About The Film
"It's Pretty Woman, but she's Richard Gere and you're Julia Roberts."
At the heart of this laugh-out-loud comedy about an epic romantic mismatch is
a charming fairy-tale premise
for our times. Charlotte Field is a bold, brilliant woman about to run for
leader of the world. Fred Flarsky is a
renegade Brooklyn journalist who can barely run his life. Can they really find
happiness together? It's an
outlandish long shot, but then again, that's one thing Charlotte and Fred share
in common. Aside from the
awkward fact that Charlotte was once Fred's dazzling, much-desired babysitter,
the two share a love for flying
in the face of the odds.
Now, they are both about to go for their most impossible dreams in a big way.
Charlotte is aiming at nothing
less than the future of the nation. And Fred? When Charlotte unexpectedly gives
him a job as a novice
speechwriter, he only hopes for a little time with her, no matter how
incompatible they appear to be by every
conceivable metric of power, success and appeal. But to their surprise, they
make for a successful team. And
to their total mutual shock, no matter how much the two of them together makes
absolutely no sense, as
Charlotte starts soaring the polls, their relationship starts heating up behind
In the delightfully opposite roles of Fred and Charlotte, Seth Rogen and
Charlize Theron ricochet off one another
as two aspirational people pushing the edges of their comfort zones in love,
work and around the globe. The
result is both a sweet and raucously funny ride through a contemporary reality
we all can relate to-one that
constantly asks us to compromise while tantalizing us with chances to seize the
While Rogen has gained renown for his hilarious and human portraits of
everyday slackers, Long Shot drops
him into new territory-with a self-deprecating character who has to find the
belief, despite his glaring foibles,
that he's worthy of a woman who is changing the world. "For someone like Fred
Flarsky, dating Charlotte Field
is almost like dating a princess," notes Rogen. "In America, politicians are our
version of royalty. So it's a story
that taps into a kind of grand fantasy fulfillment but at the same time it's as
down-to-earth, irreverent and
hilarious as any thing we've done."
Oscar winner Theron (Best Actress, Monster, 2003), acclaimed for a career of
intense dramatic and action
roles, is as contrary a screen persona to Rogen as Charlotte is to Fred. A woman
who has taken empowerment
to the next level, Charlotte has no need (and definitely no time) for a
relationship, and yet's she's drawn to the
spark she spies all these years later in Fred. For Theron, the wildly
contrasting energy between her and Rogen
just made the chemistry sizzle even more on set. "There was something very
authentic that happened between
me and Seth and that's what this needed to not only be hilarious but also be an
honest story of modern
relationships," says Theron. "I think you really root for these two people to
find a way to come together.
There's such a huge yin and yang between them, yet they remind each other of
what truly drives their ideals.
Maybe because we're a bit like our characters, that same kind of rapport was
there between me and Seth, and
it just worked."
Rogen says that he too was taken by surprise at just how organic the humor
and unlikely connection felt as
production got under way. "Our dynamic was both funny and real," says Rogen. "I
think the most shocking
part of the movie is that by the end of it, you actually believe these two
people who are so ridiculously different
could make it."
An Odd Couple Is Born
Years before he first teamed with Seth Rogen and producer Evan Goldberg on
The Interview, screenwriter Dan
Sterling set out to see if he could enchant a character who had become entirely
disenchanted. Then, Sterling
was a writer on the irreverently topical The Daily Show. He started thinking
about a guy who, not unlike himself
at that time, had become cynical about everything from politics to love, because
none of it seemed to be
working very well. What if such a guy fell in love with a woman so full of
vigor, power and light, he had to
adjust his own view of the world just to have the most remote shot with her?
Thus was born Fred Flarsky, an unapologetically opinionated, gonzo-style
journalist still trying to make his
mark in an age of corporate media. "I saw Flarsky as a guy who is creeping up on
middle age, whose
career as a journalist is on the verge of dying and he's adrift in a lot of
ways," Sterling describes. "And
then I asked myself: who would be the most unforgettable, most powerful woman
Fred Flarsky could
That in turn led to the creation of Charlotte Field, the flame Fred's been
unable to put out since boyhood: his
utterly unattainable babysitter, who from the second he met her inspired him...and
seemed light years out of
reach. Unsurprisingly to Flarsky, the wondrous Charlotte went on to become one
of the most impressive and
influential women in the world, while he's been muckraking for the local
When they run into each other after all these years, just as Flarsky has lost
his job in a last stand against a
corporate takeover, Flarsky has no illusions. Instead, it is Charlotte whose
fascination is sparked by this
refreshingly genuine blast from her past, leading her to give Flarsky a trial
run at being her speechwriter.
