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About The Production
When the notion of exploring an of-the-moment, R-rated story that turns the romantic comedy formula on its head landed on Ivan Reitman's desk, it didn't take long for the Oscar®-nominated veteran filmmaker to see the cinematic potential in the premise.

Reitman says, "I had been working with [screenwriter] Elizabeth Meriwether for about three years, and every evolution of the script gave me something that I really responded to. I felt, ‘Here's a story about characters, about people dealing with a very contemporary dilemma.' Interesting people, very funny people, speaking frankly about love and sex. And I just fell in love with it.”

Elizabeth Meriwether explains, "I was really into the idea of a love story that started with a kiss instead of ending with one. That's what happens in real life sometimes and as someone who loves romantic comedies, I wanted to write one that felt modern.”

"I think the compelling idea here is the concept that contemporary young adults have a much easier time having immediate sex with a partner than having a romantic relationship—a true emotional involvement with someone,” continues Ivan Reitman. "That's what interested me. A little over 20 years ago, ‘When Harry Met Sally' asked the question whether a man and a woman could be friends without sex getting in the way. Frankly, I think the question today is, ‘Is it possible for a man and woman to have a purely sexual relationship without emotions getting in the way?'”

An emerging playwright in New York, Meriwether seemed like the perfect voice for her generation, one that is smart, savvy and technologically engaged. Montecito Pictures producer Jeffrey Clifford took the initial meeting with Meriwether. Explains Clifford, "After our first meeting and getting the sign-off from Ivan, Elizabeth went away and came back with a script. It was her writing from her heart and experience, and when the script came in, it was one of those rare times where you know immediately it's going to be a movie. Liz has a unique voice, and the script crackles and has a sense of humor that is subversive and completely distinct.”

Reitman (who had just come off of producing the multi-award-winning "Up in the Air” with his son, filmmaker Jason Reitman) offers a very simple reason why he wanted to return to directing: "I got inspired. I loved the work Jason did as the writer/director of ‘Up in the Air' and it reminded me how much I love telling stories—creating movies with good ideas, ones that are all about character and performance. I had mostly been doing bigger films with lots of special effects, and basically, I got jealous. And as Liz's script was evolving, I thought, ‘Well, here's an opportunity for me to do that kind of a comedy.'”

Meriwether's motivation was to write a movie that depicts the ins-and-outs of modern relationships: "The chronology of a lot of people's relationships starts with hooking up and immediately goes to a place of not knowing what's going to happen. The hook up then happens a couple more times, so you have a discussion to determine whether or not it's something real, and that's the way it goes. We're used to seeing romantic comedies where they fall in love, kiss and then suddenly, they're expected to be together and know exactly what to do.”

Instead, the premise of the film felt like an opportunity to explore an idea that (on paper, at least) seems like a logical and perhaps even an ideal arrangement. The screenwriter even confesses, "This movie is a bit of wish fulfillment for me—the idea that you could sit down and agree that you're only going to have a physical relationship and if anything else develops, you can abandon ship.”

Lead female character Emma doesn't really want anything to get in her way, especially not romance. She is not a relationship girl, and she avoids them like the plague. As a doctor in-residence, she goes nonstop, often working 80 hour weeks with back-to-back shifts. She values honesty and efficiency, and she also likes to have sex. So, the sex-on-demand arrangement is the perfect answer. Per the screenwriter: "Emma is not a girly girl and wants to approach life very logically. She just wants to have fun and doesn't want to put any pressure on a relationship, because that's when people can turn into ‘weird versions of themselves.'”

Leading male Adam is a man who has always had an easy time with women and adopts a carefree approach to life. The son of an ex-television star a bit past his prime, Adam has an ease with women and is no stranger to hooking up. After his latest relationship with girlfriend Vanessa breaks up, he is confounded to find her hanging around, but now with a new boyfriend at her side. Meriwether continues, "After Adam learns that his father is dating his ex-girlfriend, he realizes that maybe he has been too nice and too open. He begins to see emotional availability as a dangerous idea. At this point he just wants to shut the door and mess around.”

And that's just what they do—they mess around. A lot.

After a spontaneous hook up one morning that takes both Emma and Adam by surprise, the two agree to explore the idea of a "no strings attached” relationship. They agree to use each other strictly for sex and remain friends without any of the other complications that usually accompany a relationship.

When asked if he undertook any research for the film, Ivan Reitman laughs and says, "Well, I was fortunate in that Liz Meriwether, who's still in her 20s, was smack in the middle of the technological and generational moment. As both a participant and an observer, she has a very keen eye and ear for the little rituals of contemporary dating.” But he admits that he sometimes took his ‘research' home with him: "Look, I have three children all in their 20s, who are or have been going through this experience. I'd like to think of myself as an observer and a watcher as well. I think all of that helped to contribute to the sense of familiarity and reality that is represented in the film.” Looking for a Couple of Sex F(r)iends

When it came to finding the right actress for the role of the intellectual and emotionally unavailable Emma, the filmmakers stuck gold when Oscar®-nominated actress Natalie Portman signed on. Key to Portman was the intelligence of the script, and she applauded the notion of a romantic comedy that wasn't dumbed down. "I feel like romantic comedies are often about the girl who has a job at a magazine or in fashion getting a makeover, but this movie is about people that we all know,” says Portman.

In addition to the untraditional premise of the script, Portman also appreciated Meriwether's character development and her depiction of women. "Liz has a real ear for characters. Each character truly has its own voice—she allows women to be hilarious, interesting and have full ideas, along with the men.”

After an initial meeting with Meriwether about another project—but where she heard about the basic premise for "No Strings Attached” and expressed interest— Portman stayed in the loop during the development phase, which helped Meriwether flesh out the character while keeping Natalie in mind. Meriwether was excited by the notion of writing a comedic character that audiences had never seen Portman inhabit. "We haven't seen Natalie have as much fun as I think she has had in this role. Throughout her amazing career, we've seen her rule empires and shoot laser guns and run around in the subways as a revolutionary, among other things, so I've loved making her do silly things. It's fun to see her be a bit s


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