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THE WEDDING PLANNER

About The Production

Director Adam Shankman was attracted to "The Wedding Planner" for several reasons. "The script reminded me of old movie classics starring Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant, or Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. I'm a huge fan of romantic comedy with dialogue that is witty and crackling," says Shankman. "It also has movie musical elements and several dance numbers in it. As a choreographer, I could envision how these factors could enhance the magic, the romance and the comedy." But most of all, Shankman warmed up to the overall theme of the story, which mixes both old-fashioned romance and modern attitudes. "It's destiny when two people from different worlds meet. On the surface, they shouldn't be together, but the subtext of the characters is inextricably linked. They need to come together. More specifically, this film is about risking your heart and not being afraid to go for it," says Shankman.

The idea for the film began to take shape when screenwriting partners Pamela Falk & Michael Ellis saw an ad in the Learning Annex catalog on How to Be a Wedding Planner. "We thought: what kind of person plans other people's weddings?" says Ellis. Taking the idea a step further, "We thought it would be a funny juxtaposition to have a wedding planner with a non-existent love life," says Ellis.

For their research, Falk and Ellis went to the Los Angeles Festival of Brides, a trade show for anything and anyone connected with weddings. "We met a lot of wedding planners there, set up meetings with them and then interviewed them to find out what they actually did and how they operated," says Falk.

"What we found out was that it's a world that's very far from romance and love. We had lunch with one wedding planner who told us that she didn't even believe in marriage. So we took that to the next level in the script, where Mary is not only unsentimental about the weddings she plans, but has them down to a science. She can actually tell how long a couple will stay together by the different choices they make for their wedding song or the color of the bridesmaids' dresses," says Falk.

Producer Jennifer Gibgot responded to the material because she felt the story was timeless. "A lot of couples feel complacent and comfortable with each other. They're afraid to leave the relationship, so they take the next step because that's what's expected. 'The Wedding Planner' is about that, but it's also about getting married for the first time for the right reasons," explains Gibgot.

After falling for the script, producers Peter Abrams and Gibgot went about finding the right director for "The Wedding Planner." They wanted someone who could balance the film's musical and dance concerns with the story's classic romantic comedy style. Equally strong was their desire to give the film a stunning visual look.

After interviewing dozens of people, they found the man of their dreams right under their noses-Adam Shankman. Abrams, who had previously worked with Shankman when he choreographed his film "She's All That," describes him as an obvious choice for several reasons. "There are two big dance numbers in the film, and that's Adam's strength; he's been the top movie choreographer for years. Also, 'The Wedding Planner' is really a throwback to the romantic comedies of the '30s and '40s, and that's very much Adam's sensibility. He knows how to make the comedy, romance, music and dance sparkle."

Gibgot, who is also Shankman's younger sister, agrees. "Adam has seen every single musical and classic romantic comedy ever made, so I brought him in to meet with the studio executives, like all the other directorial candidates. He pitched his take on the film, and they hired him right there in the room."

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