At first glance, Charlotte's intercontinental sophistication couldn't be a
wilder clash with Flarsky's klutziness and
brash outspokenness. "Charlotte is powerful, glamorous and everything Flarsky
isn't," laughs Sterling. "Flarsky
would never assume he could be with a woman like her." Yet there are places they
connect from the start.
"Flarsky has a very strong sense of morality, even if he's self-sabotaging.
Charlotte also has very strong
principles, even if she's pragmatic and careful about them, knowing how the game
has to be played," Sterling
explains. "Part of the fun of their relationship is that as it gets going, Fred
starts to get more comfortable with
being cared about and Charlotte loosens up a lot-to the point of walking up to
the edge of getting herself in
As Charlotte starts rising in the polls, they have to contend with the
consequences of their growing bond. With
Charlotte enjoying a media frenzy over her link to the bachelor Canadian Prime
Minister, she tries to keep their
fling a secret, but realizes that can't go on forever with the media glare. "At
first, the story just has fun with
them figuring out how to sneak around having this secret relationship," says
Sterling. "But ultimately, they have
to figure out how important is this thing, really? Are they willing to risk
Charlotte's election chances or to risk
even bigger things in terms of her having a lasting impact on the world?"
This unusual situation-where the stakes of one improbable couple's personal
happiness are so incredibly high-
was an immediate draw for Seth Rogen and his producing partners at Point Grey
Pictures, Evan Goldberg and
Point Grey Pictures made its debut with the critically acclaimed 50/50 and
went on to bring such hits as the
Neighbors series, The Interview, Sausage Party and Blockers to the screen. But
the company had never made
anything with the scale, polish and mix of comedy and romanace that Long Shot
would demand. The idea of
stretching their comedy into the global sphere presented an exhilarating
challenge. "We haven't ever gone into
this world before and that felt really exciting," says Goldberg. "It just seemed
really fun that in the middle of
international negotiations you suddenly have a classic odd couple thing going
It was Weaver-at the time still Rogen's personal assistant before he worked
his way up to President of Point
Grey-who first latched onto Sterling's script just after the company had locked
50/50. He immediately sensed
an opportunity for Rogen to take what he's so good at into a story with both
broader themes and a bigger
heart. "To me, this story felt like it could be a very modern, outrageous take
on the kind of old school romance
that Seth, Evan and I have always loved and it would be a totally different
thing from what people expect of
us," says Weaver. "I felt there was also a kind of Beauty and the Beast element
to Fred and Charlotte that had
lots of comic potential. You have a woman who is trying to figure out how to be
all things to all people, and
then you have Fred who can't seem to get out of his own way."
With such a worldly foil in Charlotte, the more Weaver felt Rogen's everyman
persona would shake up the
telling of it. "You can get away with a lot more subversiveness and
outrageousness when you ground comedy
in a believable thing," he observes. "And vice versa. So even when you see Seth
fall down a flight of stars in
the hilarious way only he can, in that same moment, you also see Fred
reconnecting with his childhood crush
and coming to terms with who he has become."
The sheer oddity of this coupling really began to crystallize when Theron
came aboard to play Charlotte as well
as joining the team as a hands-on producer through her company Denver & Delilah.
She also brough along
Denver & Delilah producers A.J. Dix and Beth Kono, whose experience on such
movies as the spy thriller Atomic
Blonde and the Jason Reitman drama Tully further added to the film's mix.
