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THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT

Conception and Delivery
Q: The ampersand in the credits of The Kids Are All Right would seem to indicate that you wrote this script together. Is that the case?

Stuart Blumberg [screenwriter]: We've been very close. Hated each other. Really liked each other. Taken naps together when we were tired.

Lisa Cholodenko [screenwriter/director]: It was a long process; it took us over four years.

SB: We've gone through it together. I wouldn't call it brother/sister –

LC: Our history was, we were acquaintances for many years in New York –

SB: We always got along really well. I had met Lisa through a mutual friend, and we became friendly.

LC: We ran into each other in a coffee shop in Los Angeles, and Stuart asked what I was doing. I told him that I was writing this script, but I had just started and I was into writer's block, and what was he doing?

[My second feature film] Laurel Canyon had been released; I was doing some [directing for] television. But I really wanted to write an original screenplay; everything that I was reading that was being sent to me was just not areas where I wanted to go. I felt that I'd already started this process of doing more personal work; where I felt comfortable was with more character-identified scripts.

SB: She said, "I want to write a mainstream movie about moms who have kids and sperm donors,” and I said, "That's funny, because I want to do something more like [the movies] you do;” something more indie.

LC: I kind of pitched him the idea. He for his own reasons had an interest in it –

SB: I was a sperm donor in college.

LC: I had friends who had been on all sides of that equation, and my partner and I were trying to get pregnant. There had been a lot of stories about donor kids – in The New York Times, on 60 Minutes – and those kids are now coming of age. That's a brave new world for families.

So while Stuart thought it would be fun to go for the more indie flavor, I thought it would be interesting for this project to bring in somebody who had a more commercial sensibility. We figured this could be a good marriage.

SB: Neither one of us had written anything collaboratively before.

LC: We got together the next day and decided to try.

Q: Did you just start writing scenes, or went at it another way?

SB: We spent months on the outline, months on the first draft. We sat side by side for months on end, pounding it out together. Every single scene, character, line was reworked at least 10 times.

LC: We worked the script to the bone. We asked each other questions about these characters, shaped them, and put them into contrast with each other. When I felt like the script was veering into the superficial, or politically correct, we would rein it back in.

SB: It was an interesting dynamic; men and women are different. I loved working with Lisa. Sometimes I'd sit at the computer and be like, "Okay, I've only got so much time, so let's get started,” but she'd be like, "No, no, tell me about your weekend. What happened?” "We really have to start.” "No, no, we need to process.”

LC: When I would lament to my partner that I didn't know if the script was any good, she'd say, "Keep writing ‘til you break your own heart. If it's resonating with you, it's on the right track.”

Stuart and I had been writing for about a year and a half, and I was simultaneously trying to get pregnant – which I did. We thought we could make the film and get it all done before I had the baby. There was a first incarnation of the film; we tried to get the production up in 2005-2006.

That didn't exactly time out. By the time the financing came together, I was too

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