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Twentieth Century Fox Presents A Deborah Schindler Production, Angela Bassett in HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK

Twentieth Century Fox Presents A Deborah Schindler Production, Angela Bassett in HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK. The film also stars Taye Diggs, Regina King and Whoopi Goldberg. It is directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan, and produced by Deborah Schindler. The screenplay is by Terry McMillan & Ron Bass, based upon the novel by Terry McMillan. Executive producers are Terry McMillan, Ron Bass and Jennifer Ogden. The director of photography is Jeffrey Jur, the production designer is Chester Kaczenski, and the film is edited by George Bowers, A.C.E. The executive soundtrack producers are Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and music is by Michel Colombier.

HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK depicts the story of a woman who must break the rules of love and her own way of thinking to find her heart. While a work of fiction - it is based on Terry McMillan's best-selling novel - the story was inspired by McMillan's real-life romance with a young Jamaican who indeed was twenty years her junior.

McMillan had made a spur of the moment trip to Jamaica following the death of her mother and, a year later, her best friend. During her stay in the island paradise she met the young man. "I felt energized after my trip," McMillan recalls. "I was a different person; I felt like my old self again."

The experience led her to return to writing. "I wanted to make sense out of how I was feeling," she relates. "It had been so long since I was actually able to feel anything other than sadness - it was kind of miraculous to me.

What resulted - the novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back - was a fictionalized account of what happened - "in essence but not in particular" - to McMillan in Jamaica and upon her return home.

But the experience and the book meant more to her than recounting an exciting romance between an older woman and younger man. "My concern at that time, as a woman, was asking, why aren't we entitled to happiness in any form that we find it in? Who is to say what is right and wrong, or what is appropriate or inappropriate? And what about this double standard about having relationships with an older partner'?

"I write about a world I know," McMillan continues, "one with which I can really identify."

McMillan sees her story as a woman's search for fulfillment and the courage she finds within to embrace love - even when it means breaking society's "rules" about romance. "There are a lot of women out there who are educated, have great careers, lots of money - and are bored to death," McMillan insists. "You have to give yourself permission to take risks in life and not worry about what people are going to think."

The project began to come together during the production of "Waiting to Exhale." Based on McMillan's New York Times best seller, "Waiting to Exhale," released by Twentieth Century Fox, became one of the most successful films of 1995. Shortly after that film's release. McMilIan's next book. How Stella Got Her Groove Back, was published. Deborah Schindler, one of the producers of "Waiting to Exhale," had read the manuscript months prior to publication, and approached McMillan about bringing the new story to the screen.

"I felt so connected to Terry and her material on both 'Exhale' and STELLA," remembers Schindler. "Her characters are funny, sad, and realistic people. And nobody writes dialogue better than Terry McMillan."

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