Aug 19, 2021
Book Vs Movie: “Heartburn”
The “Nora Ephron is a Queen” Episode
Norah Ephron was one of the most celebrated writers of the 20th Century from her work as an essayist for Esquire to her best-selling novels and screenplays for classic films. She has been honored with Academy Awards, Writer’s Guild Awards, and BAFTAs. She was a food writer and movie director. Known for being tough and uncompromising (who fired a child actor after his day on the set of Sleepless in Seattle!) Yet she was a total romantic who enjoyed a happy marriage with fellow writer Nicholas Pileggi.
Her first novel, Heartburn, came out in 1983 and was based on her tumultuous marriage to reporter Carl Bernstein (we talked him in our All the President’s Men episode) which ended when he had an affair during her second pregnancy. The “power couple” split and the divorce took years to happen. Mainly because Berstein was concerned about how he would be played in the movie directed by Mike Nichols.
Ephron wrote the screenplay for the 1986 film and due to her divorce decree, she had to make sure the character filling for Bernstein (called “Mark Feldman” as a maybe-nod to Mark Felt. The real “Deep Throat” source for Watergate) had to be portrayed as not a jerk. Nichols and Jack Nicholson (who played the Mark Feldman part) were a part of the divorce negotiations.
Meryl Streep gives an amazing performance as “Rachel Samstat” who loves her husband even though he is having an affair while she is in her second trimester. It’s frustrating to hear her character lose her voice in this translation--but we will talk ALL about that in this episode plus the awful reviews some male critics gave the film.
Mostly we talk about the wonderful Norah Ephron and why she is one of the wisest, funniest, and most romantic writers of her generation.
So, between the novel and the movie--which did we prefer? (Honestly, it is not going to even be close but have a listen anyway!)
In this ep the Margos discuss:
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