Born in New Jersey, Lorene Scafaria would make one half of the powerhouse couple consisting of her husband, Bo Burnham, and her creative energy fusing together. Scafaria, ever since she was a young girl, had a fascination with writing, which took her to receive her Bachelor of Arts in English. Upon graduating, Scafaria moved to New York City and began to advance her playwriting career, taking on a writing agent, acting, and having a couple of her plays produced. When writing failed to take off immediately, she began acting more to try and gain more opportunities in the industry.
It was acting that brought Scafaria to Los Angeles after being persuaded by an agent to come to the West Coast. While acting did not take off in this new city, the connections she made landed her a plethora of new opportunities in writing. She adapted Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist into a movie in 2007, then continued to write more scripts and plays throughout the years. Occasionally a director, sometimes an actor, and most often a writer, Scafaria’s work has become quite notable for its direction, writing, and the themes the stories touch upon. These are the best movies she has written and directed.
3/3 The Meddler
Scafaria wrote and directed The Meddler in 2015, which made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It would make its theatrical release half a year later, in 2016, to acclaim from the general public and critics alike. Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne star as a mother-daughter combo, with a wide variety of issues with both each other and the world. Marnie (Sarandon) is a widow suffering from poor mental health issues due to the way her life has turned out recently, and things can potentially look different when her daughter (Byrne) decides to make a fresh start in Los Angeles. Marnie joins her daughter during the move in hopes that her life would start over and she would be happy again, but this causes more friction between the two. The Meddler makes Marnie a meddler in her daughter’s life, but as the two learn to love each other and their differences, they discover ways to keep continuing onwards and live for the future. Scafaria drew from her personal experiences to write this story, which shows in its tenderness and authenticity.
2/3 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World came out in 2012, and marked the first time that Scafaria had both written and directed a movie. Classified as an apocalyptic movie with romance, comedy, and drama all smashed into less than two hours, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in the leading roles. The world is about to end, as an asteroid is heading straight for planet Earth. Everything is predicted to go extinct in the process, making a lot of people panic and reflect on their life decisions in the process. One man, Dodge (Carell), is abandoned by his wife on the side of the road, then runs into a neighbor (Knightley) crying on a stairwell after breaking up with her boyfriend. The two strike up a wholesome friendship at the end of the world, finding solace in each other. The film would ultimately bomb at the box office, not breaking even for the $10 million budget used to make it happen.
One could say that Hustlers is Scafaria’s most successful release to date. Announced in 2016, there was quite a bit of drama in the process of getting this movie made. The original production company, Annapurna, dropped it due to a lack of finances, and STX Entertainment would eventually take on the film two years after it was originally announced. It would premiere in 2019 at the Toronto International Film Festival, showing off its star-studded cast. The movie’s leading ladies include Constance Wu, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, Lizzo, Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, and Jennifer Lopez.
Hustlers‘ main character is Destiny (Wu), a stripper in New York City who began working in the industry to make ends meet and support her family members. She was mentored by Ramona (Lopez), a stripper who had been in the game for years, but the two begin to lose contact as the 2008 financial crisis kicks in and they both tragically lose their jobs. Years later, in 2014, a journalist is looking to write about their stories and what happened to them after their paths diverged. Hustlers take inspiration from an article by Jessica Pressler, who is well-known for writing the story that inspired Inventing Anna, and weaves in the elements of journalism and storytelling to keep the original heart of the story intact.