It’s Nancy Meyers Week at Vulture. Why? Because it’s The Holiday season, and It’s Complicated. Something’s Gotta Give.
The extra recalls Mr. Napkin Head, how the cine helped cull her ancestors out of debt, and the aftermost time she heard from Jude Law. Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures
This account originally ran in December 2019. We are republishing it on the breach of Nancy Meyers Anniversary at Vulture, at the end of which we will be hosting a appropriate copy of Friday Night Cine Club. Rachel Handler will activate her screening of The Holiday on December 18 at 7 p.m. ET. Arch to Vulture’s Twitter to bolt her alive commentary,
In 2006, our aristocrat and savior Nancy Meyers did the impossible: She fabricated a complete modern-day Christmas rom-com. The Holiday has everything: Kate Winslet antic a alternation of alive Eileen Fisher tops; Cameron Diaz drunkenly singing the Killers abandoned in a bizarre cabin; Jude Law’s airy algidity English tan; Jude Law with a napkin on his head. The best allotment is, 13 years later, it absolutely holds up; I’ve credible this cine at atomic 20 times, and my admirer has afresh abreast me that every time I see it, I say, “Wow, this absolutely holds up!”
The apriorism of The Holiday is both acutely simple and blisteringly complicated. Amanda (Diaz) is a sex-negative, Los Angeles–dwelling editor of cine trailers who hasn’t cried aback she was 15. Iris (Winslet) is a blue British bi-weekly columnist who cannot abatement out of adulation with her shitty ex. A anniversary afore Christmas, both spontaneously adjudge to log on to a home-exchange website and bandy houses for two weeks, with Amanda headed to the abandoned Surrey countryside and Iris affective into Amanda’s sprawling L.A. mansion, arranged to the aspect with impossibly aloof furnishings. Both women appetite to get abroad from the men in their lives, so naturally, both abatement in adulation with new men: Amanda with Iris’s adventurous (and, again, cautiously tan) book-editor brother Graham (Law); Iris with Amanda’s ex-boyfriend’s artisan acquaintance Miles (Jack Black, which is still a awe-inspiring choice, Nancy, but it’s fine).
The cine is abundantly continued for a Christmas rom-com, clocking in at a amazing two hours and 18 minutes. But the account fly by, acknowledgment to a alternation of categorical scenes that apply on, in no accurate order: the alleviative ability of fettuccine alfredo, the VHS athenaeum at Blockbuster, grocery arcade abroad, aged amphibian therapy, the abstruse beatitude of blackout shades, and whether or not to acknowledge to a allotment of mail. My admired scene, though, takes abode about center through the film: Amanda shows up unannounced at Graham’s huge abode afterwards a alternation of bashed animal interludes, accepting absitively she’s DTF afresh alike admitting they ultimately alive on adverse abandon of the world. Aback she arrives, she realizes Graham has withheld a cogent activity detail from her: He’s not absolutely a abandoned distinct pubgoer, but rather, a widower with two adolescent children. Rather than storm out, she spends the black blind out with Graham and his two crazily ambrosial kids, Sophie (Miffy Englefield) and Olivia (Emma Pritchard). The kids are bedeviled with Amanda — “You attending like my Barbie” — and are thusly bent to affect her. During a hot-chocolate break, Sophie and Olivia appeal that Graham “do Mr. Napkin Head.” Graham, humiliated, eventually agrees to put a napkin over his face and pretend to smoke a spoon.
The amative activity of Mr. Napkin Arch proves so able that Amanda and Graham end up together, complete the blur by abominably dancing about his active allowance with Iris and Miles (who accept allegedly aureate 14 hours for the occasion) and Sophie and Olivia. During my anniversary rewatch of the blur this year, it addled me that the actuality who acceptable has the best absorbing angle on this complete blur is Miffy herself, arena Jude Law’s 7-year-old babe in a cine anxious primarily with Jude Law’s alluring sexuality. Aloof afore The Holiday’s 13-year-anniversary, I FaceTimed with Miffy, who abundantly expounded aloft Mr. Napkin Head, how the cine helped cull her ancestors out of debt, and the aftermost time she heard from Jude.
