Watch Noah Baumbach Return to the Powerful Scene of Pivotal ‘Marriage Story’ Fight

Movie sets are ephemeral spaces, by design. They are built or found specifically to serve stories, and struck down just as quickly.

Which is what makes a recent visit (or revisit) by Noah Baumbach to a pivotal location in his Oscar-nominatedMarriage Story” so special — when Variety followed the director to the apartment set that was redressed almost exactly as it appeared in his Netflix film, shot two years prior, in Los Angeles.

The rental was a stark box occupied by Adam Driver’s character Charlie Barber, a New Yorker in need of a California residence to aid him in a contentious divorce with his ex, Scarlett Johansson’s Nicole Barber.

It is the site of a vicious, cathartic, and irrevocable fight — one that Baumbach has repeatedly said his film spends most of its time barreling toward. It is also one that critics have marked as the defining moment of the film, and one that fans on social media have appropriated as a forever meme to illustrate high-stakes conflict.

“It actually gives me anxiety to be in this space,” Baumbach admits, surveying the empty walls. Luckily, the space is now used as a short-term rental and was easily accessible (the original furniture a different story, but a battle won by production designer Jade Healy).

“The scenes that were shot here had a certain degree of intensity. They’re important scenes for the movie but they were quite emotional. We spent a lot of intense, I’ll use that word again, time here,” he says.

Baumbach recalled that production used several units in the building, tucked behind a casual Brazilian restaurant on the very edge of West Hollywood, where Sunset Blvd. turns a bit shadowy but palm trees are still visible from the aging windows.

“We had rooms upstairs, the actors had rooms and I had a room, and we’d sort of come down, it’s almost like a boxing ring,” he says, removing his jacket and rolling his sleeves.

Baumbach indulges us in great detail, his intention behind every frame of the scene — one designed to show the uncomfortable closeness of his characters despite their total individual isolation. It’s a space where so much nothing means everything, walls are broken 100 times over, and a single unmoved juice box represents a family fractured forever.

Watch Baumbach relive the scene in full, above.

More Film

  • "Birds of Prey" egg sandwich

    'Birds of Prey' Actor Bruno Oliver Recreates Harley Quinn's Famous Sandwich

    When actor Bruno Oliver booked the role of short order cook Sal in “Birds of Prey: (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” he had no idea how significant Sal and his breakfast sandwich were to the story. “You couldn’t tell from the audition necessarily and as actors, we always worry about our scenes [...]

  • Minyan

    'Minyan': Film Review

    Best known for the unexpectedly soul-shattering San Francisco suicide doc “The Bridge,” indie filmmaker Eric Steel came out and came of age in 1980s New York at a moment just before AIDS devastated the city’s gay community. Such timing must have been surreal, to assume something so liberating about one’s own identity, only to watch [...]

  • Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches

    Film New Roundup: Animated Movie 'The Queen's Corgi' Fetches North American Distribution

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Queen’s Corgi” finds a home, the Overlook Film Festival is postponed and the California Film Commission adjusts its tax credit rules due to the coronavirus. ACQUISITION Freestyle Digital Media has acquired North American rights to the animated family comedy feature “The Queen’s Corgi,” and plans to make it available on DVD and to [...]

  • APA Logo

    APA Sets Salary Cuts and Furloughs in Wake of Covid-19 Pandemic

    Following in the steps of several agencies dealing with the coronavirus, APA has informed all offices of upcoming salary cuts along with possible suspensions and furloughs for employees due to the pandemic’s economic effect on the industry. APA board of directors will make the largest financial sacrifice. The move has been made to avoid layoffs [...]


    DGA, SAG-AFTRA, WGA Scramble to Keep Residuals Flowing During Coronavirus Pandemic

    Hollywood’s creative guilds have been working overtime to keep residual checks going out to members during the coronavirus crisis. Even though most of the staff members of the Directors Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America West have been working remotely, the guilds have stepped up efforts to maintain the flow of [...]

  • Hannah Marks, Dylan Sprouse. Hannah Marks,

    How a Bart Simpson T-Shirt Delayed Dylan Sprouse’s Movie ‘Banana Split’

    Long before the release of “Booksmart,” actress Hannah Marks set out to make a movie that would be the female bookend to “Superbad.” She started writing the script eight years ago, at 18, based on a real-life story about how, in high school, she befriended the girlfriend of her ex-boyfriend. Many drafts followed for “Banana [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds'6 Underground' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Ryan Reynolds in Talks to Star in 'Dragon's Lair' Film Adaptation for Netflix

    Ryan Reynolds is in talks to star in and produce a live-action feature adaptation of the ’80s arcade game “Dragon’s Lair” for Netflix. Roy Lee will produce through his Vertigo Entertainment with Trevor Engelson of Underground Films. Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and Jon Pomeroy are also producing. Reynolds will produce through his Maximum Effort production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content