The story of an alpha woman with shadows

The story of an alpha woman with shadows

The romantic travails of smart, funny, attractive young people are always fodder for light-hearted comedy-except when the light hearts are countered by heartache. CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER transforms the conventional romantic comedy with a bracingly honest real-life vibe, exploring both the comedy and complexity of love and friendship.

“Will and I grew up with romantic comedies, but the ones we love are all about heartbreak,” says the luminous Rashida Jones, who co-wrote the screenplay with actor Will McCormack and also stars as Celeste. “We wanted to invert what everybody expects from this kind of story. Of course we’re all completely familiar with the archetypes and structures and story points of romantic comedy-so we wanted to flip it. To keep the humor and the audience’s emotional connection to it but get something new.”

Rashida Jones and Will McCormack are laughingly frank about the real-life parallel between their own personal history and their collaborative screenplay. “As a couple we were short-lived and ancient history, but we knew we could be friends,” says Will, who nails the sidekick role of Skillz the pot dealer with comic skeeziness. “We wrote this whole movie side-by-side on one computer. We wrote every word together. Because we have been so close for so long, there was a real shorthand during the writing process. And as new writers, we were very encouraging of each other.” CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER is a first-time screenwriting effort for both actor-writers.

The story of an alpha woman with shadows

As Will elaborates, “Celeste and Jesse are definitely more amplified versions of us. Celeste’s journey is interesting because she is someone who thinks she can outsmart heartache. That’s something that happens to other people. She does everything she can to avoid it.”

Indeed, Celeste offers a twist on an archetype that movies love to scorn: the alpha woman. “Yup, Celeste is the high-powered career driver and Jesse is the passive guy who won’t grow up-all the makings of a cliché,” says Rashida. “But the balance between them keeps shifting out of Celeste’s control, which kills her as a controller. When the reality of losing Jesse hits, she’s just blindsided.” Celeste’s ambitious striver is given more compassionate dimensionality than the alpha woman stereotype is usually afforded.

“Personally, I can relate to a line like ‘The father of my child will own a car'” says producer Jennifer Todd, herself a professional dynamo with both studio blockbusters and independent dramas to her name. “Celeste is a very, very recognizable present-day woman. But by the rules of studio comedy, she would have to lose her job, have a comeuppance. And she would also have to fall down in high heels a lot. Embarrassing things would happen to her. An ambitious woman has to become a loser to be likeable. Rashida didn’t write her or play her that way.”

Director Lee Toland Krieger remarks that “Even in 2012 you rarely see an ambitious Type A woman onscreen who’s more than a caricature. Rashida’s character can be tough and very serious about her career and also have a sweetness and sadness.” Krieger’s first feature, THE VICIOUS KIND, attracted Todd and the writers for its sinewy drama; “Just reading the script I understood that they didn’t want a fluff piece. They wanted a story about what heartbreak is really like. I was thinking HUSBANDS AND WIVES and I could see how a lot of other filmmakers might be thinking of something broader. It’s maybe harder to take at times and a bit more gut-wrenching, but I think people will respond to that honesty.”

“It was a really tricky tone to find,” Rashida points out. “There are so many turns in the movie that are so hard and so quick, and it goes from being funny and broad to really sad and hopefully truthful-it needed somebody who got that range to find what the thread is.”

But don’t worry, it’s still a comedy. Emotional truth notwithstanding, the goal is entertainment-hard to miss with the likes of SNL alum ANDY SAMBERG as Jesse, and an ensemble featuring Emma Roberts, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood and the rest of the supporting cast. As bad girl pop star Riley, Emma Roberts’s sulky stoner is the antithesis of Celeste’s uber-functional know-it-all. “Riley lives in a totally different world than Celeste,” says Emma, “So it’s hilarious to see when their worlds meet and they are forced to interact. Riley is oblivious but she isn’t stupid. I think she just doesn’t know how to behave appropriately in certain situations. I think they both are kind of fascinated by each other because they are such opposites. I love how their relationship goes from annoyance to a kind of love for each other. Or at least an understanding.”

Echoing the film’s themes of love and friendship, a network of longtime relationships enlivens the CELESTE AND JESSE cast and crew. Andy Samberg’s friendship with Rashida dates back to his stand-up comic days around LA, and they are old friends with instant chemistry onscreen. Producer Todd’s acquaintance with Rashida goes back to high school (where Rashida looked up admiringly to the slightly older and reportedly cooler Jennifer), and Jen gave Will McCormack one of his first film roles, in THE BOILER ROOM. Jen’s sister and Team Todd partner SUZANNE TODD shares producer credit (as well as with LEE NELSON). Chris Messina, who plays Celeste’s surprisingly astute suitor Paul, is Jennifer’s husband. On the tech side, director Lee Toland Krieger brought on a crack team of frequent collaborators, including Director of Photography DAVID LANZENBERG and his crew.

To pull it all together, producer Lee Nelson’s Envision Media Arts stepped up with the lifeblood of financing. “Jennifer and Rashida were trying to get CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER done on the financing side, and felt that they weren’t able to make the film they wanted to make when they reached out to us. We read the material, and loving it and loving the people involved, we felt like these are the kind of artists that we want to be aligned with-so we took a flier and financed 100% of the film.” By all reports, the all-union, modestly-budgeted production was remarkably fun for the cast and crew as they dashed around numerous LA locations and onward to San Francisco and Rhode Island (where the wedding scene was shot). “It was an absolute joy making this film,” says Nelson. “It was a very collaborative set with a very positive vibe.”

