Noah Baumbach: 'Laura Dern inspired me to write her key Marriage Story speech'

Laura Dern's speech about double standards between mothers and fathers received spontaneous applause on the film festival circuit.

Noah Baumbach was inspired to write Laura Dern's standout monologue in Marriage Story following multiple discussions with the actress.

In one scene in Baumbach's new drama, Dern as divorce lawyer Nora delivers an impassioned monologue to her client, Scarlett Johansson's character Nicole, about how mothers will always be "held to a different, higher standard" than fathers, and concludes her rant with, "It's f**ked up, but that's the way it is."

During an interview as part of BAFTA's Screenwriters' Lecture Series, Baumbach was asked about the scene, which received spontaneous applause on the film festival circuit, and he said it helped to have the Big Little Lies star involved in the movie before he wrote the screenplay.

"A lot of the impetus for that scene came from talking to Laura 'cause Laura, Adam (Driver), and Scarlett... I'd had involved in the movie even before I was writing it," he explained. "We were talking about (the character) even from an actor's perspective, of like, what got her into this job in the first place, what is you know, it wasn't always Machiavellian... so it was the sort of notion that she got into it to crusade for people and for women in particular and I thought, 'Well then, we should hear that,' that should come forward.

"Working on that scene with Laura was amazing too because there were so many ways to envision it. And I would just say, 'Why don't you say it now like you're having these ideas for the first time, why don't you say it now like it's prepared, why don't you try it now like you get angrier as you tell it and one that it's almost cathartic as you...' And she could just dial it in and out and so that was just one of those fun days at work."

The director also credited his partner and frequent screenwriting collaborator, Greta Gerwig, for having discussions about the speech while he was working on the screenplay and being involved in the project in an unofficial capacity.

Marriage Story is now streaming on Netflix.

© Cover Media

Tell us what you think...

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
2 + 7 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.