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IFH 493: The Art & Craft of the Romantic Comedy with Charles Shyer
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We have on today, one of the best rom-com and comedy writers and filmmakers of all time. I've been a fan of many of his films growing up, specifically, Father of The Bride. Now that I have two daughters of my own, it is fondly scary to rewatch it. Charles Shyer is an award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer whose work includes some of the best fuzzy-feel good films of all time. He is the director and writer of the 1991 comedy film, Father of the Bride starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams (in her film debut), etc. Martin, a businessman, and owner of an athletic shoe company finds out his daughter is getting married, he finds himself reluctant to let go and goes on a spiral. The film grossed $129 million and has had two sequels of it made in 1995 and 2020. He wrote and co-produced one of the most pivotal films in Lindsey Lohan’s career, The Parent Trap (1998). It captured the story of identical twins Annie and Hallie (played by Lohan), separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, later discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together. People fell in love with the movie and Lohan’s exceptional performance, leading to an instant box-office success with a $92.1 million gross. There are but few writers who are able to master the craft of romantic comedy, and Charles Shyer is one. His films include Private Benjamin (1980), Irreconcilable Differences (1984), Baby Boom (1987), the Father of the Bride sequels, The Affair of the Necklace (2001), etc. Shyer directed Baby Boom and co-wrote it with his long-time writing partner, Nancy Meyers in 1987. It stars Diane Keaton who discovers that a long-lost cousin has died, leaving her a fourteen-month-old baby girl as an inheritance. Like most of his films, this too was a box office success. All this happened after he made the switch at the start of his career in the industry, from pursuing directing to writing and landing a gig on the 1970 TV series, The Odd Couple. Where Shyer eventually worked his way up to head writer and associate producer, writing about twenty-four episodes of the show. In our conversation, Shyer tackled the making of some of his well-known films and the changing writing culture in Hollywood. It’s always a good fun day at the office when I can chat up with folks like Charles. Enjoy my chat with Charles Shyer.