August 1, 2010

Lovers Meet Halfway in GOING THE DISTANCE

Even in the age of Skype, texting and e-mail -- technology designed to bring people closer -- long distance communication can be an emotional minefield, more so for lovers. That’s the dilemma tackled in New Line Cinema’s new romantic comedy Going the Distance starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.

In the film, Erin ’s (Barrymore) wry wit and unfiltered frankness charm newly single Garrett (Long) over beer, bar trivia and breakfast the next morning. Their chemistry sparks a full-fledged summer fling, but neither expects it to last once Erin heads home to San Francisco and Garrett stays behind for his job in New York City . But when six weeks of romping through the city inadvertently become meaningful, neither is sure they want it to end.

Barrymore was drawn to the project by the lack of artifice in the script by first-time screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe and its frank portrayal of the real life complexities of contemporary romance. “I can relate to that feeling when you’re just super excited and you want to call someone, and it’s too late, their time, and you can’t,” she describes. “Or you want to cry to someone, but you can’t because they’re out with their friends and you don’t want to spoil their time, so you have to put it in a box and save it for another time. I think that same sort of feeling can happen in people that live in the same city. These are just interesting aspects to explore in a relationship—timing and how you make it function, and their friends versus your friends.”

The script’s unaffected style is a perfect fit for Nanette Burstein, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker for the 1999 documentary On the Ropes making her feature filmmaking debut. “Coming from documentaries, where I am capturing real life, I wanted the movie to feel as real as possible,” she comments. “The script is very honest and extremely witty. A lot of romantic comedies are often more fantasy, a fairytale. I think there is more of a reality to this film.”

The trials and triumphs of a long distance relationship are especially familiar to the cast and crew, all of whom work in a profession that requires constant traveling. “I’ve been in a long distance relationship my entire life because of my job,” Barrymore reveals. “Anyone who travels for their job knows how it is, that feeling of having to make everything great in a weekend because that’s all you have for a little while. Some people really like to know what their day is or their next month is or their future is. Other people aren’t like that. I just want to take things a little more day-by-day or month-by-month. There really are no rules. It’s very individual. Each couple has to figure out what works for them.”

Distance can add a certain unreality to a relationship. Getting to know someone through the ups and downs of daily interaction is replaced with an idealized projection, a perception based on e-mails and phone calls, or static memories. “There’s still a fantasy quality to a long distance relationship, but the closer you get the harder it is to maintain this fantasy,” says Burstein. “This film is extremely relatable to modern society because women are in the workforce almost as much as men now. People have to move all the time because of their jobs. It happens all the time. But you can’t help it when and where you fall in love.”

Ultimately, the most crucial and perhaps most challenging aspect of a long distance relationship is staying connected. “I prefer writing letters to sending e-mail,” Barrymore offers. “Technology definitely helps,” agrees producer Jennifer Gibgot, “but at the end of the day, nothing really replaces that person standing next to you in the flesh.”

Opening soon across the Philippines , Going the Distance is a New Line Cinema production, and distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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