“When it comes to Natalie Portman, I am speechless. She’s smart and funny and infuses that into the character. “
For Natalie Portman, tackling a feature comedy was a new frontier, but she felt in good company. “It’s been great to be surrounded by so many professionals at this kind of thing, because it’s not my comfort zone,” she explains. “Making a comedy film is a really different experience for me-without an audience, it’s sometimes hard to tell if something is working or not. Even if those around you think something is funny, they can’t exactly laugh during a take.”
For the role of Adam, Ivan Reitman knew he needed to find a an actor that was both charming and desirable to women, but could also play insecurity in his romantic explorations. Ivan Reitman found his Adam in comedic actor Ashton Kutcher, who had the perfect combination of leading man looks and charm (along with a slight underdog sense of vulnerability) that the role required.
Echoing Natalie Portman’s reaction to the script, Ashton Kutcher says, “Elizabeth Meriwether delivered a screenplay that was authentic, but also ridiculously funny. Most of the time when you read a comedy script, at some point, it’s going to push for the comedy-but Elizabeth Meriwether’s never reaches for a joke. It’s really a character comedy, and not a generic ‘hijinx-y’ type of film.”
For Elizabeth Meriwether, having Ashton Kutcher play Adam was the perfect choice. “Ashton Kutcher brings a ‘full-of-love-and-life’ openness to the role that perfectly contrasts Emma’s emotional journey-to get her to a place where she will want to open up. You believe it, because if anyone can get your heart to open, it’s Ashton Kutcher.”
After Emma and Adam’s initial sexual encounter and before any of the NSA parameters are established, Adam is unsure how to approach his long-time friend and decides to show up at the hospital with a gift
“Ashton Kutcher is really fun, easygoing and playful, and it’s great to get to see how he improvises and plays in the scene,” says Natalie Portman.
Ashton Kutcher chimes in on his co-star and partner: “Natalie Portman is always prepared, plus she makes interesting choices with her character. And, at the end of the day, she’s a really sweet and giving person. She’s a great partner to have.”
“Early in a relationship, people often feel the need to define it, and sometimes want to put it in a box,” reasons Ashton Kutcher. “Adam and Emma go from friends to suddenly having sex-at that point, some might feel the need to reach out with a gift of sorts-so my character brings her a balloon.”
A balloon that says CONGRATS! no less. “We talked about this a lot, and we thought it was funny to think that someone would show up at work with a congratulations balloon after sex,” recalls Elizabeth Meriwether. “I think it was Adam’s way of telling Emma, who hadn’t been returning his calls, that she couldn’t disappear on him. And that if she tried, he would show up at work with a balloon and totally embarrass her.”
She brings a new female model into the romantic comedy genre, one that is strong but lovableyou want her to find love, but she doesn’t have to lose herself to get it
After the balloon incident, Emma and Adam establish a set of rules for their new arrangement and embark on their new relationship as “sex friends.” Things get complicated, however, when intimacy begins to find it’s way into their relationship. One such occasion comes after Adam drops by Emma’s apartment to offer his support during her “time of the month” with cupcakes and a mix CD of songs lovingly called the “period mix.” After the evening ends with them spooning, Emma wakes up overwhelmed, having broken one of their NSA rules. “That was a fun scene to write for me, because it was taking the ‘morning after’ that follows a one-night stand and switching things around-it becomes a scene about waking up and being appalled after spooning with somebody,” says Elizabeth Meriwether. “What crossed the line for Emma was the intimacy of it-actually sleeping with somebody without the precursor of sex.”