Then the team went in search of director who could blend Rogen and Theron,
politics and pratfalls, awkward
relationships and savvy foreign relations with warm yet unbridled humor. Point
Grey couldn't help but think of
Jonathan Levine, who had directed 50/50 for them. "50/50 had to balance emotion
and humor and that's
exactly what we needed for Long Shot," says Rogen. "Even though Long Shot
couldn't be set in a more
different world, the fact that we knew Jon can mix weight and lightness, which
is so hard to do, was really
important. He also made Warm Bodies, a movie where a girl falls in love with a
zombie and it worked, which
is crazy. So he just seemed like the perfect guy to do this."
Adds Goldberg: "Jon is also the rare ego-less director. He just wants a movie
to be good, and he truly doesn't
care whose ideas are used as long as they are awesome ideas."
Having always enjoyed his humor with a twist, Levine felt lured to the film's
genre-busting elements: its globehopping settings and the chemical reaction
between Rogen and Theron. "What interested me was working
with two versatile actors you wouldn't necessarily expect to have this
incredible chemistry. It was a chance to
make a comedy that also brings in a lot of heart and the scale of a global
Levine especially loved that at the movie's center is a woman at the top of
the power structure. "Charlotte
really excited me because I saw her character as an incredible opportunity to
explore not only a woman of high
achievement in the political world, but also what a woman comes up against when
she's trying to be the best
version of herself. What are the compromises she makes and won't make?"
He continues: "Charlotte's journey really speaks to anyone trying to stay
true to the things that
mattered to you when you were young. I'm always gut checking myself with
questions like: 'would the young
me be happy with this decision that I was making? Am I being true to that
person?' That's what Fred and
Charlotte ultimately bring out in each other."
While the backdrop of the film reflects the world of politics as we know it
celebrity-driven, media-saturated-Levine points out that LONG SHOT is not a
political comedy. "For us, the
political world is a fun and timely backdrop," says Levine. "The emotional
through-line of Charlotte and Fred
was always the priority. But having a story that moves around the world and
among powerful people, it felt
like a chance to do something different with the comedy. We really challenged
ourselves to make this movie
incredibly funny, but also heartfelt, with an emotional core everyone can relate
Rogen on Fred Flarsky
He might not be the Prime Minister of Canada, but they don't come much more
righteous, fair-minded or
dedicated to tell-it-like-you-see-it journalism than Fred Flarsky. It's just
that Fred seems to have also mastered
the art of being his own worst enemy, often going a step way too far or stepping
on his own feet while trying
to do the right thing. These alternately riotous and touching contradictions
were a blast for Rogen to explore,
taking his unique style of sincere absurdity to a new, more romantic place.
"Fred is a very idealistic person who has never quite been able to become the
person that he hoped he would
be," Rogen describes. "I think Fred would describe himself as a highly
principled but also highly misunderstood
journalist, one who has not really gotten recognition for the risks he takes and
the work he creates. But he's
also kind of a self-destructive mess who doesn't believe in his own worth."
That finally starts to shift once Flarsky starts working for Charlotte Field,
and begins to grapple with the
outlandish fact that the Secretary of State appears to actually be falling in
love with him, a rebellious Brooklynite
whose idea of fancy dress is adding a baseball cap to his windbreaker. As Fred
discovers he can make Charlotte
happy, his own personal take on what happiness is evolves. "Fred recognizes that
Charlotte's a really great
leader, so it becomes fulfilling for him to learn to support her in that," says
Rogen. "It gives him a chance to
step back from his own ego and realize it doesn't always have to be about him
and his stuff. He learns to take
pleasure just in being there for someone else, which is completely new for him."
Even as Charlotte changes Fred, Fred aims to help Charlotte change the world.
Having never quite recovered
from the full force of her youthful idealism when she was his babysitter, he
can't help but remind her of just
how spirited and uncompromising she was back then. "Fred is able to re-spark the
feelings that made Charlotte
go into politics in the first place," Rogen says. "He reminds her of all these
strong ideals that got watered down
over the years. Fred has always been an advocate for sticking to your guns and
doing what you think is right.
Of course, he can be entirely overzealous in that when it comes to his own life,
but Charlotte takes it to heart
in her own pragmatic way."
Rogen recalls that there was an instant frisson of energy between him and
Theron from the earliest rehearsals.
"We always knew we needed someone with real gravitas to play Charlotte, someone
who could go beyond
what you expect from a character in a traditional R-rated comedy and create
something more human, real and
nuanced. Charlize brought all that-but she's also incredibly funny," he says.
