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MISS CONGENIALITY

About The Production

Gracie Hart's character developed from Marc Lawrence's extensive research into the lives of women in the F.B.I. "There were two things that I found particularly interesting and wanted to use in the script." says Lawrence. "One was that the vast majority of the women F.B.I. agents had family who were either agents or police officers. Secondly one of the women agents told me that when she was dating, men were either way too turned on by her job or way too intimidated. This creates a world where the agents are only comfortable with their inner circle because the outside world either views them as exotic or threatening."

Bullock, who had previously worked with Lawrence on "Forces of Nature," was delighted to join forces again. "I like his sick sense of humor," she says. "He also understands how I like physical humor. I am just naturally an imbecile when it comes to functioning in day to-day routines, so he incorporated that into the script. I was also looking for something that was a large comedy. Something that brought us back to a time when a woman could look like an idiot and still be the leading lady."

"This is the kind of film I want to see Sandra Bullock in, even WI wasn't in it," says co star Michael Caine. "Because she is so funny. She does little things that just make you laugh."

Working with Bullock as both an actress and producer was an experience Donald Petrie thoroughly enjoyed. He explains. "I've worked with other actors/producers who were producers in name only. Sandra is in on all the real producer decisions; she went on location scouts and attended every production meeting. She's really hands on.

Casting the role of Eric was a challenge for the filmmakers, who wanted someone that could be tough and aggressive yet likeable. "Guys in the F.B.I. have a cowboy mentality," notes Lawrence. "Benjamin Bratt is enormously likeable, so he can get away with those sort of sly remarks and shots at Gracie and still come off as charming."

Similarly. Donald Petrie muses, "Benjamin has an amazing screen presence. I also loved the fact that I haven't seen Benjamin in a cocky. romantic role like this."

Securing acting legend Michael Caine in the role of Victor Melling was a coup for the production. "What I liked about the role was that it was funny, it was different and it was a comedy," explains Caine. 'in my most recent films, I played the man who destroyed the Marquis de Sade, an abortionist and a very violent gangster. After reading the script and finding it such a great comedy, it was such a relief. I said, 'I'll do it. I'll do it. I'll do it.' I was just dying to get a laugh on the set. I've also always liked Sandra's screen persona. This role is a kind of zany, way-out, cuckoo kind of character that she does so well. I think it will make audiences laugh. It certainly makes me laugh."

The birth of the pageant director. Kathy Morningside, played by Candice Bergen evolved due to the long tradition of former winners continuing to be involved in beauty pageants. "Candice was exactly right for the role, she is a very beautiful actress who easily could have been a former beauty queen," explains Lawrence.

Bergen was immediately won over by the film's star and producer. 1 didn't think Sandy could possibly live up to her reputation but she's great," she says. "She's grounded and completely professional. She's there for you off-camera, at four in the morning, thoughtful, funny and generous. And she's always in a good mood."

William Shatner was also a revelation for the filmmakers and cast. "He is larger than life. You can't take your eyes off of him when he's on screen," exclaims Petrie.

The collaboration with director Donald Petrie has been very rewarding for Lawrence. "Although this is first and foremost a character movie, it has a r

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