The frantic, often chaotic behind-the-scenes activity of a morning television news show provides the setting for a new film comedy starring Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford. Here's a look at Morning Glory.
"Coming up tomorrow, we'll show you what to do with those shampoo bottles with just an inch of shampoo left."
Welcome to Daybreak, a nationwide morning television show with an eclectic mix of news and lifestyle features ?and an inferiority complex.
"So you're a fan of our morning program?"
"Oh, yes! I think it has so many ?"
"Yeah, yeah, we know it's terrible: perpetually in fourth place behind the "Today" show, "Good Morning America" and that thing on CBS, whatever it's called."
Into the fray charges Becky Fuller: young, energetic, idealistic ?you might say she's got spunk ?and, freshly laid off from her job at Good Morning New Jersey, she lands the thankless post of Daybreak executive producer. Determined to make the show a success, Becky lures once-great newsman Mike Pomeroy out of semi-retirement to co-host the program.
At first it does not go well, but eventually Becky turns the show around and, not coincidentally, also brightens the lives of everyone involved.
Morning Glory takes potshots at the real-life battle between news and entertainment waged every dawn on American television. Harrison Ford co-stars as the grizzled news veteran and says the real network morning broadcasts, on which he has done his share of appearances, are not the main targets:
"We weren't mocking the good ones. We were mocking the bad ones and the people that do this well are much to be admired and they are a pleasure to work with," explained Ford. "They make what they do look very easy, so I'm not mocking the profession in general. We're just talking about, specifically, the lowest-rated morning talk show in the history of television."
Diane Keaton plays program co-host Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen who gamely presents a range of feature topics from fashion and cooking tips to cozying up with frogs or whatever other interesting creatures show up on the set.
"I'm the person who is representing entertainment as the way to go. I'm the one who says 'give me a chance.' I'll do anything, just make this show work," Keaton explained.
Rachel McAdams plays the fresh-faced young producer Becky and says she researched the role by spending time with the character's real-life counterparts.
"We were fortunate enough to be invited into the control room of Good Morning America and the Today show and The Early Show and I just shadowed some producers there. [There are] not a lot of female executive producers," noted McAdams. " It's very uncommon at those bigger shows. I realized it is actually easier to be an actress than an executive producer on a morning television show."
Director Roger Michell says the film tries to reflect that sense of admiration for the broadcasts as it also sends up the kind of people all of them have behind the scenes.
"I think morning television is a very broad target and we went to some lengths and pains not to attack it too broadly," Michell said. "No scenery falls down in the film, there's no kind of wobbly set or that kind of thing; and we did go to great lengths and with some degree of pleasure to research the wonderful world of morning television. In fact, from my point of view the more I researched it, the more admiration I had for the poor souls who labor in that particular mine. The film is an affectionate account of morning television, but I don't think it is attempting to be satirical. I think it is attempting to be an accurate workplace comedy."
The Morning Glory cast also features Jeff Goldblum as the smooth-talking executive in charge of the network. Patrick Wilson plays a fellow producer who understands Becky's dilemma more than she realizes (at first). The screenplay is by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also wrote the fashion magazine workplace comedy hit, The Devil Wears Prada.
Watch the trailer