For Rogen, LONG SHOT was also a shot at giving new life to the kind of
sweetly emotional comedies that first
made him fall in love with the movies-blending in 21st Century sensibility and
relevance. "Growing up, I
honestly loved movies like When Harry Met Sally and Pretty Woman," he explains.
"I loved how hilarious they
were, how emotionally gratifying they were and how aspirational they were when
it came to relationships. So
I've always really wanted to make a movie that might do something similar: a
movie as funny as any of our
movies but with a strong romantic story that reflects our world right now."
Theron on Charlotte Field
If Fred Flarsky has never quite had the impact he hoped for in the world, or
even in Brooklyn, Charlotte Field
has reached the most rarified heights of international achievement and now has a
chance, no matter how slim,
to lead the entire nation with her vision. She's done it all, and she's hugely
skilled at keeping it all under
control-though perhaps just a little too skilled, which might be why she can't
get her childhood neighbor
Flarsky out of her mind from the minute he literally tumbles back into her life.
For Theron, who has played indelible characters ranging from serial killer
Aileen Wuornos in Monster, for which
she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, to Mad Max: Fury Road's fierce
heroine Furiosa, part of the
lure of Charlotte was taking on a role that reflects a moment right now when the
power of women in the world
has never been greater.
"For me to have the chance to play a character like Charlotte, who doesn't
just throw all of her ambition away
for a guy, was exciting," Theron says. "Charlotte is very much of this time and
she's in a very conflicted place
that a lot of women have to deal with - juggling work, ideals and personal life.
I think that's why you ultimately
root so hard for her and Fred, because nothing is really easy for them and they
have to make some really tough
personal decisions-I mean besides from 'should we do Molly?'"
Theron could understand why Charlotte might fall for Fred in the middle of
the most serious and intense period
of her seriously intense life. "Charlotte has always been driven, even as a kid,
and she has always wanted to
do big things and change big things in the world," she muses. "When we first
meet her in the film, it seems
that everything is working out exactly the way that she's always wanted, but she
has paid a price. She has
lost a little of what really mattered to her in order to succeed. And I think
that's why Fred is so important to
her. He wakes her up to all those things she used to believe in-and really still
She continues: "Fred is so erratic, yet so sincere, he makes for a great
comic character. And I had such a
great experience with Seth. He understands story like nobody's business-but he
also understands how comedy
has to live and breathe and come from an authentic place."
Levine was blown away by how much life and joy-and also slapstick energy-Theron
brought to Charlotte.
"We all know Charlize is a great actor. What I didn't know is that she would be
such a gifted physical comedian,"
In one of Levine's favorite scenes with Theron, Charlotte has to attend to a
major international crisis while
coming down off a psychedelic high with Fred. "The body movements Charlize came
up with in that moment
are so super funny, it was a revelation," says the director. "The way she was
able to amplify the humor,
matching Seth, while also bringing so many nuances to her character, was
For Evan Goldberg, a beloved scene is when Theron goes from dancing elegantly
with the Canadian Prime
Minister in front of global news cameras to fooling around with Fred in a
utility closet. "It's a moment when
their relationship starts to feel like it's real," says Goldberg. "The moment
had to strike this balance where you
believe Charlize is there doing her very important job only to disappear into a
private, fun moment that could
be two kids at a high school sneaking behind the dumpster to make out during
Concludes James Weaver: "Charlize has a way of being so relatable and warm
even when she's hysterically
funny. It's hard to do that when you're playing someone who has the
responsibilities of Secretary of State, who
also has to be unusually intelligent and polished, but it's the way that you
believe her as a real person that
makes her performance work."
Surrounding Fred and Charlotte is a cast of comical characters from their
disparate worlds. They include Fred's
life-long best friend Lance, who has never let him down; no matter his
misadventures. From the minute Fred
re-encounters Charlotte, Lance is there, convincing him he's good enough to
pursue the impossible. Taking
the role is O'Shea Jackson Jr., an actor and rapper (under the stage name OMG)
best known for playing his
real-life father, Ice Cube, in Straight Outta Compton.
