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Heartburn (1986) Poster

(1986)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (2)  | Spoilers (1)
The main reason Jack Nicholson agreed to appear in this movie: he wanted to work with Meryl Streep.
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Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer was used as Annie the baby.
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Tony Shalhoub's first feature film role. Shalhoub had a love scene with Meryl Streep, but nearly all of his scenes were cut. Shalhoub can still be seen, though, as a passenger on a plane sitting behind Jack Nicholson.
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This movie doesn't make this explicit, but in real life, screenwriter Nora Ephron had been so upset by her husband's infidelity that she went into labor prematurely.
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Meryl Streep admitted on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014) that her daughter Mamie Gummer was credited under the name "Natalie Stern". Meryl said that she had this done so that there would be no photographs of her daughter, because she was only around eighteen months old at the time of filming.
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Meryl Streep was pregnant in real life during the making of the movie.
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This movie was based on Nora Ephron's real-life marriage to, and divorce from, Carl Bernstein, and the birth of their two sons. The woman with whom Bernstein had an affair was Margaret Jay, who was the wife of the British Ambassador to the United States, and daughter of British Prime Minister James Callaghan. Jay became a Baroness in 1992, and rose to become the first female Leader of the House of Lords between 1998 and 2001.
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According to Jon Danziger at digitallyobsessed.com, "the word back in the day was that Mandy Patinkin was originally slated to play the role of Mark Forman, but somehow got tainted by too much contact with (Carl) Bernstein (Nora Ephron's ex-husband, on whom the character was based), and wanted to make the character more likable. Nichols quickly snuffed that out, and brought in a last minute replacement, his leading man from Carnal Knowledge (1971), Jack Nicholson."
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Meryl Streep's daughter Mamie Gummer is not the only family member featured in a bit part. Meryl's mother Mary Streep and her younger brother Dana Streep played dinner party guests.
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Theatrical movie debut of Mamie Gummer (Annie), Kevin Spacey (Subway Thief), and Tony Shalhoub (Airline Passenger).
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Jack Nicholson replaced Mandy Patinkin as Mark Forman. Patinkin was originally cast, but was replaced by Nicholson after two days of shooting when producer and director Mike Nichols realized there was no chemistry between Patinkin and Meryl Streep.
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Dustin Hoffman turned down the role of Mark Forman. He had previously worked with Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
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In Everything Is Copy (2015), Jacob Bernstein's documentary about his mother Nora Ephron's life and career, he reveals that contentious negotiations over the movie adaptation of her novel "Heartburn" extended his parents' divorce for several years longer than most divorces take. Eventually, their divorce agreement included a stipulation that this movie was not allowed to depict the "Mark Forman" (Carl Bernstein) character as anything but a good, loving, and conscientious father (whatever his failings as a faithful husband were), and Producer and Director Mike Nichols had to be named as a legal signatory to the divorce.
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This movie represents the only movie credit of the late Mary Streep, who was the mother of Meryl Streep.
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Jack Nicholson's performance of "Soliloquy" ("My Boy Bill"), from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel", is a nod to screenwriter Nora Ephron's parents, Henry Ephron and Phoebe Ephron, who wrote the screenplay for the musical, Carousel (1956), which was also produced by Henry Ephron.
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The movie that Rachel Samstat and Mark Forman are watching in bed on their first date is The Brain That Wouldn't Die (1962).
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The cast includes six Oscar winners: Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Milos Forman, Maureen Stapleton, Mercedes Ruehl, and Kevin Spacey; and one Oscar nominee: Stockard Channing.
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Mark Forman was based on reporter Carl Bernstein. The actual Bernstein was played by Dustin Hoffman in All the President's Men (1976). Hoffman and Meryl Streep also played a divorcing couple in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
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It is probable that gossip columnist Liz Smith was the model for the Texan television personality Betty, the one who clinks her glass when she's going to share a piece of Washington, D.C. insider gossip. Like the character Betty, Liz Smith was a blonde Texan, and longtime good friend of Nora Ephron.