How’d you aboriginal apprehend about the role? Do you bethink how you got the audition?The audience action has ashore with me for a very, actual continued time because it was the aboriginal audience action that I anytime did, which is insane. I’d alone been with the bureau I was with for about a year at the time. I’d done a little advert, and we got this email about this audition. Acutely in the aboriginal audience action they don’t absolutely specify too abundant about what the blur is. I don’t anticipate it listed a administrator or annihilation like that. It was just, “Feature film, attractive for a girl.” We started activity forth to these auditions and I anticipate it was at that point we accomplished that it was absolutely a big affair activity on. There were so abounding girls in these auditions. I anticipate there were about 2,500. We started off with the accustomed array of actuality that you do as a adolescent amateur — accepting to apperceive your personality a little bit. Afresh as the auditions went on, I anticipate there were bristles in total, you array of got a bit added austere and they acquaint curve and you acquisition out a little bit added about who the administrator is.
What fabricated you appetite to alpha acting so young?I did a brace of adverts afore it, because that was our aboriginal aim aback I started acting — it was added to do with the actuality that I appear from a actual banal background. We were homeless. We didn’t accept much. Actuality a very, actual arrogant kid, my dad thought, Well, maybe this would be benign for her to alpha earning her own money. Maybe she could pay for acting classes. So we were alone assured adverts, maybe a little bit stage, actual basal work. And afresh a year afterwards actuality on the books with the bureau we got through this huge affair — so it was sudden, actual sudden.
You were abandoned at the time that you were auditioning?We’d aloof been housed; I anticipate it was about a ages or so afterwards we were put into abiding housing. We were still accepting out of a lot of the issues of homelessness, things like debts and such. So yes, it was a actual abnormal time for us activity to the auditions with these actual affecting characters, and afresh we’d appear home to these sorts of things.
What was that cerebral antagonism like for you as a kid?It was actual surreal because, I mean, all I’d anytime accustomed growing up — my dad had me actual adolescent with a actual adolescent mother, and they breach up and it fabricated things very, very, difficult. So all I’d anytime accustomed was active in poverty. We’d confused about the country, from B&Bs to shelters and things like that for a acceptable two years. And then, suddenly, I started accomplishing these auditions and I got The Holiday and it was aloof addition world, for both me and my dad. We’d never accomplished annihilation of the sort. It was actual crazy.
Wow. So how continued afterwards the audience did you alpha filming?I anticipate it was about six months of accomplishing the auditions, because actuality so young, they can’t absolutely assignment through it as abundant as they can as you get older. So they had to array of carve it bottomward and they did auditions all about the country. But aback we begin that we got the job, it all happened actual quickly. There was a lot of paperwork to array out. It was alone a few months afterwards that, that we were aureate out to America for apparel fittings.
Did Jude or Cameron or Nancy appear to the auditions? Or did you accommodated them aboriginal on set?For the aboriginal four it was aloof casting admiral and such. And afresh the aftermost audition, aback there was alone about six girls there, we absolved in and it was all a little bit added hush, and we went into the allowance and Nancy Meyers was aloof sat there, accessible for the audition. Acutely at that time I had no abstraction who she was, I was 6.
For the aftermost audition, she was there and she was so abundantly hands-on with everything. Aloof amazing, aloof fantastic. She asked you actual specific things and she was so affable with us, it was added a sit-down babble with these children. She was consistently like that, actual hands-on and lovely.
What do you bethink about your aboriginal day on set?The blur was filmed aback to front. So our aboriginal day on set properly, we did the apparel things and stuff, and afresh we filmed the aftermost arena in the film, the New Year’s party.
Where anybody is abominably dancing.[Laughs.] Yes, that’s the one arena in the blur that all of the capital characters are together. So it was a really, absolutely nice starting point for us to be able to get to apperceive anniversary other. But it was crazy. I mean, at the time I didn’t absolutely accept any able abstraction who Jude Law and Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet were. My dad was absolutely acceptable at assuming me their assignment and added underground things that they’d done. He capital me to apprehend they were bodies and not aloof these actors. So I knew who they were, but the alone actuality that I absolutely accustomed like, “Oh, this person’s famous,” was Jack Black. So I absolved assimilate set and he aloof stood there. I anticipate at that point it was aback it hit me like, “Oh goodness, this is like a thing. This is real, this is complete life.”
It was such a nice aboriginal day because we were all dressed up. We’re all acquisitive to go and accomplishing this little party, and we had these canapes, and music playing. It was the loveliest aboriginal day I’ve anytime had on set.
How did Jude and Cameron and Kate and Jack amusement you guys? Were they affectionate appear you?Honestly, they were incredible. To accept these two, you know, 6-year-olds, active about and actuality anytime aflame and allurement endless of questions — they showed no emphasis at all. They had all the time for us in the world. Jude acclimated to pop his arch annular the aperture aback we were accomplishing our ancestry and things like that. He acclimated to sit and babble with my dad. We did act like a ancestors a little bit, and I anticipate that shows in our accord onscreen. We were all so abutting and that wasn’t aloof for aback the cameras were rolling. We were consistently aloof chatting, authoritative jokes, and accepting a absolutely acceptable time. I don’t apperceive how they put up with us, to be honest.
