Noah Baumbach

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Noah Baumbach
Noah Baumbach on Marriage Story scene.jpg
Baumbach in 2020
Born (1969-09-03) September 3, 1969 (age 52)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materVassar College
Occupation
  • Film maker
Years active1995–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 2005; div. 2013)
Partner(s)Greta Gerwig
(2011–present)
Children2
Parent(s)Jonathan Baumbach
Signature
Noah Baumbach signature.svg

Noah Baumbach (/ˈbmbæk/) (born September 3, 1969)[1] is an American filmmaker. He received two Academy Award nominations for writing his films The Squid and the Whale and Marriage Story, both of which he also directed.[2] He also wrote and directed a number of other films, including Margot at the Wedding, Frances Ha, While We're Young, Mistress America, and The Meyerowitz Stories.

Early life and education[edit]

Baumbach was born in Brooklyn, New York City, USA.[3] His father, Jonathan Baumbach, was an author of experimental fiction and the co-founder of the publishing house Fiction Collective, taught at Stanford University and Brooklyn College, and was a film critic for Partisan Review.[3][4] His mother, Georgia Brown, was a film critic for The Village Voice who also wrote fiction.[3] His father was Jewish; his mother is Protestant.[5][6] His parents later divorced during his adolescence, which served as inspiration for his 2005 film The Squid and the Whale.[3] Baumbach has three siblings, two of whom are from a previous marriage of his father's.[4]

Baumbach grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and was determined to become a filmmaker from a young age.[3][7] Films that influenced Baumbach include The Jerk, Animal House, Heaven Can Wait, The World According To Garp, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.[8]

He graduated from Brooklyn's Midwood High School in 1987[citation needed] and received his BA in English from Vassar College in 1991.[3][9] While at Vassar, he and fellow future filmmaker, Jason Blum, were roommates (Blum would later produce Baumbach's first film, Kicking and Screaming in 1995).[10][11] Soon after, he briefly worked as a messenger at The New Yorker.[3]

Career[edit]

1990s[edit]

Baumbach made his writing and directing debut in 1995 with Kicking and Screaming, a comedy about four young men who graduate from college and refuse to move on with their lives. The film starred Josh Hamilton, Chris Eigeman, and Carlos Jacott and premiered in 1995 at the New York Film Festival. In an interview with The A.V. Club, Baumbach said of his influences on the film, "I really responded to the kind of ensemble feeling of Metropolitan, I was also thinking a lot about Diner, which was another great ensemble "friends" comedy."[12] Baumbach was chosen as one of Newsweek's "Ten New Faces of 1996". Roger Ebert praised the film's "good eye and a terrific ear; the dialogue by writer-director Noah Baumbach is not simply accurate... but a distillation of reality–elevating aimless brainy small-talk into a statement."[13] Reviews often mentioned the thin and meandering plot, but most noted this as a facet of the characters' life stage. Janet Maslin of The New York Times stated, "Kicking and Screaming occupies its postage-stamp size terrain with confident comic style."[14]

In 1997 he wrote and directed Mr. Jealousy, a film about a young writer so jealous about his girlfriend that he sneaks into the group therapy sessions of her ex-boyfriend to discover what kind of relationship they had. He then co-wrote (under the name Jesse Carter) and directed (under the name Ernie Fusco) the New York-set comedy of manners Highball. Baumbach disowned the film according to a 2005 interview in The A.V. Club, the director stated,

"The truth is, I never "owned" Highball. It really was an experiment, and kind of a foolish experiment, because I didn't think about what the ramifications would be if it didn't work. But it was made with all the best intentions, which was to try and make a movie in six days, and use all the same people from Mr. Jealousy, with all their goodwill, and bring in some more people. And it was a funny script. But it was just too ambitious. We didn't have enough time, we didn't finish it, it didn't look good, it was just a whole… mess. [Laughs.] We couldn't get it done, and I had a falling out with the producer. He abandoned it, and I had no money to finish it, to go back and maybe get two more days or something. Then later, it was put out on DVD without my approval.[12]

2000s[edit]

Baumbach with collaborator Wes Anderson in 2006

In 2004, Baumbach ventured his film collaboration with writer and director Wes Anderson by co-writing The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) alongside Anderson. The following year, he released his fourth feature film, The Squid and the Whale (2005) which was a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about his childhood in Brooklyn and the effect of his parents' divorce on the family in the mid-1980s.[15] The film stars Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney in the parent roles. In an interview with author Jonathan Lethem in BOMB Magazine, Baumbach said of the film, "Sometimes when I think about the whole experience of this, it starts to become a joke within a joke within a joke. The film is not only inspired by my childhood and my parents’ divorce, but it was also the first script I didn't show to my parents while I was working on it. It's not that I wanted to protect them from anything. I just wanted to keep it my own experience."[16] The Squid and the Whale was a sleeper hit and a critical success, earning Baumbach two awards at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. It also received six Independent Spirit Award nominations, three Golden Globe nominations and the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review all voted it the year's best screenplay.

