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FRIENDS WITH MONEY

A Conversation With Nicole Holofcene
Q: FRIENDS WITH MONEY is a very direct and honest movie about grown women dealing with issues of intimacy, friendship and self-worth. What inspired you to explore these issues through this particular set of characters?

Nicole Holofcener: I was struck by how often money comes up in relationships, how many conversations and problems it creates. That's the angle that inspired me first. But I don't think the movie is just about money - it's just that approaching it from that angle allowed me to ask myself questions I wouldn't normally ask about these characters. Everyone, regardless of background, has such powerful feelings about money and how it should be spent. I wanted to find a way to have that phenomenon placed against the backdrop of longtime friendships. When people have been friends for ages, they go through different stages of life together. And when you're in your mid-forties, you're supposed to be where you want to be, have the career you've worked for, the children you've wanted and the money you've earned. But what if not everyone reaches these goals at the same time? What if someone has become really rich, and their best friend is broke? What if all of your friends are married, and you're still having ridiculous, immature relationships? These kind of questions made me want to explore the themes for this movie.

Q: What is particularly striking is that you have four very well-regarded performers and they are mostly in very unglamorous situations – they look like they aren't wearing make-up, and the settings of the scenes, such as shopping, driving, having coffee – are deliberately ordinary. Why did you choose to render these women in such a realistic manner?

Nicole Holofcener: The characters are very real to me - some of them based – somewhat -- on very real people that I know. And frankly, the people I know don't wear a lot of make-up, don't run around in high heels and sexy clothes. We might put on a little make-up in the morning but by noon, it's gone. That's the look I wanted these women to have – a look I recognize and relate to. Thankfully, the actors were up for it, and generally even preferred it. As far as the locations were concerned, again, me and my friends don't go to Shutters for lunch, so it didn't even occur to me when I was writing the script that the locations should be glamorous.

Q: Frances plays Jane, a successful fashion designer with a child, married to an effeminate but very loving man, Aaron (Simon McBurney). She stops washing her hair during the course of the film, and has some very public meltdowns, including a painfully hilarious tirade against someone who cuts in front of her in line at Old Navy. How much of Jane's behavior do you think is a deliberate attempt to keep power in her life, and how much is her beginning to lose control?

Nicole Holofcener: I do believe that the more we confront our mortality (and realize we have no control over it), the more we try to control the ordinary, less crucial things in our lives. And when we realize we can't control most of those things either, we start to surrender to the limitations of our lives. Jane is in the process of doing just that in a very messy, dirty hair, tantrum throwing way. It's so interesting how many people relate to Jane's rage. So many of us are so pissed off at such stupid things. And when you reach your middle forties, I believe, you really start to realize that this is your life. It's not a rehearsal and it's probably not going to change enormously. You've possibly met your spouse, your children, your career. It's a very "this is it,” feeling, which can be thrilling and depressing at the same time.

Q: Christine and David are a screenwriting team, but from the outset they seem to have problems communicating. They seem to represent the extreme downside of trying to work and live with t

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