×

Hallie Meyers-Shyer on Creating ‘Home Again,’ Growing Up in Hollywood and Her Mom’s Kitchens

At a time when few romantic comedies make it to the big screen, Hallie Meyers-Shyer is a prime candidate to breathe new life into the genre.

The daughter of Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer is making her directorial debut with “Home Again,” produced by her mother and starring Reese Witherspoon. The movie centers on Alice (Witherspoon), a newly separated mother of two who moves to Los Angeles and encounters three millennial men — aspiring filmmakers — who temporarily move into her home. One of them, played by Pico Alexander, actively pursued her romantically.

Meyers-Shyer spoke to Variety about the intentions behind her first feature film, growing up in Hollywood, and why the internet is so obsessed with her mom’s kitchens. “Home Againhits theaters Sept. 8.

This movie centers on a relationship between an older woman and a younger man. Reese’s character is in no way the stereotype of a cougar — he initiates and is instantly infatuated with her. Where did the idea come from?

I really don’t like the word cougar. It’s just not a word in my vocabulary and certainly not one I would ever put on a character, or Reese. For me, this was not a movie about younger man-older woman relationship. She’s not even an older woman [laughs].

He was just the right person for her at that time and the fact that he was younger was less about I’m going to say something about this kind of younger man-older woman relationship and more that I just wanted these three young, millennial men to live in her house. I thought there would naturally be a romance there.

At one point Reese’s character talks about the difference between men and women. She says that men just make decisions, whereas women think about the consequences. I imagine you have to make a lot of decisions as a director. Is that an idea you’ve dealt with personally?

Well she’s kind of drunk in that scene, so it’s fun to have somebody who just breaks it down. I think it is true in a lot of ways. Men feel more comfortable making choices, and women are very thoughtful people, and we think about how it will affect people.

In terms of directing, it’s a little bit of both. That’s why it’s great to be a female director because women are thoughtful, and it’s a very thoughtful job. But you do have to make decisions, and I’m better at that now that I’ve directed a movie.

In one scene the boys meet with a group of Hollywood agents. The punch line is that two of the agents are named Jason. Is that a reflection of your experience in Hollywood?

For me it was more my personal experience as a writer, having those meetings. That’s some of the fun of writing where you get to make certain commentaries on your own personal experiences. And actually, we’ve been having premieres this week, and they all seem to think that scene is funny.

It plays well in the room?

Yeah, the agents love it.

Your cast, apart from one agent who is Asian, is basically all white. Was that a conscious decision?

I think it’s really important to be aware of that when you’re making movies. For me, I was serving an underserved audience here with women. But I absolutely think that’s important and I hope to have more diversity as I go on. It was a small cast.

Do you have a first memory of growing up in Hollywood?

I think my first memory was being on the “Father of the Bride” set. I was a flower girl in that movie. And I remember walking down the aisle. I remember being very uncomfortable, wanting to take my hair out. I like that my parents made us do that — it’s like having home videos of yourself, and it was a personal thing for their movies.

People obsess over the kitchens in your mom’s movies. There’s a very nice kitchen in “Home Again” as well. Was the kitchen a sacred space in your life growing up?

I don’t know where the kitchen obsession comes from. I really don’t.

So you don’t have a special attachment to kitchens?

She doesn’t. I don’t. It’s something other people have put on her. She has beautiful taste, so I do understand that. But I think there’s so much more there to comment on in her movies than the kitchens. They’ve been feminist films, and important movies that people have loved for so long. I think it’s because of the internet. People obsess over aspirational images now.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • THE-SONG-OF-NAMES

    Tim Roth, Clive Owen-Starrer 'The Song Of Names' To Close San Sebastian

    Starring Clive Owen and Tim Roth, Canadian François Girard’s historical drama “The Song of Names” will close the 67th San Sebastian Festival on Sept. 28. World premiering at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival as a Gala Presentation, “The Song of Names” will play out of competition at what will be its international premiere. Hanway Films [...]

  • Dogwoof Boards Venice-Bound Imelda Marcos Doc

    Dogwoof Boards Venice-Bound Imelda Marcos Documentary ‘The Kingmaker’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Dogwoof has boarded Lauren Greenfield’s “The Kingmaker,” about Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines. The hotly anticipated feature doc delves into the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and Imelda’s attempts to aid her son’s political career. It will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and then screen at [...]

  • Yao Chen in “Send Me to

    Cheng Cheng Films Nabs North American Rights to China's 'Send Me to the Clouds'

    New York-based distributor Cheng Cheng Films has acquired North American rights to first-time Chinese director Teng Congcong’s comedy drama “Send Me to the Clouds,” starring and produced by A-list actress Yao Chen. The company is planning a theatrical release for fall 2019. “Cheng Cheng has always championed films with strong female leads,” the firm said [...]

  • A White White Day

    Film Movement Brings ‘A White, White Day’ to the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

    OSLO  —  New-York based distributor Film Movement has acquired U.S. rights to critically-lauded Icelandic drama “A White, White Day,” today’s opening film at New Nordic Films in Haugesund. In a separate deal, sales agent New Europe Film Sales has closed French-speaking Canada with Funfilm and English-speaking Canada with Game Theory. Hlynur Pálmason’s sophomore pic, “A [...]

  • (from left) Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)

    Korea Box Office: ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Topples ‘Exit,’ ‘Roar to Victory’  

    Opening on Wednesday, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. Showing on some 1,311 screens nationwide, the UPI release earned $15.1 million from 2.03 million admissions over five days. That included the four-day National Liberation Day weekend. “The Battle: Roar to Victory” remained in second. The [...]

  • Tracy Morgan Netflix stand-up special

    Film News Roundup: Tracy Morgan Joins Eddie Murphy's 'Coming 2 America'

    In today’s film news roundup, Tracy Morgan and Michael Rooker book roles in major movies, and Gravitas buys “Christmas Break-In.” CASTINGS Tracy Morgan has signed on to appear in Eddie Murphy’s “Coming 2 America” sequel as the brother of Lesley Jones’ character. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is directing the project with Murphy, Kevin [...]

  • Spider-Man Far From Home

    'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Gets Re-Release With New Scene

    Sony Pictures is re-releasing “Spider-Man: Far From Home” with a new action scene. Starting Aug. 29, a new extended cut, featuring four minutes of a never-before-seen action sequence, will be released in theaters in the United States and Canada. The film will also be available in IMAX and large formats in select locations. “Spider-Man: Far [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content