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COYOTE UGLY

Introduction

"This is a story about dreams," says producer Jerry Bruckheimer, mega-producer of such hits as "Flashdance," "Top Gun," "Con Air," "Armageddon" and this year's "Gone In 60 Seconds," of his new film "Coyote Ugly." "It's about going after your dream and the obstacles you come up against when you're getting close to it. With a lot of effort, a little homework and keeping your eye on the prize, you can achieve whatever it is you set out to do."

Director David McNally agrees. "It's an emotional story, and even though it's a comedy, the single thread throughout is this very real love story. I have this belief about comedy – if you laugh at something, you're either seeing something in yourself or learning something about yourself. If it's communicated well, you can't help but be drawn in by the story."

Bruckheimer, who is celebrated for his enormous success with first-time directors, tapped McNally to direct after seeing his many commercials and videos. "David's body of work not only had a wonderful look but also a terrific sense of humor," he says. "I could tell that he was able to communicate with his actors. He was able to make fun, romantic moments out of very small gestures and seemingly innocuous circumstances; he is a great storyteller and makes unique casting choices. I was confident we could magnify that talent into an hour and a half."

McNally was thrilled to be shooting his first feature film for Bruckheimer. "Jerry is so experienced, so knowledgeable and yet so trusting of my choices. He was incredibly supportive. I've learned so much."

Although much of the mechanics in shooting commercials is the same in motion pictures, the director had to shift his mind set. "With commercials you think in terms of shots," he continues. "But with a feature, you have to think about the scene in a different way. You have 30 or 60 seconds to catch someone's attention with a commercial, it has to be eye candy, but with a movie, it's more about finding the reality of the scene. A film is less about designing individual shots than designing scenes."

Suggested by a GQ magazine article (March 1993) written by Elizabeth Gilbert, screenwriter Gina Wendkos created her memorable characters and a fictional story around the real Manhattan watering hole, Coyote Ugly.

"Not unlike Dorothy entering Oz, when I first stepped inside Coyote Ugly, I was terrified by the in-your-face bartenders," says Wendkos. "The terror was soon replaced by excitement as I found myself returning and returning and returning for more.

"The magic of Coyote Ugly is the female bartenders who flaunt new styles of post-feminism," she declares. "The Coyotes are all-woman, all-attitude, and instead of burning their bras, these girls hang ‘em from the rafters as a victorious statement that they own the room."

"This place, this story, it's all about empowerment," acknowledges lead actress Piper Perabo. "These women are capable, intelligent, strong people; each in her own way. But they're all moving toward a goal. Coyote Ugly is a vehicle to that end."

"Coyote Ugly is a great place for drama, " says Bruckheimer. "The bar itself is a fascinating venue and when you add interesting characters created from Gina's imagination, it just comes together. Wonderful stories frequently originate with the germ of an idea. But even seemingly simple stories require attention to detail," he says. "Those ideas then have to be translated from<

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