Nancy Meyers Reveals Why It Was So ‘Hard’ To Get ‘The Intern’ Made: ‘It Was Very Frustrating and Disheartening’

It takes a lot to get a movie from screenplay to the big screen. Filmmaker-producer-writer Nancy Meyers knows this. Her career spans decades but she says it’s one of her newer works that proved to a major challenge. Out of all of her movies, the 70-year-old considers The Intern the hardest one to get made. 

Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, and Nancy Meyers at the U.K. premiere of 'The Intern'
Anne Hathaway, Robert De Niro, and Nancy Meyers at the U.K. premiere of The Intern | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Nancy Meyers is behind many popular movies

She may not be one of the richest movie directors but Meyers is responsible for many successful movies. She directed Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in The Holiday as well as Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt in What Women Want

Meyers is also behind other popular romantic comedies such as Something’s Gotta Give starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton as well as It’s Complicated with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin. 

Then of course there are her hits of the ‘90s that are now considered new classics by many. Father of the Bride, Father of the Bride Part II, and Disney’s 1998 remake of The Parent Trap, which launched Lindsay Lohan’s film career.  

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The director got the idea for ‘The Intern’ while filming another movie

During an interview with Vulture Meyers shared that the idea for The Intern came to her while filming It’s Complicated

“I was driving to work one day, and for the life of me I don’t know why, but I got this idea: What if an older person took a job as an intern? It just made me laugh,” she said. 

“And then it became, well, who’s the guy? And then who would he work for? A woman just seemed like a logical good idea — never for a second did I ever want it to be romantic,” she added. 

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The Intern follows 70-year-old Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) as he becomes a senior intern at a fashion site run by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). 

‘Giant change’ made it ‘hard’ to get ‘The Intern’ off the ground

Asked if The Intern was especially difficult to get made the filmmaker said, “Oh, yes. Oh, harder than any other movie I’ve written.”

Offering up details, Meyers said a lot had changed in the film industry in the span of six years.

“My last movie was in 2009, and it’s just been a giant change between 2009 and 2015,” she said. “I come along with a movie about a 70-year-old man working for a 30-year-old woman. You know, I can’t get Channing Tatum in this.”

“And there are no really big women movie stars except for a couple of obvious ones that get movies made. The rest of them all fight for the same few parts,” she added.

Nancy Meyers at a screening of 'The Intern'
Nancy Meyers at a screening of The Intern| Ben Gabbe/FilmMagic

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Meyers continued, saying she spent years trying to get a studio to jump at The Intern

“It’s a very competitive world, studio against studio,” she said. “They met with me, we talked about it, but I didn’t get the green light. That went on for a couple of years. It was very frustrating and disheartening.”

Eventually, Warner Bros. agreed to make the movie and Meyers felt as if she’d “slipped in.” 

“I think Warner Bros. looked at their slate, and I think they felt that they needed a little diversity: ‘Let’s have one of these.’ I felt I slipped in. I’m forever in their debt because I was going to bury it in my backyard,” she added, noting she was actually going to bury the script in her backyard. 

The Intern hit theaters on Sept. 15, 2015. According to Box Office Mojo, it made $154 million worldwide on a budget of $35 million. Not only was it a commercial success but it added more of Meyers’ enviable interiors. 

What’s next for Nancy Meyers? 

In 2020, Meyers gave Father of the Bride fans a reunion of sorts. The Banks family came together for a 25-minute Father of the Bride 3 (ish) special that’s available to watch on YouTube.

As for the director’s next feature film, she has nothing announced or in the works. Until her next movie, fans of hers can stream her movies on various platforms including Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.

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