One of the most intriguing, lovable things about Nancy Meyers' new film The Intern is, without a doubt, the undeniably deep bond of friendship between Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro's characters, Jules and Ben. Not only is it clearly genuine, though, but apparently the story also has some roots in real life: As Meyers tells Bustle of the film, the story of Ben and Jules' unique mentor/mentee relationship actually came to her because of her desire to have a person like Ben in her own life. "I think I kind of was wishing I had somebody like [Ben]. Because I didn’t have that person. So, this is kind of wish fulfillment — a different kind of wish fulfillment," She says. "Wouldn’t it be great to have somebody on your side at the really stressful times of your life who was really there for you?"
It's a good point. In the film, Ben comes into Jules' life during one of the most stressful times she's ever faced: The possibility that she'll have to step down as CEO of the company she started herself — and rapidly grew — in favor of appointing someone with more business savvy, to ensure that the company continued to thrive. To make matters even worse, Jules' home life isn't in the best state either, something she chocks up to her busy schedule. Jules internally struggles with the idea of turning over the company she worked so hard to build over to someone who might not be able to run it with as much care as her, Ben acts as a calming figure in her life, and gently guides her to making the right decision for herself. It's a role that De Niro plays flawlessly, thanks to Meyers' impeccable writing.
Hathaway agrees too. Speaking to Bustle, the actress says of the film, "Bob and I did some extreme bonding… at the Century 21 mall..." She jokes of her on-screen chemistry with De Niro. "No, you know, it’s a funny thing — I just trusted everything was going to be OK, we didn’t do anything special. Bob’s an easy guy to get along with: he’s incredibly zen and calm and approachable, and once I could get over the fact that I couldn’t talk around him for the first three weeks — I just felt like an idiot, everything I said — I just trusted the words."
She continues, "It didn’t matter how I felt, because Jules feels comfortable around Ben, and just trusted that was going to carry us … and Nancy was going to guide us. And it worked."
De Niro chimes in, zen and calm, just like his character. "She just said it."
"I’d never written anything like [The Intern] before," Meyers continues, "and so it grew as I wrote it — and [Ben and Jules' relationship was] what really was the engine that was driving me... the fun thing about being a writer is that you get to create scenarios that you maybe don’t have in your own life."
After seeing The Intern, I think it's safe to say we'll all want a Ben of our own in our lives.
The Intern hits theaters Friday, Sept. 25.
Image: Warner Bros. Television (2)