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DIVINE SECRETS OF
THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD

About The Production
On vacation in Idaho in the summer of 1997, producer Bonnie Bruckheimer read the Rebecca Wells novel, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and fell in love with it.

What she found so compelling about the story, says Bruckheimer, is how it demonstrates, in a humorous and compassionate way, "everyone's desire to understand their intense childhood experiences from a position of maturity, to accept that imperfect relationships can be healed and that life goes on."

Bruckheimer has two best friends she's known since high school, and is well aware of how powerful that kind of connection can be. "We still vacation together and talk on the phone almost every day," she says. "I don't know what I would have done without them. They're my Ya-Yas."

Bruckheimer produced the 1988 drama Beaches, a film beloved for its message about the bonds of true friendship, and is still touched by the response of fans who tell her how much that film meant to them. "People have told me they watch Beaches every year with their best friends," she says. "Nothing can compare to the feeling of knowing that you've done something that affects people so personally. I believe this film will elicit the same kind of response."

Initially convinced that the film rights to the book must have already been snapped up, Bruckheimer made some phone calls and happily discovered that there had been offers but nothing was finalized. "When I told Rebecca how passionate I was about the book," the producer recalls, "she let me run with it. She let me take it to the studios, knowing that even if I came crying back to her after every studio had passed, I wasn't going to sleep until I got a deal!"

She got that deal at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood came to producer Hunt Lowry's attention in a different way. "My wife read it first," he says, "and then began reading passages out loud to me. She kept telling me what a great movie this would make, and I agreed." Lowry's company, Pandora, a specialty division of Gaylord Films, recently produced the popular coming-of-age love story A Walk to Remember, which was adapted from Nicholas Sparks' best-selling novel.

"I checked on it and found that Warner Bros. Pictures had the rights and that Bonnie Bruckheimer's company was developing it," Lowry recalls. "As it turns out, Gaylord had just made a deal with the Studio and one of the first things that [President of Worldwide Production] Lorenzo di Bonaventura talked about was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. When he told me that Callie Khouri was also involved I said ‘Count us in on this project...we have to do it!'"

Khouri, who is best known for her Academy Award-winning screenplay Thelma and Louise, was approached twice with an offer to adapt the novel for the screen, but each time she was busy with other projects. Bruckheimer, who had acquired the film rights to the story with her producing partner at the time, Bette Midler, was eager to get started and enlisted Mark Andrus (co-writer, As Good As it Gets), to prepare an adaptation. Meanwhile, Khouri became available and wanted not only to write the script but also to make Divine Secrets her directorial debut.

Albeit a labor of love, Khouri found that adapting the story was not an easy process. "There are 350 pages in the book," she explains, "so you really have to be selective. It's a difficult book to adapt and Mark Andrus did a fantastic job, although ultimately I took it in a slightly different direction. We both tried to make the characters more active for the screen, without sacrificing the dialogue that helps defines them."

"What's essential to the story," Khouri continues,<

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