Ayelet Waldman’s book coming to the big screen

The movie based on Ayelet Waldman’s book Love and Other Impossible Pursuits will be released into theaters on Feb. 4. (It is also available now on Comcast on Demand.)

Renamed The Other Woman, the movie stars Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow. The film, directed by Don Roos, focuses on Emilia Greenleaf (Portman), a recent law school graduate who has an affair with Jack, her boss and a married man with a 3-year-old son. Jack leaves his wife (Kudrow) to marry Emilia and they have a young daughter who dies of SIDS. Emilia must learn to cope with her grief and also learn to parent her not-very-easy-to-love stepson.

Berkeley author Waldman has a small cameo in the film, which you can spot 17 seconds into the trailer. She is holding up a glass of champagne in front of a Christmas tree at a party.

The film was first shown at the 2009 Toronto Film Festival but did not immediately find a distributor. But the timing of the release may work in the film’s favor as Portman has garnered accolades, and is a likely Oscar nominee, for her performance as a ballerina in The Black Swan.

Katie Hafner, a former New York Times reporter based in San Francisco, interviewed Waldman about the movie for the Huffington Post. Here is an excerpt:


KH: Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is a strikingly authentic portrait of step-parenting (I can say this having been both a step-child and step-parent). I assume you’ve never been a step-parent yourself. How did you do your “research” for the novel so that you’d be able to draw such a fine-grained, emotionally accurate picture?

AW: My father had four children and a long-gone wife when he married my mother. I grew up in a house with four really (and I mean really) unhappy step-kids. My mother was only 23 when she got married, and the kids were 13, 11, 9, and 7. The family had absolutely no money, and lived paycheck to paycheck in Jerusalem in the 1960s. My mother was, as you might imagine, in a fairly constant state of stress, and when we Waldman women are stressed, we do a lot of yelling. The kids were in a fairly constant state of misery, and when us Waldman kids are miserable, we do things like burn down apartment buildings. OK, that’s an exaggeration. But not by much.

My own husband [author Michael Chabon] was divorced when we met, but without kids. I don’t know what I would have done if he’d had them. I got the message very early on that the worst mistake a woman can make is marrying a man with children. But I was (and am) so crazy in love with him, I probably would have thrown caution to the wind. And then, perhaps, I’d have lived to regret it.

Read the entire interview here.