Baumbach wrote and directed the 2007 comedy-drama Margot at the Wedding, starring his then-wife Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicole Kidman, Jack Black and John Turturro. In the film, Kidman plays a woman named Margot who spends several days visiting her sister Pauline (Leigh) on the eve of Pauline's wedding to Black's character. It was shot in April and May 2006 in Hampton Bays and City Island, Bronx. The film was released in the United States by Paramount Vantage on November 16, 2007.

Baumbach helped to write and direct the short films Clearing the Air and New York Underground which aired on Saturday Night Live. The films were co-written and co-produced by cast-members Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. New York Underground featured Hader as a British rock journalist doing a piece on quirky underground musician Joshua Rainhorne (Armisen has performed as Joshua at numerous live events). Clearing the Air featured Hader, Armisen, and Paul Rudd (who was the guest host for that week) trying to clear the air over a girl they all slept with. Both pieces aired on SNL in the fall of 2008.[17]

Baumbach co-wrote the screenplay for the 2009 film version of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox with Wes Anderson, who directed it using stop-motion technology. The film was a critical success appearing on many critics top 10 lists of the year. The film also received the Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, and Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Animated film, losing year to Pixar's Up. Despite the critical praise the film was not a financial success.[18]

2010s[edit]

His film Greenberg was released March 2010, and was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.[19]

In 2012, Baumbach directed the comedic drama Frances Ha, which he co-wrote with Greta Gerwig, who also starred. The film played at the Toronto International Film Festival.[20][21] Baumbach filmed Frances Ha with his cinematographer Sam Levy digitally and in black-and-white, the latter to emulate in part collaborations by Woody Allen and his cinematographer Gordon Willis, in films like Manhattan (1979).[22] CBS News compared Frances Ha's style to the works of Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch and François Truffaut.[23] Gerwig received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance.

Baumbach (right) speaking after a screening of Marriage Story with The Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg in November 2019.

Baumbach has "shown an affinity for writing about the East Coast elite." Baumbach has written an adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld's novel Prep.[24] He also co-wrote a screenplay for DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.[25] He worked on HBO's adaptation of the Jonathan Franzen novel The Corrections,[26][27][28] but the pilot was never completed and HBO passed on the project.[29][30]

Baumbach wrote and directed the 2014 comedy-drama While We're Young, starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, and Amanda Seyfried. A24 Films released the film on March 27, 2015, and the film went on to gross more than all of Baumbach's previous films in the United States box office.[31]

He also directed and co-wrote the 2015 comedy Mistress America, starring Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke. The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was released to general audiences on August 14. That same year he presented De Palma, a documentary about filmmaker Brian De Palma that he co-directed with Jake Paltrow. It premiered at the 2015 Venice Film Festival.

In 2017, The Meyerowitz Stories was released on October 13 on Netflix.[32] Before its streaming debut, the film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or in the main competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.[33][34] The film focuses on a fractured and dysfunctional family and starred Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Emma Thompson.[35] On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 92% based on 181 reviews, and an average rating of 7.66/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) observes the family dynamic through writer-director Noah Baumbach's bittersweet lens and the impressive efforts of a remarkable cast."[36] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a weighted average score of 79 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[37]

In 2019, Baumbach wrote, produced, and directed Marriage Story. The film follows a showbusiness couple and their marriage breaking up followed by an emotional divorce preceding. The film starred Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as the couple, Charlie and Nicole. Alan Alda, Ray Liotta, and Laura Dern also portray the lawyers involved. The film also featured performances by Merritt Wever, Julie Hagerty, and Wallace Shawn. The film premiered to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival, before it was released on Netflix on November 6, 2019,[38] with many ranking it among Baumbach's best work.[39] Mark Kermode film critic from The Guardian wrote, "this often hilarious heartbreaker is simply Baumbach’s best film to date – insightful, sympathetic and rather beautifully bewildered", Kermode also compared the film to that of Annie Hall (1977), Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and La Grande Illusion (1937).[40] The film went on to receive six Academy Award nominations including for Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay. Driver, and Johansson also received nominations. Laura Dern won the Oscar for her performance as the shrewd but manipulative lawyer Nora.[41]

2020s[edit]

Baumbach's next feature film titled, White Noise is adapted from the 1985 novel of the same name by Don DeLillo. The film will reunite with Greta Gerwig and Adam Driver and is being backed by Netflix. The project is set to start filming in late 2021.[42]