What was Nancy like as a director? What array of tips and administration did she accord you?Nancy’s very, actual clear. Her brain’s fantastic, honestly. The way that her apperception works. But she about lets you run with it, because she realizes you’re arena a child, so you’re activity to be in that mind-set bigger than anyone else. She’d accord a asperous idea, but a lot of the things that she asked us to do, she would aloof ask us to ad-lib them. So there’s a few curve and actuality in the film, like this bit in the Mr. Napkin Arch scene, which anybody loves. There’s a bit aback he’s accepting the napkin on, and me and Cameron are aloof accepting a little chitchat. It was aloof complete ad-lib — she capital it to appear beyond as accustomed as it could be. The administration she mostly gave us was, “What would you do in this situation?”
So did you accept abounding scripted curve or was best of it meant to be improvised?Everything was scripted, but a lot of the admonition and actuality afflicted as we went along. Aback you’re alive with kids as adolescent as me and Emma were — things change. They consistently took our account onboard, like, “Let’s absolutely ask the two girls if this is how they’d acknowledge in complete life,” which I anticipate makes the blur attending a little added natural.
Do you bethink any specific scenes or curve you improvised?With Mr. Napkin Head, aback I say, “It’s so funny. You’ll abatement off your armchair it’s so funny.” That was absolutely improv, that was a onetime affair I said. Never could reenact it, couldn’t bethink what I said at the time, and they absolutely acclimated it. [Laughs.] My dad loves it because he loves to point out the actuality that I accomplish a absolutely brainless face during that line. He’s captivated that adjoin me for 14 years now, which is great, wonderful.
And there’s a arena area me and Emma are comatose abutting to Jude in a bed, and he’s on the phone, and they aloof let us absolutely go to beddy-bye — they larboard us in there for ten minutes, waited until we’d gone comatose and afresh started rolling.
Did you accept that aforementioned activity that your appearance has against Cameron, area you array of were in awe of her and admired her? Were you abashed at all?We acclimated to sit in beard and architecture with her, from absolutely aboriginal in the morning, so I anticipate we had absolutely a altered relationship. We acclimated to see every ancillary of Cameron, every ancillary of Kate, every ancillary of everyone, because there was no break absolutely amid any of us. It wasn’t, you know, These are the adults, and this is area they sit. We had beard and architecture at bristles in the morning and so did Cameron. We’d sit in there and abrade her. She was so down-to-earth, and so aerated and fantastic, and able and great. She consistently had article to say to us. She never seemed affronted with us. So we never absolutely saw her like that. We consistently aloof array of saw her as, “Oh, it’s Cammie.” I anticipate we acclimated to alarm her Cammie absolutely a lot. We’d ask her advice, and she’d consistently accord us little tips and things about the way we were administration ourselves.
In the covering arena you guys accept all this ambrosial babble with her area you’re absorbing over her architecture and ask her to beddy-bye over. Was that improvised or scripted?That was scripted, but we had to change absolutely a lot of things about that because it aloof didn’t breeze the way kids would absolutely talk. I bethink that we batten to Nancy about timing and things like that, and authoritative abiding it acquainted authentic. But the covering arena was so special. They capital us to feel absolutely involved, so the stars and actuality that were on the ceiling, they let us advice out during our ancestry hours to get these little stars cut out. They showed us how the covering was complete and got us to move things about in there and accomplish it feel homey. It was all actual hands-on for us. It kept us actual interested. I anticipate in a lot of added productions that I’ve heard of adolescent kids actuality in, it’s a little bit less, you know, agog and relaxed.
What do you bethink about filming the Mr. Napkin Arch scene? As you said, that’s the one anybody remembers.It’s the one that my accompany like to do best in bars. Awful, absolutely awful.
To this day?Oh yes. Any chance. My accomplice at the moment finds any excuse. Like he’s introducing me, he’ll be like, “Oh, this is my girlfriend, her name’s Miffy. She was in The Holiday.” Aloof all the time. All the time, it’s awful. So I apperceive that arena has consistently ashore with people, which is batty to me. Because at the time, we aloof anticipation it’d be some beautiful little throwaway.
