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Reimagining Bewitched
Producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher of Red Wagon Entertainment had long entertained the idea of turning the beloved romantic comedy series "Bewitched” into a feature film. While they were developing the project, Oscar® winner Nicole Kidman indicated an interest in tackling the lead female role. For Wick, it was an inspired idea. "We always saw the movie as a love story between the most otherworldly of women and the most earthly of men,” he says. "Nicole's statuesque beauty gives her the perfect, witchy exterior. Her brilliance as an actress makes her credible as a woman with supernatural powers. Then, there's the added bonus of Nicole's nose and its miraculous similarity to that of Elizabeth Montgomery's.”

"Now,” says Fisher, "we just had to find someone who was just as perfect to write and direct it.”

It was Columbia Pictures chairman Amy Pascal who first suggested Nora Ephron, who is responsible for several indelible romantic comedies including When Harry Met Sally… (which she wrote) as well as Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail (both of which she co-wrote and directed).

It was Ephron who came up with the concept that convinced Kidman to commit. "I told her this basic idea of a witch in 2005 who is cast in a remake of the television show purely on the grounds that she looks exactly like Elizabeth Montgomery and would be no competition for the guy who is the lead in the show because he doesn't really want an equal relationship with an actress,” says Ephron. "That was the beginning of it.”

What appealed to everyone involved was that Ephron's idea paid homage to the TV show without trying to imitate it."What Nora and Delia did was to somehow manage to maintain the romance and comedy of the original series,” says Wick, "and suffuse it with a smart, modern spirit.”

For Fisher, Ephron's approach transformed the idea of adapting a TV series to the big screen in a fresh and exciting manner. "We always knew we didn't want to slavishly imitate the 1960s style of the show,” Fisher says. "We didn't just want to do a remake with movie stars. That would have been too much of a retread and creatively unambitious. What we did want to do, however, is somehow pay tribute to the essence of the show, though in a more modern, edgy context. Nora has managed to keep all the aspects people loved about the series while also taking the film in a new direction.”

As part of their research for the film, the Ephron sisters studied the original source and discovered that it held some timeless themes. "Delia and I watched a lot of Bewitched episodes and started to figure out how to actually make it work as a movie,” says Ephron. "What makes the series feel contemporary, even though it is an old-fashioned TV show, is that it's about the balance of power between a man and a woman, and that's always worth exploring. It did have certain elements that were specific to the period. Samantha didn't have a job and she used most of her powers to do dishes and things of that sort. But underneath, the show was still about a couple with a very strong connection and their ability to deal with one another given the fact that she was a powerful human being.”

Kidman admits that her initial interest was rooted in nostalgia. But when Ephron got involved, Kidman realized that the project could be much more, offering her the rare opportunity to work in a romantic comedy under the direction of a filmmaker who clearly loves, and is constantly redefining, the genre. "Everyone always told me I looked so much like Elizabeth Montgomery, so that was the first thing that got me interested in the possibility of a film version,” says Kidman. "As a little girl, I watched almost every episode of the series. However, when Nora said she would write and direct, I thought, well, this is something I have to do. It was gr

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