One question seems to follow Noah Baumbach - writer and director of new Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts-starring comedy While We're Young - everywhere.

It passes a fellow journalist's lips just moments after we sit down for a chat with the 45-year-old Brooklyn-born auteur in a plush London hotel.

"I feel like your new piece is your most autobiographical since The Squid and the Whale", the hack declares.

The Squid and the Whale - Baumbach's 2005 feature based on the harrowing experience of his parent's divorce - seems to have set the tone for his career.

Now every critic and journalist tries to find autobiography in all his pieces.

He retorts: "I think all of the movies are, they're all personal, but this movie isn't autobiographical in any way that I'm aware of.

"But they all come from me, I write them, so it stands that they would come from a personal source.

"I don't really think of any of (my films as autobiographical), even Squid and the Whale - it has clear autobiographical markers that I used, but it's a complete work of fiction within that."

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While We're Young director Noah Baumbach

In While We're Young, Stiller and Watts play childless couple Josh and Cornelia who, with their friends busy procreating, begin spending time with young, hipster couple Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried).

Jamie and Darby - an aspiring documentary filmmaker (a vocation Josh already has) and maker of organic artisanal ice-cream - live in a disused water tower in Harlem, their loft space full of vinyl and typewriters.

Josh and Cornelia are reinvigorated by their energy, and all seems rosy until Josh starts to suspect Jamie might not be as straightforward as he first thought.

It's clear where Baumbach may have drawn inspiration from - he became a dad for the first time in 2009 and, after separating from ex-wife Jennifer Jason Leigh, has been in a relationship with actress Greta Gerwig, 14 years his junior, since 2011 - the pair made 2013's Frances Ha together.

He tells News Shopper: "I've found myself living under the false pretence that I was still a younger version of myself, and I don't think it's uncommon - that you still think of yourself as a younger version of yourself - and I thought that was interesting to explore."

He adds: "And both before I had a kid and since, I've been on the Cornelia Josh side of watching other friends have kids and fall in love - having trouble getting as invested in their kid as they are, for obvious reasons.

"Then I've been on the other side, telling people how it'll change their life."

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Adam Driver and Ben Stiller as Jamie and Josh

Much like Frances Ha, While We're Young also represents a livelier, more comedic direction for Baumbach.

He says: "Both Frances and this movie were, in some ways, deliberate comedies.

"This movie I really was thinking of a traditional comedy of marriage and re-marriage and Frances was also something I felt was hopeful.

"But it doesn't mean I won't make something that goes in the other direction. One is not any less or more true than the other: things might drift towards a thornier side of things or a more comic side of things."

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Ben Stiller and Charles Grodin

Baumbach wrote the film with Stiller in mind, later adding other cast members - including Driver, the Girls star who is set to become a household name due to his role in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Also among the cast are actor, comedian and the dad from Beethoven, Charles Grodin, as Cornelia's father (another documentarian), and Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, better known as Ad-Rock, who plays one half of a middle-aged couple who are best friends with the lead duo. 

Talking of Driver, he says: "I felt like casting him as Jamie made sense in the story, because he's so compelling that I could get away with poking fun at Ben's investment and falling hard for this young couple.

"But I also didn't want to sell Ben out and I wanted the audience to understand why he would fall for this guy, and Adam makes that feel real."

"I became more aware afterward of the poignance of seeing Ad-Rock as a middle aged dad", he adds.

"I suppose for a generation of people it's in some ways an acknowledgement that they also aren't the same age anymore, that kind of enhances certain themes from the movie."

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Naomi Watts as Cornelia

Baumbach says this film is inspired by movies made in the New Hollywood era of the 1970s, directed by the likes of Hal Ashby and Mike Nichols, and in particular the 1979 Best Picture Oscar winner Kramer vs. Kramer, starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep.

He explains: "I think at that time, the more mainstream movies were generated more by character and this idea of independent and studio films, I think there was a much blurrier line then.

"If you think about Hal Ashby movies or Five Easy Pieces, the fact these were released by studios is unheard of now, and I obviously relate to those kind of movies."

The filmmaker, who co-wrote The Life Aquatic and The Fantastic Mr Fox with Wes Anderson, also frequently draws comparisons to Woody Allen (both are from Brooklyn and both attended Midwood High School).

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He says: "I grew up on Woody Allen, I don't consciously draw on stuff from his movies as much as I feel I've kind of embibed Woody Allen.

"With this movie I was thinking about movies of my adolescence that were made, comedies that were made for adults, character driven comedies, and he made obviously a lot of those."

While comparisons to Allen may be lofty, Baumbach is certainly a writer-director who has always delivered, and is promising to deliver a good deal more.