For NYT Writer, ‘Everything Is Copy’ Including Mom
Being the son of Nora Ephron and Carl Bernstein has advantages and disadvantages to Jacob Bernstein. On the one hand, when he started to make his documentary study of his mother, “Everything Is Copy,” “we were very lucky,” he reports. Bernstein reached out to Graydon Carter, the Vanity Fair editor who had backed “The Kid Stays in the Picture” and other docs. “He seemed the right person, his movies looked great, he brought a lot of value. And he said, ‘let’s go to HBO.’” The doc got financing almost immediately.
On the other hand, Bernstein says: “I had to be good or I would be the talentless son of Nora Ephron. Who wants to be that? She set the bar high. You try to be aware of the fact that there may be a route that’s neither Bobbi Kristina Brown nor Ben Stiller. You find your middle ground.”
Bernstein saw the doc format as a continuance of his work at the New York Times, plus he is familiar with the subject: the late writer-director who was behind such smashes as “When Harry Met Sally,” “Heartburn” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
He didn’t want to write a book because “nothing was better than what she wrote,” he says. “I felt that a documentary made a lot of sense because it allowed her to be the star.” Borrowing from her essays, he used archival clips and was able to interview his family and her friends as well.
“I don’t believe in closure. I saw the movie as a continuance. I got to live with my mother for two and a half years, watching old clips and viewing archival footage. It was harder letting it go.”
But now he’s developing a few other projects, including one on children with Alexandra Shiva (“How to Dance in Ohio”). This time around the path is more difficult. “I thought if this got some good reviews, it would be easy, but I’m finding otherwise.”
— Shalini Dore