"O'Shea was someone who we found could go toe-to-toe with Seth on an
improvisational level," says Levine.
"The first day he and Seth were together, they had an amazing energy. It was a
pairing that just feels natural,
funny and like they were long time close friends, even though they had just
This was a different kind of role for Jackson, playing straight man to
Rogen's uniquely human style of comedy.
He immediately felt an affinity for Lance's relentless positivity. "Lance is a
tech entrepreneur, a self-made man,
who is super enthusiastic about everything, and he's aggressively enthusiastic
about supporting Fred. Lance
is always in Fred's corner. Whatever he needs, I got him," Jackson explains.
It is Lance who pushes Fred to own up to the idea that he, too, deserves
love, something he's never fully
believed. "Lance believes that you have to love yourself first and then you need
to step up and do something
about it," says Jackson. "He believes that if Fred proves to himself he's worthy
of Charlotte Field's love, he'll
realize the kind of potential that has always been in him from the beginning."
Jackson especially enjoyed having the chance to bounce off Rogen's comic
instincts and says the entire
ensemble is what made the film such an unusual experience. "You had everybody
adding their own special
spices to the soup, which is what makes it a dish," he sums up. "We all had so
much fun with each other and
I think that comes through in the feel of the movie."
Behind Charlotte stands a loyal staff, and no one is more devoted to her than
her rabidly meticulous Chief of
Staff, Maggie, whose job is to solve every problem long before one arises.
Naturally, Maggie's consummate
skills sniff out Fred Flarsky as an issue from the second Charlotte decides to
hire him. Taking the role is Grace
and Frankie star June Diane Raphael.
Theron adored both Maggie and Raphael's portrayal. "I really like the way the
script captures the real work
dynamic between two women in powerful positions who each want the other to only
have the best," she says.
"Junie is so incredibly funny but she always comes from this place of heart and
she was always there for me."
Adds Levine: "June brought her own deadpan style of humor to the table. She
nailed both the rivalry with Fred
and the camaraderie with Charlotte that are so key to the comedy."
Raphael says she based the character not only on a real-life political chief
of staff she met while preparing for
the production but on the coterie of Hollywood assistants she's seen running
people's lives like a manager runs
a company. "I've seen these people who have such huge schedules that they have
to have a team of people
to act as gatekeepers," she describes. "I've noticed there's a certain kind of
energy to the gatekeeper, a
confidence and a power that comes from knowing nobody can get to this famous
person without going through
you. Maggie knows that while she might not be a public person, she's crucial to
the Secretary of State's success,
and she loves that."
As the gatekeeper, Maggie is staunchly opposed to Flarsky, first as a
speechwriter but even more so as
Charlotte's prospective relationship, which is not at all in Maggie's vision of
Charlotte's future. "Why Charlotte
hires Flarsky, and why he stays on the campaign, is a total mystery to Maggie,"
laughs Raphael. "But even if
she doesn't understand it, she has to try to keep it from imploding Charlotte's
Working closely with Maggie is Tom, Charlotte's "body man," that indefinable
Washington D.C. job that is part
valet, part emotional support, part social buffer. Taking the role is Ravi
Patel, a rising star who has been seen
in Transformers, Master of None and in the documentary he co-directed, Meet The
Patel loved having the chance to explore the high-tension world of political
operatives. "Working for someone
in the White House is a pretty fun thing to pretend to do," he laughs. "It's not
an easy job, though. When
you're a body man, problems come at you pretty hard. You have to try to
anticipate what is needed long
before it is needed. So Tom is just an incredible grinder who never stops."
On set, Patel garnered inspiration from watching Rogen in action. "Seth has a
kind of musicality to the way he
works, there's a rhythm to everything he does," Patel observes. "But he's also a
really nice dude, and he's
always cracking jokes, which keeps it fun."
Charlotte's boss is no less than the President of the United States-even if
President Chambers is in way over
his head as commander-in-chief and knows it. A one-time actor who played a
popular TV President before he
was elected, his main hope for his Presidency is to parlay it into his true
ambition: the big move to motion
pictures. Taking the satirically playful role is Emmy Award winner and Golden
Globe nominee Bob Odenkirk
(Better Call Saul), who is known for bringing a wry wit to his dramatic roles
and a psychological acuity to his
"Bob is a master at playing that very charming yet calculating guy. He comes
from a comedy tradition but
he's got incredible dramatic chops as well. He was just a great fit for the
role," says Levine.
