Behind the Performances in The Squid and the Whale

By turns hilarious and heartrending, The Squid and the Whale is one of Noah Baumbach’s most autobiographical works. Rooted in his experiences growing up in a hyperliterate household in 1980s Park Slope, this ensemble comedy captures the tempestuous dynamics between two ambitious writers and their precocious sons as they weather the fallout of a painful divorce. To bring this unsparing portrait of family dysfunction to the screen, Baumbach enlisted a formidable cast, whose chemistry brings a sense of lifelike authenticity to the director’s barbed dialogue and tender characterizations.

For our edition of the film, coming out tomorrow on Blu-ray and DVD, the lead actors spoke with us about the pleasures of collaborating on this project. In the below excerpt, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, and Owen Kline discuss the creative freedom and familial rapport they enjoyed on set.

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