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Crediting Nancy Meyers

March 11, 2001

I realize that this is a rather belated response to Sean Mitchell's piece on Nancy Meyers' "What Women Want" ('Getting in Touch With His Inner Cary Grant," Dec. 10), but I felt compelled nevertheless to weigh in on the dialogue in the article on the authorship of Meyers' film.

I have no idea of exactly how much Meyers contributed to the original draft by writers Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa. However, as someone who has followed Meyers' career and her evolution in Hollywood rather closely, I think mention should be made of her history for being very generous with the screenwriting credits on her films.

When Meyers (and Charles Shyer) adapted the "Father of the Bride" films and the remake of "The Parent Trap" for Disney, she actually shared screenplay credit with the original scenarists of those films--Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, and David Swift, respectively--and, in promoting "Parent Trap," spoke of her great fondness for Swift. She didn't have to do this. She easily could have relegated those writers to "based on an idea/story by" status in the credits for the films in question. These gestures, overlooked in reviews of the "Father of the Bride" twins and "The Parent Trap," say a little something about the woman's integrity.

So I find it a disturbing commentary that, when the shoe is on the other foot, the same generosity isn't reciprocated or afforded to Meyers.

Modern Hollywood has set up a situation so that the writers on a single film, working either independently of one another or as a team, end up in the unfortunate position of being nemeses and rivals rather than colleagues. Sad.

JOE BALTAKE

Movie critic, the Sacramento Bee

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