How was the hot amber with bristles marshmallows?The hot amber that we had in the mugs was absolutely fake. They weren’t activity to assurance adolescent kids with mugs of aqueous while they’re active around. And while Jude’s got the napkin on and he’s accomplishing the talking, that was complete improv, him aloof chatting abroad — aback he says, “Smoking’s absolutely bad for you,” and all that array of stuff. And there’s a little babble that he has with Emma as able-bodied aback she’s allurement about Cameron’s accent, her American accent, that was complete ad-lib as well. Absolutely a lot of the little moments in that arena were aloof seeing how we acted calm onscreen. We aloof did whatever came naturally, and I anticipate that’s apparently the loveliest allotment abaft it.
Did you beam annihilation fun about the on-set dynamics amid the capital cast? Were there any array of fun crushes activity on?I anticipate anybody got on because anybody array of knew anniversary added from accomplished projects. But I anticipate one of the capital things that’s ashore with me is the bulk of time these couples — onscreen couples— absorb together. And we got to apprehend about scenes we weren’t in. There was a arena area we were with Jude and Cameron, and they were both aloof in complete agitation about article that happened the day before. We were oblivious, we had no idea, but I anticipate we had to stop filming for a acceptable five, ten account because they aloof couldn’t ascendancy themselves.
What was your accord like with your onscreen sister?Me and Emma got on really, absolutely well. It looks like there’s absolutely a big age gap, but I anticipate there’s alone about 15 weeks amid our birthdays. For the aftermost two auditions they commutual us up with altered girls to accomplish abiding that we got forth as people. I anticipate they absolutely advised the actuality that 6-year-olds like to bang off sometimes, if they don’t like people, they’re apparently activity to accept a action with them. So they fabricated abiding that we got forth really, absolutely able-bodied and that we had allure and things like that.
We had all of our ancestry together, we backward in the aforementioned accommodation block together, we went out on trips together. I bethink activity to the cinema with her on a brace of occasions, while I anticipate my dad went to the Cheesecake Factory.
When was the aftermost time you batten to her?We didn’t absolutely allege afterwards the film. I anticipate her ancestors activity took a little bit of a altered turn. So afterwards the film, I agitated on accomplishing acting, but it was never a career aisle for Emma. It was originally her sister that was auditioning, and afresh Emma array of angry the eye of the casting administrator and that was it. We both aloof took actual altered paths and we never absolutely batten afterwards that. I aloof achievement she’s accomplishing really, absolutely well.
She’s adamantine to find!Yes, I anticipate her and her ancestors accept taken a bit of a backseat on amusing media and actuality because they didn’t absolutely appetite the spotlight. I can’t acquisition her anywhere.
What was it like to blanket the film? Were you emotional?Everyone was on set for the aftermost day, for the blanket day. And we had to fly aback to England so we couldn’t go to the blanket party. It was a absolutely big affecting day for me and my dad — we’d gone from active this wonderful, amazing activity in L.A., and alike aback we were filming in England, still advised like complete royalty, spoiled. We acquainted absurd and it was great, and we were about to fly home and aloof lose all of this, upbeat, wonderful, taken-care-of vibe that we had, to acknowledgment to our horrible, abhorrent board abode in Hampshire. So we were not accomplishing accept that day. I anticipate my dad was in tears, I was in tears, and we were absolutely agitated about wrapping. We’d fabricated all these admirable accompany that we weren’t absolutely activity to see anytime again.
What do you bethink about your aftermost alternation with the cast?Jude and Cameron fabricated the ridiculous, admirable accomplishment of accepting me an Emma alone denim jackets fabricated with inscriptions of our names and “The Holiday” and “Hollywood 2006,” and they came over alone and they gave it to us. That has consistently absolutely ashore with me, because these busy, important bodies accept that little anticipation of, “I appetite article to stick with these adolescent girls about this affair that they did.” It’s aloof the best anxious affair in the world. It absolutely shows what affectionate of bodies they are off-camera. I’ve still got the anorak as well.
When was the aftermost time you batten to Jude or any of the others?The aftermost time that we saw them was at the premiere in England. We were all glammed up, and we had architecture artists, and my brother and sister were there, and all my family. I anticipate my dad abnormally had a acceptable night. He fabricated the best out of the chargeless Champagne. [Laughs.] Absurd night for him. We had this white carpeting bottomward Leicester Square, and it was fantastic. I would adulation to allocution to them, abnormally Jude. I’d adulation to accept a babble with him and see what’s activity on. I apperceive a few years ago that he mentioned that he would like to apperceive what we’re doing. Obviously, I don’t anticipate it’s actual accessible for me aloof to accord them a alarm and be like, “Oh, you all right, mate?” But afar from that, I’ve never absolutely announced to the cast. I did allege to Nancy Meyers though, for absolutely a few years afterwards the film.
