SOMEONE LIKE YOU
Producer Lynda Obst, a best-selling author herself (Hello, He Lied: And Other Truths From the Hollywood Trenches), read a very early manuscript of Laura Zig man's debut novel, Animal Husbandry, and fell in love with it immediately.
"I read it in loose pages, not even galleys, and I loved the sensibility," remembers
Obst. "It was completely unique, which is hard to find because I've made a lot of romantic
The story of one young woman's attempt to explain her heartbreak by using the model of animal behavior struck a familiar chord with
Obst. "I am constantly theorizing about human and particularly male behavior," she says. "And, like Jane, I use scientific and socio-biological descriptions to get a handle on the inexplicable."
Determined to turn Animal Husbandry into a motion picture, Obst felt that the novel's central character, Jane Goodale (who was loosely based on Laura Zigman's own experiences as a publicist), was someone to whom many moviegoers could easily relate. "I would describe Jane as a really smart, vulnerable modern woman who wants it all, but in a very simple way," says
Obst. "She wants to be able to be loved for who she is, have a job and realize her dreams." Obst's enthusiasm about Zigman's book was soon shared by many, as the novel became very popular.
Obst hired screenwriter Elizabeth Chandler to adapt Zigman's book. "Elizabeth Chandler can write anything," says
Obst, who had been looking for a project for the writer. "We had a meeting and she made me laugh. I gave her the novel and she adored
"I knew probably within the first thirty pages that I definitely wanted to do it," says Chandler. "I just thought it was hilarious. I hadn't written a romantic comedy in a while, and I loved the story's romantic angst. It's about issues we all deal with and we're neurotic about, and it had a take on it that I had never seen explored or seen before."
After sending the script to some of Hollywood's top comedic actors, Obst learned that Ashley Judd was very interested in the part of Jane. While Judd had received acclaim for her roles in dramas or thrillers such as "Ruby in Paradise," "Kiss the Girls," and "Heat," she had not been known for romantic comedies.
"I was surprised because I never thought of Ashley as a New York journalist type," says
Obst. "But she walked into my office like a Ph.D. in anthropology, sat down, and really impressed me. She was astonishingly intellectual, incredibly verbal and totally New York. Cool and smart."
"I decided at that point if Ashley was willing to put her heart and soul on the line and do this film, I could see that this was the piece that would help define a new range for herself," says Obst "Ashley has that elusive quality that makes a great movie star. She is your girlfriend, she could be you, you root for her and genuinely like her."
Judd shared Obst's enthusiasm for the project, and she embraced the challenges of the role of Jane
Goodale. "The appeal of the script had a lot to do with the fact it was uncharted territory for me," says Ashley Judd. "It was unlike anything I'd ever done. SOMEONE LIKE YOU had such comedic possibilities — a lot of times at my expense — and seeing as how the humor in my family has usually come at my expense, I thought maybe it won't be so hard after all."
With Ashley Judd aboard, Obst approached actor/director Tony Goidwyn, with whom she had collaborated on another project, about directing SOMEONE LIKE YOU. Goldwyn's acclaimed directorial debut, "A Walk on the Moon" had convinced Obst that
he was the right person for the job. "It made me weep and I understood from seeing that film how well he understood women," she explains.
"Lynda asked me if I was in
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