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This was originally intended to reunite Sophie's Choice (1982) stars Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.
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When Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) leaves her cheating husband and goes to stay at her father's apartment in New York City, the building her father lives in is The Apthorp on the upper west side of Manhattan. In real life, Nora Ephron lived at The Apthorp at this time.
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Debut English language and Hollywood feature film as an actor for Milos Forman (Dmitri).
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Carl Bernstein once said of his marriage break-up with Nora Ephron: "Nora and I both have always had a policy of keeping our private life out of the public eye."
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According to Patrick Nash at "threemoviebuffs.com", "the couple played by Richard Masur and Stockard Channing are incredibly similar to the couple played by Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher in Writer Nora Ephron's When Harry Met Sally... (1989).
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Second of three cinema collaborations of Meryl Streep and producer and director Mike Nichols. The others being Silkwood (1983) and Postcards from the Edge (1990). This was the only one of the three where Streep was not nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. Streep and Nichols also collaborated on a fourth production: the television mini-series Angels in America (2003).
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The movie's main theme song "Coming Around Again" sung by Carly Simon was a hit song in 1986 in the U.S. peaking at the number eighteen spot on the American Billboard Hot 100. The popular tune, which has been notable and memorable from being featured in this movie, is said to have resurrected Simon's singing career. The tune also samples the classic children's song "Itsy Bitsy Spider". The track was Simon's twelfth Top 40 hit in the U.S., and went to the number ten rank on the U.K. Singles Chart. The song went to number fifteen in South Africa, number twenty-nine in Australia, and number thirty-eight in Canada.
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Third of four cinema movie collaborations of Jack Nicholson and Mike Nichols. The others being Wolf (1994), The Fortune (1975), and Carnal Knowledge (1971).
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This movie featured four members of the Streep family. They are Mamie Gummer, Mary Streep, Dana Streep, and Meryl Streep.
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Milos Forman and Jack Nicholson are co-stars. Nine years earlier, Milos Forman directed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), where Nicholson was the star. In this movie, Nicholson's character's surname is Forman.
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Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) is a food writer and columnist. Nora Ephron was once a food writer and columnist for New York Magazine.
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Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) is a food writer and columnist. According to the June 27, 2012 article about Nora Ephron, by Julia Moskin in the Diner's Journal, the New York Times Blog on Dining Out, "Rachel Samstat, the heroine of 'Heartburn' said she could identify a certain kind of spoiled man in three words: 'Where's the butter?'. Ephron's juicy 1968 essay about the creation of the Time-Life Cookbooks Series at the Four Seasons ("The Food Establishment: Life in the Land of the Rising Souffle - Or Is It the Rising Meringue?") to the pitch-perfect recipes in 'Heartburn' (her autobiographical 1983 "novel with recipes") to the film Julie & Julia (2009) in 2009, food was real, front and center in her work." Also, the Herald said in 1986 of Heartburn (1986), "all of these scenes involve food, and eating is the central metaphor here: the consumption of food and the consumption of love. The motif builds so that the climax, Streep's final gesture of defiance, is much, shall we say, tastier than it otherwise would have been."
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The lead character, based on famous Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, is named Mark Forman. Although at the time this was a secret supposedly known only to Bernstein and his collaborator Bob Woodward, the real name of "Deep Throat", the journalists' principal informant of the Watergate affair, was Mark Felt. During her marriage to Bernstein, Nora Ephron deduced that the initials "MF" in her husband's notes referred to Mark Felt, years before his identity was made public.
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This was the second time Nora Ephron used the character name "Thelma Rice" in her screenplay. The first being in Silkwood (1983), also starring Meryl Streep.
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Debut movie as a composer for Carly Simon, who went on to compose the scores for other Meryl Streep, Nora Ephron, and Mike Nichols movies, such as This Is My Life (1992) (Ephron) and Postcards from the Edge (1990) (Streep, Nichols).