Influences[edit]

Baumbach has noted that Woody Allen has been "an obvious influence", stating, "He was the single biggest pop culture influence on me".[43] He has cited the films Manhattan, Zelig, and Broadway Danny Rose as influences on his work.[44] He has also cited Ernst Lubitsch, Max Ophüls, Jean Renoir, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Spike Lee, Whit Stillman, Steven Spielberg, as well as the screwball comedies of the 30s and 40s, and the films of the French New Wave as influences.[45][46][47] His favorite film of all time is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.[48]

Personal life[edit]

Baumbach met actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2001, while she was starring on Broadway in Proof. The couple married on September 2, 2005. They have a son, Rohmer.[49] Leigh filed for divorce from Baumbach on November 15, 2010, in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized in September 2013.[50]

Baumbach's romantic and creative collaboration with actress, writer, and director Greta Gerwig, began late in 2011, after they had met during the production of Greenberg (released in early 2010).[51][52] In March 2019, it was announced Gerwig and Baumbach had a son named Harold.[53][54]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Distributor
1995 Kicking and Screaming Yes Yes No Trimark Pictures
1997 Highball Yes Yes No Shoreline Entertainment
Mr. Jealousy Yes Yes Yes Lionsgate Films
2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou No Yes No Buena Vista Pictures
2005 The Squid and the Whale Yes Yes No Samuel Goldwyn Films
2007 Margot at the Wedding Yes Yes No Paramount Vantage
2009 Alexander the Last No No Yes IFC Films
Fantastic Mr. Fox No Yes No 20th Century Fox
2010 Greenberg Yes Yes No Focus Features
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted No Yes No Paramount Pictures
Frances Ha Yes Yes Yes IFC Films
2014 She's Funny that Way No No Yes Lionsgate Films
While We're Young Yes Yes Yes A24
2015 Mistress America Yes Yes Yes Fox Searchlight
De Palma Yes No Yes A24
2017 The Meyerowitz Stories Yes Yes Yes Netflix
2019 Marriage Story Yes Yes Yes
2022 White Noise Yes Yes Yes

Acting roles

Year Title Role
1995 Kicking and Screaming Danny
1997 Highball Philip
Mr. Jealousy Arliss
2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Phillip

Short film

Year Title Notes
2000 Conrad & Butler Take a Vacation Short film

Awards and nominations[edit]

