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BREAKIN' ALL THE RULES

About The Production
"Breaking up is hard to do”…unless you have a handbook.

For director Daniel Taplitz, Breakin' All The Rules evolved from a character study of one of his best friends. "I had a friend who was quite a ladies' man,” he remembers. "And he had this thing where he would go out with women but was so paranoid about the relationship that he would often break up with them if he suspected they were going to break up with him first. He had all these rules for how he could call, when he could call, when he could break up – and I always thought it was fascinating that he had codified it to some degree.”

Coincidentally, Taplitz came across some employee termination research, which outlined the best possible ways to fire employees without getting into a dangerous situation. "The research is extensive,” he continues. "There are many books written on the subject in great detail – what to say, when to say it, where to say it – it's a real science. I started thinking about my friend and his rules, and how people are so bad at breaking up with each other. So I combined the ideas of ‘how to fire someone' with ‘how to break up' and came up with the premise for the script. It's basically a ‘how to fire' a boyfriend or girlfriend, using the employee techniques of how to fire an employee without making them go postal.” And so Breakin' All The Rules was born. 

Jamie Foxx was Taplitz's first choice for the role of Quincy. "Jamie has so many instincts and he's sort of a free-flowing brain,” he says of the actor, "but I've never seen him do a romantic part and I always thought that he would be great at that.” 

Foxx read the script and quickly responded. He not only liked it, but the whole idea of a breakup handbook spoke to him. "I read the script and it got me thinking,” says Foxx. "It's the hardest thing in the world – when you really love a person, but you know that this is as far as it's gonna go. So you start leaving all these signs like not answering the phone or not showing up – that's such a male way of doing things, but that's how we handle it. A book telling us how to handle a breakup is just what men need.”

Foxx's interest excited producer Lisa Tornell because she thought it might be difficult to find the actor who could believably play Quincy with a comedic flair yet also have that romantic lead magnetism. "A lot of times you get one or the other,” she says of her search for the perfect fit. "But Jamie is so naturally funny with an amazing comic ability, and he hasn't had a chance to play the romantic lead yet. His performance in Ali was so committed and so great that we thought ‘if he can do that that believably, and he can be funny that believably, he can probably do anything.' And in the end, he does – he's funny, holds the screen and has real romantic guy presence.”

The next role to be cast was Evan, the real hound of the pair – the one who just can't commit. Or as Jamie describes his co-star character, "the young black, smooth brother who wants to be a player but does it all wrong.” Morris Chestnut quickly won the role. "Morris seemed like the right person for the role and hadn't been used in that way, which I found refreshing,” says Taplitz. "He has such natural sympathy to him – you look at him and want to take him home to meet your parents! So putting him in the stronger, more arrogant role and coupling that with his natural appeal would allow the audience to connect with him.”

For Chestnut, he was attracted to the free-spiritedness of his character of Evan. He liked the fact that he says what's on his mind, lives for the moment and is just having fun; yet his professional life remains very structured. "I know a lot of Evans,” says Chestnut of his character. "One of my close friends is an Evan. He can't stay with a woman more than two weeks. This is pretty common among men because a lot of them get bored easily with women<

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