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ALEX & EMMA

About The Production
Director/Producer Rob Reiner has always been an innovator, pushing the boundaries of any genre he touches – or in the case of his seminal "mockumentary," This is Spinal Tap, inventing an entirely new genre. His universally beloved films Stand by Me, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally have all been called classics. Reiner is always on the lookout for projects that offer something new for his audience, and when he first read Jeremy Leven's script for Alex & Emma, he was immediately struck by its imaginative take on the traditional romantic comedy.

Alex & Emma is loosely based on the story behind the creation of Fyodor Dostoevsky's short novel The Gambler. The book was rooted in Dostoevsky's own compulsion: in devastating debt due to his gambling addiction, the author owed his publisher a book within thirty days or he would have to hand over all rights to his past and future works. In a panic, Dostoevsky hired a stenographer to take dictation of the novel. With her help, he managed to finish the novel in time, and in the process, fell in love with her.

"I feel the best work is taken from a writer's real life as they examine what's happening to them, interpret their own emotions, thoughts and ideas, and put it all into their writing," says Reiner.

Terrified novelist Alex Sheldon is up to his ears in gambling debts owed to a particularly unforgiving creditor – the Cuban mafia. There's only one way he can get the $100,000 he needs in time to save his life: he must deliver a book to his publisher, who is refusing to advance Alex any more money until a completed manuscript hits his desk.

Now Alex is only a month away from the one-year deadline the mafia gave him to pay up, and he hasn't been able to finish a single sentence. When he's visited by two large thugs who illustrate their seriousness by dangling him out a window and torching his laptop, Alex is suddenly bereft of the means to complete his book; even if he could come up with some idea of what the story might be about (which he can't), there's no way he could write the whole thing in time.

At the end of his rope, Alex manages to lure unsuspecting stenographer Emma Dinsmore to his apartment and convinces her (largely by literally fainting on her feet) to help him.

"Emma's first impression of Alex is not so good," says Academy Award-nominated actress Kate Hudson, who was cast as the straight-talking, down-to-earth stenographer. "She shows up to this disheveled apartment owned by a disheveled tenant who got her there under false pretences, and so of course she's weirded out by him – but at the same time she's very curious and maybe a little bit attracted."

After an initially rocky start, the no-nonsense Emma puts away her pepper spray (for the time being) and goads Alex into finally spitting out a beginning to the novel that may or may not save his life.

Alex very quickly learns that Emma is, as Hudson puts it, "a bit of a smartypants." As he dictates his story to her, she can't help but inject her opinion on a regular basis, and the story begins to reflect some of her input – as when Emma expresses her frustration that Alex's physical description of his characters never matches her own inner vision…

As Emma's input begins to creep its way into Alex's story, the intriguing stenographer begins to creep into his mind as well. She challenges, infuriates and motivates him in turns, and she certainly keeps him on schedule – and on his toes – but who is she? They spend every day together, but Alex doesn't know anything about Emma beyond the fact that she peels the skin off of every individual piece of tomato

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