Baumbach has been nominated for three Academy Awards for his The Squid and the Whale (2005), and Marriage Story (2019). He has also received nominations from the Golden Globe Awards, British Academy Film Awards, Critics Choice Movie Awards, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and Writers Guild of America Awards. He has been nominated for five Independent Spirit Film Awards and received two wins.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Baumbach, Noah (November 29, 1999). "Keith Richards' desert-island disks". Shouts & Murmurs. The New Yorker. Retrieved October 10, 2020.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baumbach, Noah". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 27–30. ISBN 978-0-8242-1113-4.
  2. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2020: A Complete List". Oscars.go.com. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Parker, Ian (April 29, 2013). "Happiness: Noah Baumbach's New Wave". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Genzlinger, Neil (April 5, 2019). "Jonathan Baumbach, Novelist With an Experimental Bent, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (October 12, 2005). "Prickly Fathers, Rebellious Sons". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  6. ^ Bloom, Nate (November 22, 2007). "Interfaith Celebrities: Santa's Jewish Family, and Margot at the Wedding's Near-Minyan". InterfaithFamily. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  7. ^ Pantuso, Phillip (March 2, 2015). "Noah Noah Baumbach on Creativity, the Perils of Aging, and… Hipsters?". Brooklyn Magazine. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Crewdson, Gregory (May 8, 2020). Q&A with Noah Baumbach and Gregory Crewdson. Archived from the original on November 6, 2021. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  9. ^ Mottram, James (August 7, 2015). "Noah Baumbach interview: Director talks Mistress America and working with Wes Anderson". The Independent. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "How I Made It: Jason Blum, film producer". Los Angeles Times. November 27, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  11. ^ Macaulay, Scott (January 25, 2017). "Working Through Fear: An Interview with Blumhouse's Jason Blum | Filmmaker Magazine". Filmmaker Magazine | Publication with a focus on independent film, offering articles, links, and resources. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  12. ^ a b "Noah Baumbach has basically disowned one of his funniest films". AV Club. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 10, 1995). "Kicking and Screaming". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital, LLC. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  14. ^ Maslin, Janet (October 4, 1995). "Graduates Whose Hero Could Be Peter Pan". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2018.
  15. ^ "Noah Baumbach: On Filmmaking". BAFTA Guru. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
  16. ^ Lethem, Jonathan. "Noah Baumbach", BOMB Magazine, Fall, 2005. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  17. ^ "Noah Baumbach Directs for Saturday Night Live?". The Observer. November 18, 2008. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  18. ^ "10 Movies Rotten Tomatoes Loved That Were Box Office Flops". ScreenRant. November 25, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  19. ^ Roxborough, Scott. "Hollywood Reporter: Berlin festival unveils full lineup". hollywoodreporter.com. Archived from the original on February 5, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
  20. ^ Joshua Brunsting (July 25, 2012). "TIFF 2012: First Look At Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha And Malick's To The Wonder Gets A Bit More Detailed". CriterionCast.
  21. ^ White, James. "Noah Baumbach Finds Frances Ha". Empire.
  22. ^ "Frances Ha: black-and-white cinema is dead". The Guardian. July 22, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  23. ^ Morgan, David (September 30, 2012). "N.Y. Film Festival: Noah Baumbach's whimsical 'Frances Ha'". CBS News.
  24. ^ Garrett, Diane (July 17, 2007). "Howard ready to father 'Children'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 12, 2008.
  25. ^ Paskin, Willa (August 9, 2010). "Noah Baumbach Punching Up Madagascar 3". Vulture. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  26. ^ Dobbins, Amanda (September 2, 2011). "Noah Baumbach Might Adapt The Corrections for HBO". Vulture. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  27. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (November 22, 2011). "Ewan McGregor to Star in HBO's 'The Corrections'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  28. ^ Heyman, Jessie (November 22, 2011). "Ewan McGregor To Star In HBO's 'The Corrections'". HuffPost. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  29. ^ "HBO Passes on Noah Baumbach's Corrections". Vulture.
  30. ^ "Noah Baumbach Says 'The Corrections' Is Dead – Flavorwire". Flavorwire. July 10, 2012.
  31. ^ "Noah Baumbach". boxofficemojo.com.
  32. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 10, 2017). "Netflix Acquires Noah Baumbach's 'The Meyerowitz Stories' In WW Rights Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  33. ^ "The 2017 Official Selection". Cannes. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  34. ^ "2017 Cannes Film Festival Announces Lineup: Todd Haynes, Sofia Coppola, 'Twin Peaks' and More". IndieWire. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  35. ^ Chitwood, Adam (March 8, 2016). "Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller to Lead Noah Baumbach's Next Movie…Which Is Already Filming". Collider.
  36. ^ "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  37. ^ "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  38. ^ Barsanti, Sam. "Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, and Laura Dern to star in Noah Baumbach's next film". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 24, 2018.
  39. ^ "Marriage Story (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  40. ^ "Marriage Story review – Noah Baumbach's best film yet". The Guardian. November 17, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  41. ^ "Laura Dern Wins Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 'Marriage Story'". IndieWire. February 10, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  42. ^ Sharf, Zack (January 28, 2021). "Noah Baumbach Signs Exclusive Deal with Netflix, Next Film 'White Noise' to Shoot in 2021". IndieWire. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  43. ^ "How to steal like your fave indie filmmaker". Dazed. July 23, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  44. ^ "Noah Baumbach Reveals the Key Movies That Made Him Want to Be a Filmmaker". IndieWire. October 3, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  45. ^ "Top 5 Influences on Noah Baumbach". Now Toronto. Retrieved June 18, 2002.
  46. ^ "NOAH BAUMBACH WAS THE KID WHO FELL ASLEEP ON THE COUCH AT DINNER PARTIES". Interview. November 25, 2019. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  47. ^ "Noah Baumbach: 'In my 20s, I felt like time was running out'". The Guardian. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
  48. ^ "Bong Joon Ho Thinks Alfred Hitchcock Is the Most Original Filmmaker". W Magazine. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  49. ^ "Single White Female Star Jennifer Jason Leigh Files For Divorce". RadarOnline. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  50. ^ "Jennifer Jason Leigh is single again after three-year divorce battle". WENN. MSN Entertainment. October 8, 2013. Archived from the original on January 4, 2014.
  51. ^ Olsen, Mark (September 7, 2012). "'Frances Ha' bonds Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig". Los Angeles Times.
  52. ^ Ian Parker (April 29, 2013). "Happiness". The New Yorker.
  53. ^ Cohen, Jess (March 20, 2019). "Surprise! Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach Welcomed Their First Child". E! News. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  54. ^ Marcus, Emily (March 20, 2019). "Greta Gerwig and Boyfriend Noah Baumbach Secretly Welcome Baby Boy". US Weekly. Retrieved March 20, 2019.

External links[edit]