Odenkirk couldn't resist LONG SHOT's script. "It was a fun read, it had
something on its mind, and it had a
complication level that a lot of comedies don't seem to get to. I like that at
its core it is about achieving the
best version of who you can be," he says. "The movie surprised me with how much
humanity and heart it was
able to retain and still be funny throughout."
He also saw President Chambers as a chance to go to town with a narcissistic
character who is basically phoning
in his work as POTUS. "Chambers is a total airhead," Odenkirk laughs, "and a
goofball, but he looks the part
of President so that's how he got elected. I get to be a complete idiot in this
role and I loved it. Being a really
shallow, grabby, egotistical clown can be super fun."
Charlotte takes Chambers by surprise when she starts dominating the news
cycle. "He hasn't really paid close
attention to what a smart cookie Charlotte is," notes Odenkirk. "She's way
smarter than he is but he doesn't
really notice. Everybody in his world is there just to help him get ahead-that's
how he looks at it."
As a single woman in power, Charlotte especially rouses the media's
fascination with her interactions with the
also single and expertly flirtatious Canadian Prime Minister. Taking the role
for all its worth is Golden Globe
and Emmy Award winner Alexander Skarsgard (Big Little Lies). "We had such a
great time with Alexander,"
says Levine. "Scenes with him would change on a dime because there was so much
opportunity for comedy
with his character. For example, the scene where he's eating oysters with
Charlize was pretty much invented
in the moment. We just had them riff on the idea that they were on a date, but
he's really just this complete
political robot manufactured by polling, and Alexander really got it and was so
Rounding out the star-studded cast is Andy Serkis, renowned for his nearly
alchemical skills in bringing to life
digitally-enhanced characters such as Gollum in the Lord of The Rings series and
Caesar in the Planet of the
Apes series. In Long Shot, he appears in prosthetic makeup as someone entirely
unrecognizable in the part of
media mogul Parker Wembley, who turns out to play a dark role in both Fred and
Charlotte's careers. "No one
said to Andy, 'we want you to sit through 17 hours of makeup every day for this
movie.' It was entirely self-inflicted," laughs Rogen. "But Andy had a strong
perspective on how the character should look and he gave
us an incredible performance."
Serkis was so incognito that Levine didn't even know who he was when he first
saw him on set. "We were
already two weeks into the movie and one day I look up and I'm like, 'Oh,
there's a hair and makeup test going
on. Who is that guy?' I had no idea-but it was Serkis in awesome makeup. I love
that his commitment was
so high that he felt he had to do this."
Sneaking Around The World
LONG SHOT is the rare modern comedy that jets around the world's hot spots,
moving from New York and
Washington D.C. to France, Sweden, Argentina, Japan and the Philippines ... and
from formal dinners of state
to explosive coup d'├ętats. The creative challenges of a comedy with so many
locations and moving parts only
made it more exciting for the filmmakers. "The story has scope and scale that's
not only a lot of fun for a
comedy but also separates it from other movies we've done," notes Weaver.
To bring it all to life, and let the comedy roll in such sophisticated
settings, Levine worked with a versatile crew
led by director of photography Yves Belanger, who has shot such acclaimed dramas
as Dallas Buyer's Club and
Brooklyn, as well as the award-winning TV series Big Little Lies and Sharp
Objects; production designer Kalina
Ivanov, whose work includes Wonder and the Oscar-winning Little Miss Sunshine;
and costume designer Mary
Vogt, who recently designed Crazy Rich Asians.
Belanger brought a warm, natural, cinematic look that, as the filmmakers
hoped, belies the story's outrageous
comedy. "When we saw Big Little Lies, we thought Yves had created a very
interesting look that could work
for this film," recalls Weaver. "He created a totally different, non-comedic
visual style that puts the focus on
Ivanov, too, had a strong vision. Early on she chose a palette of reds,
whites and blues to anchor the election-time themes and rising emotions, as Fred
and Charlotte's relationship moves from cold to red-hot. With nearly
100 different sets and locations to create, Ivanov had her work cut out for her,
using the international city of
Montreal as a hub to forge a diversity of global cities.
