Noah Baumbach

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Noah Baumbach
Berlinale greenberg.jpg
Baumbach (far right) at Berlinale 2010 for his film Greenberg
Born (1969-09-03) September 3, 1969 (age 45)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Screenwriter, film director
Years active 1995-present
Spouse(s) Jennifer Jason Leigh (m. 2005; div. 2013)[1]
Children 1

Noah Baumbach (born September 3, 1969)[2] is an American writer, director and independent filmmaker.

Early life[edit]

Baumbach, the third of four siblings, was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the son of novelist/film critic Jonathan Baumbach and Village Voice critic Georgia Brown. He graduated from Brooklyn's Midwood High School in 1987 and received his BA in English from Vassar College in 1991. Soon after he briefly worked as a messenger at The New Yorker magazine.[3] His father is Jewish and his mother is Protestant.[4]


Baumbach made his writing and directing debut at the age of 26 with Kicking and Screaming (1995), a comedy about four young men who graduate from college and refuse to move on with their lives. The film starred Josh Hamilton, Chris Eigeman, and Carlos Jacott and premiered in 1995 at the New York Film Festival. Baumbach was chosen as one of Newsweek's "Ten New Faces of 1996".

In 1997 he wrote and directed Mr. Jealousy, a film about a young writer so jealous about his girlfriend that he sneaks into the group therapy sessions of her ex-boyfriend to discover what kind of relationship they had. He then co-wrote (under the name Jesse Carter) and directed (under the name Ernie Fusco) the New York-set comedy of manners Highball. He co-wrote The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) with Wes Anderson.

His 2005 film The Squid and the Whale was a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about his childhood in Brooklyn and the effect of his parents' divorce on the family in the mid-1980s. The film stars Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney in the parent roles. In an interview with author Jonathan Lethem in BOMB Magazine, Baumbach said of the film, "Sometimes when I think about the whole experience of this, it starts to become a joke within a joke within a joke. The film is not only inspired by my childhood and my parents’ divorce, but it was also the first script I didn’t show to my parents while I was working on it. It’s not that I wanted to protect them from anything. I just wanted to keep it my own experience."[5] The Squid and the Whale was a sleeper hit and a critical success, earning Baumbach two awards at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay. It also received six Independent Spirit Award nominations, three Golden Globe nominations and the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review all voted it the year’s best screenplay.

Baumbach wrote and directed the 2007 comedy-drama Margot at the Wedding, starring his wife Jennifer Jason Leigh, Nicole Kidman, Jack Black and John Turturro. In the film, Kidman plays a woman named Margot who spends several days visiting her sister Pauline (Leigh) on the eve of Pauline's wedding to Black's character. It was shot in April/May 2006 in Hampton Bays and City Island, Bronx. The film was released in the United States by Paramount Vantage on November 16, 2007.

Baumbach helped to write and direct the short films "Clearing the Air" and "New York Underground" which aired on Saturday Night Live. The films were co-written and co-produced by cast-members Fred Armisen and Bill Hader. "New York Underground" featured Hader as a British rock journalist doing a piece on quirky underground musician Joshua Rainhorne (Armisen has performed as Joshua at numerous live events). "Clearing the Air" featured Hader, Armisen, and Paul Rudd (who was the guest host for that week) trying to clear the air over a girl they all slept with. Both pieces aired on SNL in the fall of 2008.

Baumbach co-wrote the screenplay for the 2009 film version of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox with Wes Anderson, who directed it using stop-motion technology.

His film Greenberg was released March 2010, and was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.[6]

The Toronto International Film Festival's 2012 line-up included Baumbach's film Frances Ha, co-written by Greta Gerwig.[7][8]

Baumbach has "shown an affinity for writing about the East Coast elite." Baumbach has also written an adaptation of Curtis Sittenfeld's novel Prep.[9] He also co-wrote a screenplay for DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.[10] He worked on HBO's adaptation of the Jonathan Franzen novel The Corrections,[11][12][13][14] but the pilot was never completed and HBO passed on the project.[15][16]

Upcoming projects[edit]

In September 2013, it was reported that Baumbach is secretly directing at DreamWorks Animation an animated feature film adaptation of Berkeley Breathed's book series, Flawed Dogs.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Baumbach met actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2001, while she was starring on Broadway in Proof. The couple married on September 2, 2005. Their son, Rohmer Emmanuel, was born on March 17, 2010.[18] Leigh filed for divorce from Baumbach on November 15, 2010, in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was finalized in September 2013.[1]

Baumbach's romantic and creative collaboration with actress/writer Greta Gerwig, which began late in 2011, is described in an April 2013 profile in The New Yorker.[19][20]


Year Title Director Producer Writer Actor Role Notes Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1995 Kicking and Screaming Yes Yes Yes Danny 53%[21] 75[22]
1997 Highball Yes Yes Yes Philip
Mr. Jealousy Yes Yes Yes Yes Arliss 67%[23] 61[24]
2004 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Yes Yes Phillip Co-written with Wes Anderson 55%[25]
2005 The Squid and the Whale Yes Yes 93%[27]
2007 Margot at the Wedding Yes Yes 52%[28]
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox Yes Co-written with Wes Anderson 92%[29]
Alexander the Last Yes Directed by Joe Swanberg
2010 Greenberg Yes Yes 75%[30]
2012 Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Yes Co-written with Eric Darnell 79%[31]
Frances Ha Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Greta Gerwig 93%[32]
2014 While We're Young Yes Yes Yes 84%[33]
2015 Mistress America Yes Yes Yes Co-written with Greta Gerwig
She's Funny That Way Yes Co-produced with Wes Anderson
Directed by Peter Bogdanovich


  1. ^ a b "Jennifer Jason Leigh is single again after three-year divorce battle". MSN Entertainment. 8 October 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Baumbach, Noah". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 27–30. ISBN 9780824211134. 
  3. ^ Parker, Ian. "HAPPINESS: Noah Baumbach’s New Wave". Conde Nast. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi (2005-10-13). "Prickly Fathers, Rebellious Sons | Arts". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  5. ^ Lethem, Jonathan. "Noah Baumbach", BOMB Magazine, Fall, 2005. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Roxborough, Scott. "Hollywood Reporter: Berlin festival unveils full lineup". Retrieved February 7, 2010. [dead link]
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Garrett, Diane (July 17, 2007). "Howard ready to father 'Children'". Variety. 
  10. ^ Paskin, Willa. "Noah Baumbach Punching Up Madagascar 3 - Vulture". Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (November 22, 2011). "Ewan McGregor to Star in HBO's 'The Corrections'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  14. ^ Heyman, Jessie (November 22, 2011). "Ewan McGregor To Star In HBO's 'The Corrections'". Huffington Post. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Connelly, Brendon (September 18, 2013). "Noah Baumbach Has Been Secretly Directing An Animated Movie Of Berkeley Breathed’s Flawed Dogs". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Single White Female Star Jennifer Jason Leigh Files For Divorce". RadarOnline. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  19. ^ Olsen, Mark (September 7, 2012). "'Frances Ha' bonds Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig". Los Angeles Times. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Kicking and Screaming". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Kicking and Screaming Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Mr. Jealousy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Mr. Jealousy Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  25. ^ "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  26. ^ "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  27. ^ "The Squid and the Whale". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Margot at the Wedding". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Fantastic Mr. Fox". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Greenberg". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Magagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Frances Ha". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 9, 2014. 
  33. ^ While We're Young, 2015-03-27, retrieved 2015-05-13 

External links[edit]