What does Reese Witherspoon's new romantic comedy Home Again have in common with Whiplash? If you've seen both films, you may be quick to respond with "Uh, absolutely nothing." After all, one is a twisted study of the lengths we'll go to achieve perfection...and the other is about jazz drumming. Except: What if Home Again was really about the making of Whiplash?
Before this theory blows your mind, here's some background for the uninitiated.
Home Again, which was written and directed by the producer Nancy Meyers' daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer, is about three young aspiring filmmakers who move in with newly separated mom Alice (Witherspoon). The film's feel-good plot pretty much has nothing in common with Whiplash, which is about a music student (Miles Teller) who feeds off his highly toxic relationship with his cruel, ruthless teacher (J.K. Simmons).
But it's not the plot of Whiplash that's important to this theory. Instead, it's about how Whiplash, the movie, came to be. The film was based on a short written and directed by then-unknown Damien Chazelle, whom you may know from a little movie called La La Land. Whiplash was the movie that skyrocketed Chazelle to the big leagues, and it earned three Oscars, plus permission for Chazelle to make his Ryan Gosling-starring musical opus.
So what does this have to do with Home Again? Basically everything, says Orla Smith of Twitter. In a series of tweets, Smith spells out exactly why the three filmmakers in Home Again are representations of Whiplash's Chazelle, its star, Teller, and the film's producer Jason Blum.
"Can we talk about how HOME AGAIN is stealth a film about the making of WHIPLASH??"
"Nat Wolff represents Miles Teller. The other 2 guys represent Chazelle (as a writer and director)"
"They go to a meeting and we find out there's interest in making their short into a feature. Producer says it was best thing he saw at SXSW"
"COMPARATIVELY: WHIPLASH was originally a short that generated buzz at Sundance and was made into a feature"
"In HOME AGAIN, the board meeting guys tell the 3 filmmakers that a producer (whose name begins with J) is interested in working on the film"
"The producer has only done low budget horror before but he's interested in getting into more serious fare"
"WHIPLASH was produced by Jason Blum, who had only done low-budget horror before. It was his first serious film."
"The writer character in HOME AGAIN rewrites a schlocky horror script in order to pay the rent"
"While working towards WHIPLASH, Damien Chazelle did rewrites on THE LAST EXORCISM PART II"
"When the director character in HOME AGAIN leaves unexpectedly, one of the guys knows where to find him"
"The other guy asks him how he knew where to look: "It's Justin's house. Justin's the only other person he knows in LA"
"DAMIEN CHAZELLE'S GOOD FRIEND AND LONG TIME COLLABORATOR IS COMPOSER "JUSTIN" HURWITZ"
To add further credence to Smith's theory: I did a little digging, and discovered that Chazelle's agent's first name does start with a J, as the filmmakers' "WCA" agents do in the movie.
Color me convinced, Orla Smith. Who knew Home Again was doing more than just reinventing the rom-com?
We reached out to representatives for Hallie Meyers-Shyer and will update this post should we hear back.