The joy must be especially rich for Rashida Jones, as the co-writer and title character, seeing her first screenwriting outing come to fruition. “Acting in a film that you wrote is a real privilege and a creative advantage,” she says. “As the writer, you know the genesis of the joke, the scene and the relationship. The process of making the film was extremely grass roots, which gave the movie an organic, lived-in feel.”

Related Link: Celeste and Jesse Forever Full Production Notes

Emma Roberts rocks edgy bikini look

Emma Roberts rocks edgy bikini look

The young star steps out at Coachella in a graphic two-piece swimsuit and a lacy mesh top.

Actress Emma Roberts steps out of her usual chic, good-girl wardrobe to don a see-through white mesh dress and just a bikini during the 2012 Coachella Music Festival. Less was more in the over 100-degree weather, and the 21-year-old Roberts took the opportunity to show her edgier side with the revealing, form-fitting ensemble.

Artists, celebrities, and tens of thousands of fans come from across the globe to attend the ultimate music crash course that is the Coachella Music Festival. Check out photos from this year’s massive, double weekend event to see the bands that played and the who’s who of concertgoers. Be sure to check back often for updates as the sonic insanity progresses.

Emma Roberts Career Milestones

Emma Roberts Career Milestones

Birth Name: Emma Rose Roberts
Birth Date: February 10, 1991
Birth Place: Rhinebeck, New York, USA

Emma Roberts is an undeniable talent who has amassed an impressive career over the course of a decade. Roberts recently completed production on Gavin Wiesen’s The Art of Getting By starring alongside a cast including Freddie Highmore, Michael Angarano, Elizabeth Reaser, Alicia Silverstone and Rita Wilson. In this indie romantic comedy, Roberts introduces the role of ‘Sally Howe’ who catches the heart of ‘George’ (Freddie Highmore), a boy who is completely opposed to doing homework.

Roberts was last seen in the British independent thriller 4.3.2.1. directed by BAFTA winner Noel Clarke. 4.3.2.1. was released exclusively in the UK in the summer of 2010.

Roberts recently co-starred in Joel Schumacher’s Twelve, based on the novel by Nick McDowell. The film co-stars Chace Crawford, Kiefer Sutherland, 50 Cent and Ellen Barkin and was shot in New York during the summer of 2009. “Twelve” premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

In It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Roberts starred opposite Viola Davis, Lauren Graham and Zach Galifianakis which Focus Features released. She stars in the indie drama What’s Wrong with Virginia, opposite Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly, directed by Dustin Lance Black (Oscar winner for “Milk”) and Executive Produced by Gus Van Sant. What’s Wrong with Virginia premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

Emma Roberts Career Milestones

In February 2010, Roberts co-starred alongside Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, Ashton Kutcher, Carter Jenkins and Julia Roberts in the romantic comedy VALENTINE’S DAY. Jenkins and Roberts re-team after sharing the screen in “Unfabulous” to play a young couple who are contemplating whether to take a crucial step in the relationship. The film is directed by Gary Marshall and was released by Warner Bros.

In 2009, Roberts starred in several films, two of which screened at the Sundance Film Festival. Roberts headlined the Dreamworks hit film HOTEL FOR DOGS as one of two orphaned street kids who convert an old-abandoned hotel into an elaborate fantastical place for stray dogs. Lisa Kudrow and Don Cheadle co-star and the film has grossed over 113 million dollars worldwide.

Roberts co-starred in the ensemble drama Lymelife, Executive Produced by Martin Scorsese. In the story, she portrays a young ‘Long Island Lolita’ in the late 70’s opposite Alec Baldwin, Cynthia Nixon and Rory Culkin. The Derek Martini directed coming-of-age independent premiered to critical acclaim at the Toronto Film Festival and was awarded with the International Critics Prize. It was screened at The Sundance Film Festival to further acclaim.

That same year, Roberts wrapped production on the independent film The Winning Season, opposite respected actor Sam Rockwell. In the film, directed by James Strouse (Grace Is Gone) Roberts plays a member of a local high school girls’ basketball team coached by a “has been” (Rockwell) who is seeking redemption. The Winning Season also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and audience praise.

In Summer, 2007, Roberts starred as Nancy Drew in a big screen adaptation of the classic teenage detective novels for Warner Brothers Pictures. The film was directed by Andrew Fleming and produced by Jerry Weintraub. That same year, Roberts was awarded as the “ShoWest Female Star of Tomorrow.”

From 2004-2007, Roberts starred as Addie Singer in the Nickelodeon hit comedy series “Unfabulous,” created by Sue Rose. It was one of the highest rated “tween” series on television. The show tells the story of a teenage girl who must deal with the trials of growing up, fitting in and being popular. Addie relays her teen angst through writing music and singing songs.

Upon landing her very first audition, Roberts booked the role of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz’s daughter in Blow, which was directed by the late Ted Demme for New Line Cinema. Soon after, she starred in the Sundance short film “Big Love” directed by Leif Tilden and starring Sam Rockwell. Roberts went on to play one of the lead roles in the independent feature film “Grand Champion” opposite Joey Lauren Adams and directed by Barry Tubb.

After the successful premiere of “Unfabulous,” she starred in the Fox 2000 film AQUAMARINE. Based on the Alice Hoffman novel of the same name, it is the story of two teen girls who discover a mermaid after their coastal town is ravaged by a hurricane. The film was directed by Elizabeth Allan and produced by Susan Cartsonis.

Roberts has appeared on the covers of Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Elle Girl and has been profiled in Time, People and The New York Times, among others. Roberts was the face of legendary handbag maker Dooney & Bourke. Her campaign ran exclusively in Teen Vogue magazine. She is also a new face of Neutrogena.

Originally from New York, Roberts currently resides in Los Angeles.