When Scarlett Johansson met director Noah Baumbach about her idea for a new divorce-centric film, the actress felt the stars line up.
He was not aware of it but at the time, the second marriage of the star of “Avengers” – with the French businessman Romain Dauriac – was dissolving. They married in 2014 and share a 5-year-old daughter, Rose. Prior to that, Johansson was married to Ryan Reynolds from 2008 to 2011.
She is currently engaged to the writer and actor “Saturday Night Live” Colin Jost.
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“It felt fatal in a way,” Johansson told reporters at the Venice Film Festival on Thursday. “It sort of happened at the right time.”
34-year-old stars alongside Adam Driver in Netflix film “Marriage Story” about a couple – she plays an actress and he plays a theater director – with an 8-year-old son managing a bi-coastal separation and divorce. It was presented Thursday evening at the festival and is in competition for the Golden Lion Award.
Although Johansson had her own experiences to build on, she said there was something behind everyone behind the film in the study of the brutally honest but tender character.
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Baumbach wrote the script knowing that Driver and Johansson would play the couple. He said he realized during the writing process that “Through a divorce, we could explore marriage.”
“Although they separate, love still exists,” he said. “It’s in every scene, it’s there.”
Laura Dern, who plays Johansson’s divorce lawyer, added that he plays “the divorce case”.
A scene, in which the two protagonists have a particularly traumatic fight, thrilled the audience of the Venice Festival. The driver said that he did not really analyze it afterwards, but that it was two “fairly difficult” days. Baumbach added that it was “heartbreaking” and that they often had to stop for a break, the actors going to their rooms or walking around the block to regroup.
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“They would run the entire stage almost every time. It was like watching two of the best athletes compete,” said Baumbach. “In many ways, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a director.”
“Marriage Story” will stop at Telluride and the Toronto Film Festivals before being released in theaters on November 6, followed by its Netflix debut on December 6.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.