The Schmooze

David Frankel on Sex Scenes and Meryl Streep

“Hope Springs,” opening nationally August 8, is centered on a long-married couple whose relationship has gone stale. Kay Soames, played by Meryl Streep, is frustrated by the lack of intimacy in her relationship with her husband Arnold, played by Tommy Lee Jones. Arnold refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and resists her efforts to visit marriage counselor Bernard Feld (a brilliant Steve Carell). Feld’s attempts to put a spark back in their lives lead to several humorous and, uh, intimate scenes that come close to mandating adults-only viewing.

Blending all this together is director Dave Frankel, whose resume includes “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Marley & Me” and “The Big Year.” He is the son of former New York Times executive editor and Pulitzer Prize-winner Max Frankel. David spoke to the Forward’s Curt Schleier about the perils of making movies for grown ups, filming sex scenes and growing up with a famous dad.

Curt Schleier: Does it take a lot of chutzpah to come out with a movie for grown ups in today’s marketplace?

David Frankel: Sadly it does. I think everyone would love to do these movies, but there are challenges marketing them. Adults don’t go to the movies. Which comes first? Is there nothing out there that they want to see or is it that they just don’t go? It’s a difficult situation when you look at it from the studio marketing point of view. I also think that for adults, television is no longer a vast wasteland. There’s incredibly good television, series that can go on for years and sew up every night and weekends. So I think making a movie worth leaving home for, that doesn’t have people in masks and capes, is a pretty small needle to thread.

And yet you released “Hope Springs” in the summer, prime mask and cape time. Is that better or worse for your prospects?

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David Frankel on Sex Scenes and Meryl Streep

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