24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Katherine Heigl

'Life as We Know It' had an unlikely conception

October 11, 2010 |  9:30 am

Lif

For all of its fluffy romantic-comedy trappings, "Life as We Know It" isn't the most obviously marketable premise. It starts, after all, with two tragic deaths and an orphaned baby, the narrative springboard to a mismatched pair taking responsibility for a child. On hearing the premise, a non-film colleague reacted with, "Is that really what it's about? Sheesh."

That may be at least partly why the weekend's strongest new opener (at $14.6 million, it came in just behind "The Social Network," a respectable if not overpowering performance) took a twisty path to the screen. Written nine years ago by then-newbies Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk Robinson, the project languished around town for a long time, with executives flummoxed by its two-toned approach.

"It's such an unconventional way into a romantic comedy," Deitchman told 24 Frames as he described the film project's first go-round at Fox 2000, which eventually opted not to make it."We'd get the note: 'It's kind of a comedy and a drama. Can't it be one or the other?' And we'd say ' No, that's the whole point.'"

Despite the slightly jarring conceit, the pair say that they saw the film as eminently relatable. "We always felt that people would identify with the new parenting experience because that's universal," Deitchman said. "And everyone in one way or another has dealt with grief and loss."

"We envisioned it as a romantic comedy in reverse," Robinson added. "These people get the baby, now they have to fall in love."

Friends from Northwestern University who toiled at Hollywood apprenticeships (Deitchman worked for James Brooks; Robinson for the director Randa Haines), the pair tried their hand at various ideas, selling only one script before they churned out "Life" in late 2001. (Although they are a male-female team that specializes in comedies about marriage and children, Deitchman and Robinson are actually in relationships, and raising children, with other people.)

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Katherine Heigl contemplates her post-'Grey's Anatomy' options

March 16, 2010 |  7:44 pm

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EXCLUSIVE: With her turn as "Grey's Anatomy's" Dr. Izzie Stevens very possibly coming to an end, Katherine Heigl will have some time to shoot the movie roles she covets.

But which film projects are priorities? Sources say she's currently contemplating several parts.

One lead candidate is "Blended," the modern-day Brady Bunch tale about two single parents who go on a blind date, then end up on a cruise with each other and their kids (and the romance and hijinks of course follow). Heigl is now attached to the Warner Bros. project, sources say (previous reports had Sandra Bullock also eyeing the female role), and it's mainly a matter of the actress deciding whether she wants to shoot it.

Heigl is also considering moving forward with the lead role of Stephanie Plum in "One for the Money," the adaptation of Janet Evanovich's first Plum novel, set up at Warner Bros., in which Heigl would play a lingerie saleswoman who becomes a bounty hunter. That one has its appeal, especially because, given all the many Plum bestsellers that Evanovich has written, it could well become a franchise. (There are also some other titles in development, including a pair of comedies titled "Is She the One" and "Drawn Together," but the Heigl buzz on those is quieter.)

The "Blended" part has a certain familiarity to it. The semi-independent, semi-lonely single woman is a character Heigl has played before, in last year's "The Ugly Truth," and 2008's "27 Dresses," and 2006's "Knocked Up," and nearly all her previous big-screen roles, now that we think of it.

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Preview review: Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl in 'Killers'

February 11, 2010 |  2:43 pm

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Last April, Ashton Kutcher bombarded his Twitter followers with a series of messages and pictures while filming his movie "Killers" in the scenic French Riviera. He posted shots of the beautiful views. The nice restaurants. And look! Demi finally came to visit.

Months later, a trailer for the Lionsgate film has finally been released, revealing the picturesque setting that Kutcher previewed last spring. In the film, he stars alongside Katherine Heigl -- who is stunningly beautiful and blond but again somehow woefully single -- playing a woman named Jen who is on vacation with her family in Nice, France. Her parents are played by Tom Selleck, who of course is rocking an excellent mustache, and the often funny (but sometimes not-so-funny) Catherine O'Hara.

Enter a shirtless Kutcher, who immediately greets Jen with a rather creepy "Bonjour." (No, we don't think his character, Spencer, is French.) Spencer sweeps Jen off her feet -- cue the series of romantic vignettes. He kisses her neck, meets her parents, and ditches his buddies to take her out on romantic dates.

But wait! He isn't who she really thinks he is. And this isn't a romantic comedy -- it's a romantic-comedy actioner (Is there a shorthand for that? Romcomtioner?). Spencer is actually some type of undercover, gun-wielding, fast-car-driving agent -- and Jen gets roped into his madness.

Sure, the trailer feels like it gives away the entire movie. But certain questions persist. Such as: Do you think Heigl will be able to segue away from romantic comedies into a slightly different genre someday? Will audiences be able to handle this much topless, karate-kicking Kutcher? Discuss in the comments and vote in our poll below.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo:f Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutcher in "Killers." Credit: Lionsgate.


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