In the romantic comedy Going the Distance, an aspiring journalist (Drew Barrymore) and a music rep (Justin Long) meet and fall in love, then must try to keep their romance alive even though one lives in New York City and the other in San Francisco. This isn’t some romantic Sleepless in Seattle fantasy, though. Everyone involved wanted to make this relationship as real as possible.
The screenplay was penned by first-time feature writer Geoff LaTulippe, who didn’t have to look far for inspiration. “The idea for the story actually came — and this would be shocking to a lot of people — from a night of drinking,” he deadpans. He and executive producer Dave Neustadter were kicking around ideas when Neustadter mentioned that he had just gotten out of a long-distance relationship. “Dave had a bunch of stories about what he’d gone through, and neither of us could remember the subject being the focus of a movie before, certainly not a comedy. We thought it was full of comedic set ups and could actually bear out some really heartfelt stuff, too, but with an edge. Real life has an edge to it.”
Capturing this “edge” of real life is part of what drew the stars and filmmakers to the script.
“I liked this story because it had a lot of humor and it was sexy, but it was also surprisingly emotional,” says Barrymore. “I couldn’t stop thinking about these characters and I really cared about why or how they were or weren’t able to work out their issues. Any story that deals with the complexities of a relationship in a very comical and contemporary way totally interests me.”
Long adds that, “I’d been reading a lot of romantic comedies, and this one really stood out for me in the sense that it was much more raw and realistic, and very funny, too. It didn’t hold back at all.”
Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Nanette Burstein makes her feature-film directorial debut with this film. So it makes sense that the “realness” of the project would appeal to a documentarian.
“Coming from documentaries, where I capture real life, I wanted to direct a movie that would feel as real as possible — people do swear, and they say what’s on their mind,” says Burstein. “It was such a fresh story and the premise was so natural. I really responded to the material and I felt that a lot of people would relate to it.”
Producer Adam Shankman agrees. “It’s a pretty honest look at the perils of the long-distance relationship,” he says, “which can be really hard no matter how much the people involved adore each other.”
“Going the Distance” is now showing on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2010 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.