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JUST LIKE HEAVEN

About The Production
The story of "Just Like Heaven” began on the pages of a bestselling novel called If Only It Were True, which was the debut book from French novelist Marc Levy. The romantic tale of love across the boundaries of our physical and metaphysical worlds first came to the attention of producers Laurie MacDonald and Walter F. Parkes several months before the novel was published in English.

Laurie MacDonald reveals, "Unfortunately, neither one of us reads French, so we could only go by the synopsis at first. Even from that, we thought the setup of the characters and the story would work wonderfully on the screen.”

Eventually, however, the producers received early galleys of the English translation of the book, which only confirmed their initial impressions. Walter Parkes notes, "There was something so charming and touching about the basic premise. It seemed accessible and romantic and potentially very funny, so we bought the rights and began developing the movie.”

While MacDonald and Parkes have produced a number of films that involve both romance and comedy, Parkes acknowledges, "This is, in fact, the first pure romantic comedy that Laurie and I have ever produced. There is something elegant about a great romantic comedy script. It requires no big special effects or huge production values; the delight is in a well-told story about two people you really care about. In its simplicity, it can elicit the same kind of emotional, even visceral, reaction from the audience as those big movies do…sometimes more so. In a good romantic comedy, the audience has to care about these people almost from the first moment you meet them and, hopefully, feel more and more invested in them as the story unfolds.”

"To me the best kind of romantic movies are the ones that catch you off guard,” MacDonald adds. "I think this story does that. It's very funny, but there are key moments when the characters touch on deeper issues, so it's very moving, too.”

Even before they had a final screenplay, MacDonald and Parkes approached the director they thought would be perfect to helm the project: Mark Waters. "Mark Waters is someone whose career Laurie and I have been following since his first movie, a small film called ‘The House of Yes,' which could not have been more stylish or more intelligent,” Parkes states. Then I saw ‘Freaky Friday,' which had this modern breezy style that made it much more sophisticated than one might have expected it to be. It completely delivered on a pure comedic fantasy level. And when you see ‘Mean Girls,' it's again funny, but not in any kind of forced way…just letting the real comedy of the situation play out. Those two pictures told us that Mark was the right director, and we are very lucky that he decided to come aboard.”

"Mark is a very skilled director,” MacDonald affirms, "and it seemed like a great opportunity to use his comic gifts. He immediately responded to the concept of the movie.”

Mark Waters offers, "What makes a romantic comedy work is a good obstacle, and I thought this story had one of the best obstacles ever—where one person is living in the physical world and the other is apparently dead…or so they think. They cannot even touch, yet they have great chemistry together.”

Screenwriters Peter Tolan and Leslie Dixon, the latter of whom had previously collaborated with Waters on "Freaky Friday,” worked with the director and producers to develop Marc Levy's novel into the screenplay titled "Just Like Heaven.”

Waters remarks, "Peter Tolan and Leslie Dixon took the juicy concepts and story ideas from the book and fleshed them out into a really funny, compelling, romantic screenplay. During filming, Marc Levy visited the set and was very pleased with the script. In fact, he actually said he wished he had thought of some of the original ideas that we incorporated in the movie when he was<

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