Tagline: A story about two strangers. One a little stranger than the other.
The boy and the girl in “Adam” are no ordinary characters, and their romance is anything but familiar. Soon after moving in, Beth, a brainy, beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome, but odd, fellow in the downstairs apartment whose awkwardness is perplexing. Beth and Adam’s ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating.
Romance can be risky, perplexing and filled with the perils of miscommunication – and that’s if you aren’t Adam, for whom life itself is this way. In this heartfelt romantic comedy, Hugh Dancy (“The Jane Austen Book Club,” “Confessions of a Shopaholic”) stars as Adam, a handsome but intriguing young man who has all his life led a sheltered existence – until he meets his new neighbor, Beth (Rose Byrne, “Damages,” “28 Weeks Later,” “Knowing”), a beautiful, cosmopolitan young woman who pulls him into the outside world, with funny, touching and entirely unexpected results. Their implausible and enigmatic relationship reveals just how far two people from different realities can stretch in search of an extraordinary connection.
Adam is an 2009 American romantic drama film written and directed by Max Mayer, starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne. The film follows the relationship between a young man named Adam (Dancy) with Asperger syndrome, and Beth (Byrne). Mayer was inspired to write the film’s script when he heard a radio interview with a man who had Asperger’s. Filming took place in New York City in December 2005. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize, and was released in the United States on July 29, 2009. The release date in Canada and the UK was 7 August 2009 in Australia, and everywhere else after Labor Day.
Designing Adam’s World
ADAM is not just an offbeat love story. It’s also very much a New York love story. For Max Mayer, part of the fun was creating two different views of New York – the bustling city of struggle and opportunity that Beth lives in; and the secret city of hidden nooks and urban wilderness that Adam inhabits. The overall result is a quieter, greener, more elegant Manhattan where love blossoms out of view.
“I grew up in New York and I knew that if you shoot in New York it becomes a character in the movie because the city always encroaches in its own way on the story and you never get perfect conditions,” Mayer notes. “To add to that we have a character who tries to live in a glass bubble in the middle of the city, so it was quite a challenge.”
To capture all this, Mayer worked closely with a talented production team, including director of photography Seamus Tierney and production designer Tamar Gadish. Both Tierney and Gadish worked to create sense of intimacy that enlarges the characters through detail – Gadish with strikingly contrasting interiors for Adam, Beth and Beth’s parents and Tierney with a warm, understated visual style that puts the spotlight on each character.
“I would say that about 75% of making this movie was simply working with Hugh and Rose and Seamus and Tamar figuring out the relationships and how to have the camera reflect them,” says Mayer. “It was all done very moment to moment.”
Throughout those moments, the city provided its own inspiration. “Shooting in New York in the winter isn’t all glamour,” laughs Leslie Urdang, “but the city’s energy becomes part of your filmmaking and that’s very exciting.”
She summarizes: “Ultimately, the biggest challenge of ADAM, in the production, the performances and the editing process, was trying to create a world in which you can imagine these two people coming together, and where you can laugh and recognize our own relationships. We had a great team who believed in Max, and who especially believed in Beth and Adam.”
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Directed by: Max Mayer
Starring: Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne, Amy Irving, Frankie Faison, Peter Gallagher, Haviland Morris, Adam LeFevre, Terry Walters, Steffany Huckaby, Susan Porro, John Rothman, Maddie Corman
Screenplay by: Max Mayer
Production Design by: Tamar Gadish
Cinematography by: Seamus Tierney
Film Editing by: Grant Myers
Costume Design by: Alysia Raycraft
Set Decoration by: Anita Chacinska
Art Direction by: Natalie Tyler
Music by: Christopher Lennertz
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, sexual content and language.
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release Date: July 29, 2009