Love & Other Drugs: Interview with director Edward Zwick

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Edward Zwick is the director of "Love & Other Drugs," starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. The film is being released by Twentieth Century Fox on November 24. 

“LOVE & OTHER DRUGS presents two people who are desperate not to go to a deeper, more profound place in their connection to one another,” says Zwick. “But their appeal to each other and the nature of the love are so powerful they defeat the couple’s impulses to resist connecting. Jamie and Maggie just can’t help but fall in love no matter how much they try to avoid it. They surrender to something stronger than their intentions. And that’s fun to watch because it provides comedy and emotion.”

 

Drawing from experience

 

“I think many people had forgotten that I started my career with stories of this intimate nature, especially on television, whether it was thirtysomething or My So-Called Life,” says Zwick.  “Since I hadn’t played with this voice in movies in a long time, when this opportunity materialized, I was drawn to it. I am interested in what is epic in the personal; sometimes the smaller struggles loom just as large with stakes that are just as high.”

 

Working with Hathaway and Gyllenhaal

 

“I think one of the joys of doing what I do,” confides Zwick, “is finding and working with people whose gifts are only coming into their full flower; I think that can be said of both Jake and Annie’s work in LOVE & OTHER DRUGS.  I was the ‘midwife’ to that moment, and allowed it to happen.  And they were not just extraordinarily brave and open with me; they were remarkable with each other.”

 

Zwick says the roles of Jamie and Maggie represent significant steps for the two actors.  “[As Jamie] Jake’s not just romantic, interesting and charming, he’s enormously funny.  Jake’s sense of humor is nothing new to those who’ve known him socially, but up to now we’ve never quite had the opportunity to see that on film. He has a great leading man quality and is extraordinarily at ease, and that comes of maturity and experience.  Jake’s work in this film allows us to witness a younger actor become a leading man, and that’s very exciting for a filmmaker and, I think, an audience. 

 

“Anne has long been taking extraordinary risks with her performances in films like Rachel Getting Married [for which she was Oscar-nominated] and through her work in Shakespeare in the Park,” Zwick continues.  “Maggie in LOVE & OTHER DRUGS is another in a series of brave choices she has made again and again.  Anne reveals yet another aspect of her talents, takes more risks and pushes more of her boundaries.

 

“I think there’s great pleasure to be taken not only in experiencing these moments in Jake and Anne’s professional lives but also seeing how they combust on screen with one another.  These are two actors who worked opposite one another on Brokeback Mountain, who knew each other, who had real fondness and trust and confidence and faith in each other as well as great delight.”

 

Finding the humor in intimacy

 

“Sexual and intimate situations can be very funny,” says Zwick. “I think audiences will be surprised by the revealing situations in which we discover that humor.  Chemistry is something that is very hard to talk about and, like love and attraction, it is unpredictable; but you know it when you see it.  It’s not just that Anne and Jake are intrinsically funny and deeply smart and emotional not to mention attractive, but they share another quality that I think is possibly more important — they’re both very brave.  Some of the scenes and some of the choices that I asked of them demand that bravery, and the more I saw it the more I feel willing to ask it.”

 

“What’s most pleasing is how people relate to it,” says Zwick. “They see something of themselves in the Jamie-Maggie relationship, which describes something people have, want to have, or something they once had and lost.  When you tell a story that’s this personal, this kind of response is very gratifying.”