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Casting The Film
While writing the script, Nancy Meyers kept Meryl Streep in mind for the role of the 50-something Jane, a successful mother and business owner who feels she has finally moved on from her divorce and is building the life she wants. Says Meyers: "I pictured Meryl in this part and I pictured her doing things that I would never have the guts to do. Thinking of Meryl pushed me as I wrote. Jane is definitely braver than I am, and it was fun writing that bravery and the choices she would make and the chances she would allow herself to take. As she says in the film, she ‘experimented with a part of herself.' I'd rather experiment with a character in a movie than actually make the choices she makes…but that's why she was so fun and engaging a character for me to write.”

Of having Streep sign on, Meyers shares: "She was the first person I went to, and I was thrilled beyond words that she wanted to do it. She's extraordinary; she's the most prepared actor I've ever worked with. Meryl doesn't just know her lines, she sees the movie as a whole—as a filmmaker would.”

Rudin agreed with Meyers that Streep would be the production's ideal Jane. He and Streep have had a long and rich history of working together that began in 1996 with Marvin's Room. "I can't imagine ever having a more exciting, ongoing collaboration with anyone than the one I've had with her,” he reflects. "She is simply the greatest actress on the planet. She brings every ounce of her talent to the set every day. One of the best things about my job is getting to sit in an editing room and watch take after take of what Meryl does.”

"The variety, the detail, the truthfulness and authenticity, the articulation—there's simply no one like her,” he continues. "Meryl's performance in this film has such ease and charm and wit, and her Jane is so endearing and brave that I just completely fall for her every time I see the movie. I've done so many movies with Meryl—and have seen her play everything from a nun to a fox—that I thought nothing she did could surprise me anymore; that's how familiar I am with her brilliance. But the way she makes Jane so ardent and openhearted and loving is miraculous. Everything she does in the part is completely lived-in; she just wraps herself up in the role.”

When she read the script, Streep was moved by the fact that Meyers had "tapped into something deep about families who've encountered divorce…or anybody who has been abandoned by someone they love.” Streep understood Jane as a woman who "had reached a point where, after the disruptions of a life, is having a good time.” She elaborates: "Her business is finally launched and successful, and she's reconciled herself to the divorce that ended her marriage 10 years before. Jane's embarking upon this big building project and interested in the architect of it. Things are looking great…until Jake re-enters her life.”

The actress believed that the comedy's setup was sensitive to, as she puts it, "forgotten women: women who don't see their lives played out the way they do in this film. There are no movies in which a woman, 10 years happily divorced, reignites a relationship with her ex. This is not a common occurrence in movies…or in life.”

Cast to play Jane's competing love interest was comic actor Steve Martin, who'd previously worked with Meyers on the Father of the Bride films. The director had been eager to write another role for him, and she penned Adam, a recently divorced architect who was struggling to let go of his past. "Steve is absolutely wonderful at light comedy,” says Meyers. "I knew this from working with him on Father of the Bride. He brings a tremendous warmth and ease to a movie. It was fantastic to watch the legendary Steve Martin play some of the smaller, more reserved moments in this movie. He found so much humor in the tiniest of moments. His

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