What Just Happened (2008)

Plot: What Just Happened is a winningly sharp comedy about two nail-biting, back-stabbing, roller-coaster weeks in the world of a middle-aged Hollywood producer: Ben (Robert De Niro).

He’s having a rough time trying to get his new picture made. He also has problems with his most recent ex-wife, Kelly (Robin Wright), whom he discovers may have a lover.

Director: Barry Levinson

Writing Credits: Art Linson (novel and screenplay)

Cast: Robert De Niro, Robin Wright, Catherine Keener, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Kristen Stewart, Bruce Willis, Michael Wincott, Lily Rabe, Kate Burton, Moon Bloodgood & Sean Penn.

Music by: Marcelo Zarvos

Genre: Comedy

Budget: $20,000,000

Filming Dates: 22 March 2007 – 12 May 2007

Filming Locations: California (USA) | Connecticut (USA) | Cannes (France)

Release Date: October 17, 2008

Runtime: 110 minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some violent images, sexual content and some drug material

What Just Happened is based on the acclaimed, bestselling memoir by veteran Hollywood producer Art Linson, who wrote the screenplay and produced the film.

This is the second time that director Barry Levinson works with Robin Wright. The first one was in 1992 when Levinson directed Wright in the movie ‘Toys’.

The performances were so strong that, in several cases, Levinson was inspired to keep the camera rolling in unusually long single takes. This was particularly true for the scene in which Robert De Niro and Robin Wright, as Ben and Kelly, visit the psychiatrist (Kate Burton) whose primary goal is to keep the couple happily apart ever after. “Their performance together was so strong that it didn’t need any coverage.  It worked as a single shot,” says Levinson.

This was the closing film of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. It was screened out-of-competition.

The subplot involving Bruce Willis refusing to shave his beard for a movie is based on a real-life incident writer and producer Art Linson had with Alec Baldwin on the set of The Edge (1997).

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