "In approaching In Good Company, I really wanted to attempt a film in the vein of Billy Wilder, which in some ways About a Boy had been. About a Boy was such an English film, though, and I now wanted to approach particularly American myths and look at, to some extent, how economic trends affect individual lives. Wilder was able to balance cynicism and optimism, particularly with films like The Apartment— he really captured the collision of the American dream and our tendency towards career ambition and how that balances with being a human. And that's something that's still very much present in our landscape today.”

After almost six months of refining and researching his initial idea for the screenplay and conferring with his brother Chris (who serves as a producer on the film), Paul had fashioned a very human story of the unlikely relationship between two men who find their satisfying, status quo existences disrupted by the startling truth that they no longer have any control over both the professional and personal sides of their lives. In the process, Weitz had artfully tapped into the emotional and economic zeitgeist that resounded with a multitude of people—the prevailing sentiment that, in this new world order of huge multinational corporations, nearly everyone has a story of a family member or friend who has been displaced, downsized or affected in some capacity…looking at a now commonplace national occurrence, the filmmaker had found a human story.

Weitz notes: "People related stories to me about relatives and friends, in mid-life, being fired or falling victim to corporate downsizing. And now these 50-somethings were looking for a job at a time when they had hoped to be hitting their stride, with plenty of work years left, or re-training to try to enter the workforce in a different line of work. All of that fed my idea about a 51-year-old suddenly finding himself, because of a takeover, the employee of a guy half his age and having to deal with the humiliation of that situation.”

But in typical Weitz fashion, the exploration of what could be a bleak turn in a character's life—treading prudently in new corporate terrain in hopes of keeping his job—is handled with gentle and character-driven humor. "Much like in Chekov, I find that anything that's at all serious, the way people usually deal with challenges in life is to laugh about them…if they're healthy at all. I don't find a separation between ‘drama' and ‘comedy,' it's really a question of the modulation of the comedy.”

For Chris Weitz, he found his usual working dynamic with his brother altered for this film. Chris Weitz: "Paul was really intent on telling this story, set in a world of downsizing and synergy as larger corporations take over smaller ones and control of people's lives. My first role was as his sounding board for ideas and sort of encourage him during the writing process. Actually being less involved on this project has been a bit<

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