THE GOOD GIRL
The makers of THE GOOD GIRL put its star, Jennifer Aniston, in a new
place. Like a funhouse at a carnival, the experience was often strange,
disorienting and sometimes scary, but the end result is a critically acclaimed
performance and a thrilling chance to see her in a way we never have before. An
independent film in every sense, THE GOOD GIRL attracted a cast that
includes John C. Reilly (BOGGlE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA), Tim Blake Nelson (0 BROTHER,
WHERE ART THOU?, CHERISH), Jake Gyllenhaal (OCTOBER SKY, DONNIE DARKO) and Zooey
Deschanel (ALMOST FAMOUS).
In great company, and with a role that she related to without knowing
precisely why, "I didn't know if it was a personal thing, or if it was my
own mother or just women I know," Aniston embarked on a 33-day shoot that
was shoehorned around her Thursday and Friday commitment to "Friends."
"Miguel is the kindest, most soft-spoken man," Aniston says. "It
was weird. There was just something about trusting this man and I put my life in
his hands and let him go with it."
THE GOOD GIRL marks the third feature film made by Director Miguel Arteta
and Producer Matthew Greenfield and the second pairing of Arteta with White as
the screenwriter. Arteta and Greenfield's celebrated feature debut, STAR MAPS,
premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival and was released to critical
acclaim by Fox Searchlight Pictures. It was followed by CHUCK & BUCK -
penned by and starring White - which
also premiered and sold at Sundance. THE GOOD GIRL was an official
selection of the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Fox
Like Arteta and White's previous work, THE GOOD GIRL seeks truth,
the crucial element that defines their collective cinematic vision. The team
deftly examines the life of outsiders. Arteta explains the central theme of his
work. "All the films deal with characters who do not have the tools they
need to live a full life and to cope with life properly." However, it is
their honest approach to creating characters that gives Justine, like Chuck in
CHUCK & BUCK, and Carlos in STAR MAPS, her universal appeal.
White penned THE GOOD GIRL during a "dark spot" in his
personal life. He had recently completed the script for CHUCK & BUCK, which
at the time seemed to have no foreseeable future. Meanwhile, White's savings
had dwindled and, like the character Justine he would soon create, he saw no
means for escape. "I wanted to write the film like a prison movie,"
explains White. "I wanted to capture the feeling that everyone is
imprisoned and secretly plotting their escapes," he continues.
White would apply his trademark style as he developed the screenplay. His
genuine approach to storytelling would allow him to again defy conventional
genres as he created a provocative story that is simultaneously heart-wrenching
and humorous, creating what he has coined "a comic ode to depression.. .I
like films that walk the delicate line between comedy and pathos," states
White. "The fun of writing is to explore that balance, trying to find
something entertaining on the surface but something much weightier
Although White rendered his signature approach to storytelling and character,
he delicately balanced the screenplay's darker elements with broader human
appeal. Wasteland Texas, a stark metaphor for Justine's emptiness, is
juxtaposed with the story's compelling and sexy subject matter. White adroitly
pierces the surface of human apathy to expose a virtual abyss of carnal and
emotional desire. Again, White journeys to the fringe of society. However, with THE
GOOD GIRL he taps the deepest and most universal of human needs —
companionship, touch and understanding.
White's early work stru
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