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MONSTER-IN-LAW

About the Production
The inspiration for screenwriter Anya Kochoff's Monster-in-Law script – her feature film debut – originally came from years of conversations the writer had with her girlfriends. They would compare notes with other newly-married couples, and Kochoff discovered a treasure trove of funny and sometimes heart-breaking incidents at her fingertips. After thinking about a story for almost a year, she eventually sat down at her computer and wrote the first draft of the script in just a month.

In writing the script, Kochoff realized that in the telling of these family squabbles, listeners appeared more sympathetic to the mother. But she wanted to tell her story from the girl's point of view. "I wanted the audience to experience what it is like to adopt a mother, to adopt a family,” Kochoff explains. "I wanted people to appreciate how difficult it can be for the women marrying the sons of their soon to be mother-in-laws.”

"There's an old saying, when you marry the guy, you marry the family,” she continues. "I never believed that until I got married myself. It's hard enough to deal with the idiosyncrasies of your own relatives without taking on the problems of a whole new family. That's what this movie is really about – it's about being so excited to meet the man of your dreams and then realizing that there's an entirely separate set of issues that come with it because even perfect love has its drawbacks. This is a story of overcoming those drawbacks; it's the bride-underdog story.”

The story captured the interest of producers Chris Bender and JC Spink, who from their first read of the script knew they wanted to make the film. "The title alone had me interested,” says Spink. "Some of the best movies seem to work when you know what to expect just from the title. Of course it works best if the audience has a strong connection through a universal theme, like Meet The Parents, for example. There is a great deal of commonality in the title. In the same vein, the script for Monster-in-Law delivers the title's promise because it's a funny and compelling story at its core.”

"Finding a great script is like the feeling you had in high school when, in the middle of reading something really fascinating, you suddenly realized it was an assignment, not a comic book or magazine article – ‘Oh my God, is this homework!?' It's the same with a good script, you forget you're reading, and you forget it's your job.”

When the producers brought the project to New Line Cinema, the studio then turned to former-agent-turned-producer Paula Weinstein for yet another perspective and tapped her to join the production team already in place. Weinstein was thrilled to come aboard.

"You say Monster-in-Law and people go, ‘Oh my God, do I have a story for you!'” says Weinstein. "It doesn't matter whether you are talking about the mother-in-law or the daughter-in-law; it all depends on your point of view.”

New Line Cinema co-chairman and CEO Bob Shaye also believed that Weinstein's good friend and former client, Jane Fonda (who initially introduced Weinstein and Shaye), might find the material captivating enough to return to the big screen. Fonda had been sent many scripts throughout the years, but was too busy with other pursuits to even contemplate returning to Hollywood. Whether it was kismet or the planets aligning just right, Fonda felt the time had come to try her hand at acting again.

At the same time the producers sent Fonda the first draft of the script, they were wooing Jennifer Lopez, who eventually committed to the project in early May 2003. She then became an integral part of the production team and worked with filmmakers throughout the pre-production and production process.

"It's hard to find a romantic comedy with a fresh premise,” says Lopez, who has made her mark in the genre. "The audience already knows the ending, so it's really got to be about the journey. Thi

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