Yet, the underlying objective of her hard work was to not be noticed. "In a
film like this, you don't want your
design to be funny," she points out. "You want the characters and situations to
be funny. I've always believed
that in a comedy, the design should play the straight man in a sense."
While never going for an obtrusive look, Ivanov had fun with the myriad of
locales, including replicating one of
the most vaunted realms in the nation: the Oval Office. The design team was able
to commandeer a set that
had previously been constructed for the X-Men series, which was a perfect fit.
"Because President Chambers
is a former actor who starred in a TV show about the White House, we thought his
version of the Oval Office
should be inspired by television," Ivanov explains. "So we gave him a TV in
there instead of the famous portrait
on the wall and we gave him a desk that's not the Resolute Desk, because he's
just not a serious President.
We played up all the elements that a TV show would do in our version of the Oval
When it came to converting a 747 into Air Force Two, which becomes a second
home to Charlotte, Fred and
Charlotte's staff, the designer consulted with a former aide to Secretary of
State John Kerry. "We wanted that
set to be grounded in reality and we got some great details from him," she says.
Perhaps Ivanov's favorite set is the party where Fred has his fateful run-in
with Charlotte after all these years
before nearly blowing it all with a mishap. "It was a big, awesome but
challenging design because you have a
stunt in the middle of this modern party featuring a performance by Boyz II
Men," muses Ivanov.
For the costumes, contrast was the name of the game, with Fred in his
trademark pastel windbreaker and bike
pants, Lance in posh designer suits and Charlotte in the crisp, high-end
clothing befitting one of the world's
most powerful women. Vogt and Rogen collaborated closely on Flarsky's typical
look, though the look, like
Fred, is forced to evolve once he starts working with Charlotte.
"Mary and Seth came up with a really strong look for Fred, a ridiculous look
that makes you realize that smart
as he is, he's never really gotten out of his own way," says Weaver.
When Fred realizes his casual style isn't going to fly in diplomatic circles,
he struggles to change it up. At his
first big party with VIPs in Sweden, he dons a particularly unexpected outfit on
bad advice. "That outfit is an
authentic, traditional Swedish outfit," notes Vogt, "but the minute Seth put it
on, we were all hysterical so we
knew it was going to work for the scene."
For Field's look, Vogt studied a pantheon of potent women. "I looked at Queen
Sofia of Greece and Denmark,
Queen Noor of Jordan and Queen Letizia of Spain, who all have fabulous modern
looks, among others. Kate
Middleton (Duchess of Cambridge) was another influence as someone who dresses
very fashionably but is
highly respected. Of course, as an American candidate, we felt we couldn't go
too far into high fashion or
designer labels but Charlize and I talked a lot about how Charlotte might have
her own modern take on a very
Vogt notes that Theron was closely involved in every aspect of her
character's clothing. "Charlize came in with
a strong sense of Charlotte's feminine elegance. She wanted to look tailored but
soft, a bit like a contemporary
Katherine Hepburn. We tried to create that through our choices of fabrics and
cuts, with her gabardine suits.
But as Charlotte gets closer to Fred, she loosens up, and her look becomes less
Music also plays a role in bringing Fred and Charlotte together, with their
mutual nostalgia for the 90s R&B
hitmakers Boyz II Men drawing them closer. The filmmakers were absolutely
thrilled to be able to bring the
current incarnation of the record-breaking band into the film. "Getting Boyz II
Men was kind of an amazing
coup," says Levine. "The day they performed was one of my favorite days ever on
a set. And it worked so
well to create a common ground of pop culture for Fred and Charlotte."
From the performances to the look to the music, that entirely unlikely-but
ever deepening-common ground
was always the linchpin of the movie. Sums up Levine: "I hope what audiences get
to experience is some of
the fun and adrenaline and discovery of starting a relationship you never
expected could happen. At the center
of it all are Seth and Charlize finding the most amazing ways to create a
connection that feels at once
preposterous, intimate and real."
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