5 Things You Should Know About Screenwriter Jenny Lumet

There's a really great interview with screenwriter Jenny Lumet — known for Rachel Getting Married — in today's Wall Street Journal. Don't know the daughter of legendary director Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Serpico, Running On Empty)? You should:

1. Her grandmother is Lena Horne.

2. She makes no bones about nepotism:

"I can definitely say that if you want to be in the film industry, it's really good to be related to someone famous. I would advise that. The closer the relationship the better. It's probably best to be someone's identical twin."

But she admits that her father gave her good habits: "He's been working with a capital 'W' since he was 4. He was an actor in the Yiddish theater. He's now 85 and been working for 81 years with time off to fight in World War II. In terms of a work ethic, that's a good one."

3. Coming from a mixed-race background, she had a mixed-race couple in Rachel Getting Married but didn't make it part of the story, because:

"I think you have to be honest about it. People don't sit around talking about, we're black people and we're going to talk about the nature of blackness. Or, we're Asian and going to talk about the nature of Asian-ness. That's just a lie and a myth. Also, I think that it's dishonest to assume that it's always and issue. I found that in Rachel Getting Married, the people that brought it up, that question speaks more about you than me."

4. Yet, she is working on something about race, called See Also: Sambo; and she's collaborating with Jason Reitman, who directed Juno. She says: "I looked up something like mixed race on Wikipedia and that's [the term] I found." But don't expect the project to be preachy: "I can tell you that it's as irreverent as one can manage. I'm so sick of all the sanctity and February [Black History Month] is the holy month and I want to puke my guts out."

5. The other film she's working on, This Strange Thing Called Prom, sounds awesome: "It's the story about a bunch of kids that want to put on a prom. The school's only been in existence for four years so it was the first senior prom.… They had to figure out what a prom is. They watched Prom Night and half of them were traumatized."

Jenny Getting Noticed [WSJ]