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Carly Simon also was a notable contributor to producer and director Mike Nichols' movie Working Girl (1988). "Let the River Run", her award-winning theme song, originally titled "Wall Street Hymn", punches up the long opening shot from a helicopter, following the Staten Island Ferry.
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This movie was released three years after the novel had been published. Ephron also wrote the script.
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Of two movies Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson have made together, both received star teaming above-the-title billing. Streep got first billing and Nicholson was second-billed in this movie, whereas in Ironweed (1987) it was the reverse.
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This was the second movie about divorce for Meryl Streep, after having previously co-starred and won a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
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First Mike Nichols directed comic role of Meryl Streep with Postcards from the Edge (1990) for both of them to follow. Nichols had previously directed Streep in the dramatic movie, Silkwood (1983).
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This movie features ideas, themes, and subjects which recur in Julie & Julia (2009) and When Harry Met Sally... (1989).
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Natasha Lyonne's debut.
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Jack Nicholson and Milos Forman appear in this film. Milos Forman directed Nicholson in 1975's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" Nicholson won Best Actor & Forman won Best Director at the 48th Academy Awards.
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Maureen Stapleton appeared in this movie in a supporting role as Vera. Stapleton had recently won a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Academy Award for Reds (1981). Stapleton had also appeared in a supporting role for Paramount Pictures in The Fan (1981), which also produced this movie.
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Milos Forman and Jack Nicholson are co-stars in this movie. Forman directed Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), where Nicholson was the star. In this movie, the last name of Nicholson's character is Forman.
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The movie's name is split into two words "Heart" and "Burn" and separated by a heart symbol in two colors in promotional title logos on DVD covers used for this movie. This symbolizes a broken heart from the movie's infidelity and separation story elements.
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First of two movie collaborations of Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, with the second and final movie (to date, May 2020) being Ironweed (1987).
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The house in which Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) and Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson) live in Washington is a Georgetown brownstone.
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The movie features three generations of the Streep and Gummer family: Mary Streep (mother of Meryl and grandmother to Mamie), Meryl Streep (daughter to Mary and mother to Mamie), and Mamie Gummer (daughter of Meryl and granddaughter to Mary). Dana Streep is the brother of Meryl, son of Mary, and uncle to Mamie.
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Meryl Streep won the Best Actress Award at the Valladolid International Film Festival in 1986 for her performance in this movie.
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Jack Nicholson and Jeff Daniels also appeared together in Terms of Endearment (1983).
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Mamie Gummer's debut.
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One element of this movie that seems unthinkably taboo today (and which was quickly becoming unacceptable even during the filming time-frame) is the fact that the character of Rachel consistently participates in social drinking throughout her pregnancies; in fact, upon hearing about Rachel's first pregnancy, Mark's friends Julie and Arthur open a bottle of champagne with the intent of sharing it with Rachel to celebrate the announcement. Although the damaging effects of alcohol on fetal development were not well known for much of human history, by the time this film was made and set (the mid-1980s) they were common knowledge in the United States. In a 2006 New York Times piece titled "The Weighty Responsibility of Drinking for Two," Julia Moskin reports that the first widely publicized scientific warnings about fetal alcohol syndrome were published in 1973 and the first Surgeon General's warnings against the dangers of alcohol during pregnancy came out in 1981. Moskin explains, "In its recommendations, the government does not distinguish between heavy drinking and the occasional beer: all alcohol poses an unacceptable risk, it says."
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Meryl Streep, who portrayed food writer Rachel Samstat in this Nora Ephron-written movie, portrayed a character in a similar profession in another Ephron movie, when Streep played Julia Child in Julie & Julia (2009).
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One of numerous collaborations of editor Sam O'Steen and producer and director Mike Nichols.
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Italian censorship visa # 81844 delivered on September 27, 1986.
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Cameo 

Dana Streep: The brother of Meryl Streep as a dinner party guest.
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Mary Streep: The mother of Meryl Streep as a dinner party guest.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Kevin Spacey has a small role as the subway passenger who robs Meryl Streep's therapy group.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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