What’d you allege about?I’ve absolutely announced to her on Instagram about two, three weeks ago. Aback I larboard the film, I gave her my email address, she capital to swap, and we exchanged photos and emails for about four or bristles years afterwards, regularly. Acutely as I’ve developed up, things afflicted for me, and Nancy’s acutely an abundantly active lady. God knows why she alike replied! But yes, I accomplished out to her. I anticipate I tagged her in article on Instagram the added day and she replied and aloof said, “It’s absolutely nice to see how you’re doing.” And it was alone a brace of weeks ago. She’s consistently been so complex in aggregate that I did. She’s a admirable lady.
What is it like for you to accept bodies access you to this day about this movie? Is it frustrating? Or is it fun for you?Oh, I adulation it. Over the years, I’ve kept absolutely a big amusing media presence, so I do get a lot of bodies extensive out. Sometimes it’s absolutely adolescent bodies that are like, “Oh, are you that babe from that film?” That can get hardly annoying, because I’ve declared it absolutely a few times, yes. But I’ve additionally met aloof the loveliest bodies that accept said that they chase me because of the film. I met a adult through Instagram who based her bells about The Holiday. Insane. I adulation still actuality able to allocution about it. And I adulation the actuality that bodies can attending at the way that I am now, and attending at the actuality that I’m so different, and booty some array of afflatus from the actuality that you don’t aloof accept to attending one way to do some actuality with your life.
How do you anticipate you affect people?It’s actual accustomed for adolescent actors to appear from affluent backgrounds. You charge absolutely a lot of money for things like arch shots and bureau books, and accepting to auditions, and traveling, and acting classes. At the time, my dad capital to accumulate my accomplishments hush-hush, the abjection that we lived in. So it’s aloof absolutely nice to be able to get that heard, and to be able to allege about the actuality that I wasn’t aloof this babe in this film. I’ve appear from a appealing asperous place.
It additionally makes me blessed to apperceive that bodies can attending at the way that I dress now, the way that I talk, and they can see that they can do it, too.
How would you call it, the way you dress and talk?I like abundant studs, I like brainless piercings and antic haircuts. I got into the jailbait arena about the age of 12, and it’s the complete adulation of my life, alongside acting. The actuality that I did a blur afflicted me absolutely a lot with blowing growing up. If you alive in a board abode and you’ve been in this huge film, a lot of kids and a lot of parents attending bottomward their adenoids at you. So accepting complex in the jailbait arena was aloof incredible. Bodies don’t affliction about area you’re from or what you’re doing. It gave me a complete faculty of account again, and all of this announcement that I had central of me, absent to do this or that to my body, or dress a assertive way — it was all absolutely accepted. There was no rules. It was aloof “Do you, be happy, and balloon what anyone abroad thinks.”
So your accord to the cine wasn’t consistently positive?I acclimated to abhorrence it. Amid the ages of about 12 to 15, I was angsty — “Oh, I don’t appetite to allocution about it, I was so young.” During that stage, I couldn’t watch it, would accept a go at anyone who brought it up. Now, acutely I’m in my 20s, and I can realize, “Oh my God, that was absolutely absolutely a air-conditioned affair I did.” I was a weird-looking, hardly beautiful kid. That’s fine.
Did you accept agitation award jobs at that akin afterwards, and did that accept article to do with those feelings?Yes. The Holiday helped absolutely a lot with actuality able to accumulate up with accomplishing acting and things like that. But my dad is a distinct parent, he’s got addition two kids, my brother and sister. So if you accept addition two accouchement that charge you, you can’t be putting all your time into one kid. So as anon as I got to the age of 11, and my brother and sister were 10 and 9, they’d started to apprehend what was activity on, and it became credible to me and my dad that we couldn’t do this. It was causing a lot of arguments and fights. And the emphasis of advancing from area we came from, active in the abode we were advancing from, it aloof didn’t accomplish faculty for us at the time to continue.
What are you up to appropriate now?I do a lot of music stuff, at the moment. I comedy a lot of gigs. My partner’s in a bandage as well, that gets to bout about America and things like that. So I get to go to a lot of his shows. In my additional time I still apprehend monologues, I still address a lot and watch a lot of films.
The Holiday is accessible to watch on Hulu, SlingTV and fubuTV, and to hire on Prime Video, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.
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