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Can capitalism and love coexist? 'Fair Play' film seeks to answer

Alden Ehrenreich as Luke and Phoebe Dynevor as Emily in Fair Play. (Sergej Radovic/Courtesy of Netflix)
Alden Ehrenreich as Luke and Phoebe Dynevor as Emily in Fair Play. (Sergej Radovic/Courtesy of Netflix)

Emily and Luke are blissfully in love and newly engaged and at the beginning of the new Netflix film “Fair Play.”But they both work at the same financial firm — and they’re both up for the same big promotion. When one of them gets it, the relationship goes rapidly downhill. And their jobs are threatened too.

“I was just realizing that these dynamics weren’t going away,” says writer and director Chloe Domont. “It made me realize how much these ingrained power dynamics still have over us even in the most progressive cities, even with some of the most progressive men.”

The film opens in theaters on Friday and will be available on Netflix on Oct. 6.

Watch on YouTube.

3 questions with writer and director Chloe Domont

Where did you get the idea from?

“The original kernel came at a certain period in my life when my career started to take off, and it was this feeling that I was having when my success didn’t feel like a total win. It felt like a loss on some level. And that’s because of the kinds of relationships I was in.

“These were relationships with men who adored me for my strengths, adored me for my ambition, adored me for my talent, and all those things. But at the same time, they were also threatened by it.

“I started to kind of undermine my excitement about certain opportunities, and I started to normalize this kind of dynamic that me being big on some level made them feel small.

“After years though, it got to a point where I was just realizing that these dynamics weren’t going away. It made me realize how much these ingrained power dynamics still have over us even in the most progressive cities, even with some of the most progressive men. So it’s something that I wanted to explore.”

When Emily gets the promotion over Luke, she should have just been ecstatic, but she wasn’t. Explain that.

“That was the first scene that came to me when I was developing the story, and it was this idea that her first reaction isn’t excitement. It’s fear.

“She fears that her career will cost her [the] relationship, and she has no idea how he’s going to respond or how he’s going to react. That’s the whole crux of what I wanted to explore, and what I want people to talk about in the conversations to come out of it.”

When a woman becomes the boss, there are still assumptions made about her and sometimes she’s treated disrespectfully, even in 2023. How did that come through in the film?

“I think maybe what’s a little bit different these days is this idea that there will still be people out there thinking that she got the job because her superior wants to sleep with her, or something of that nature.

“The other version I think that is more common these days is that she got it because she checks a box. And I think that that’s equally problematic because she deserved it. Not because she has value, not because she was the best person for the job.”


Emiko Tamagawa produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Peter O’Dowd. Catherine Welch adapted it for the web.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.