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JUST FRIENDS

About The Production
When screenwriter Adam "Tex” Davis delivered his first draft of the screenplay for  Just Friends to the management/production company, Benderspink, the story at it's center had a ‘just friends' relationship. Everyone agreed that was the way to go, so Davis consequently zeroed in on that concept and fleshed it out, with the resulting screenplay selling to New Line Cinema.

During the writing process Davis was bombarded with hundreds of woebegone tales of guys and gals stuck in the ‘friend zone.' "We realized that there was a wealth of material and this was one of those movies that everyone could relate to,” says the writer. "The script underwent many changes, but we all knew it was such a good idea, so we kept going.”

Helping to supply some of these key anecdotes were producer Chris Bender and New Line Cinema production executive Richard Brener, who supported the project from the outset. "Ultimately the script became a compilation of all sorts of people. The characters all sprang from real stories, so it's been fun to develop,” says Bender.

"Just Friends asks the question, ‘when you're stuck in the ‘friend zone,' can you get out?' The answer is yes,” says Bender, who relates an anecdote about a guy who ended up dating a girl years after she had rejected him in high school. This revelation shifted the thrust of the tale. Until then, Bender thought it was impossible to get out of the ‘friend zone.' "I realized that it really was about timing. This story shifted to incorporate that idea as well. The story is now about the character of Chris Brander allowing himself to become vulnerable again after being rejected in high-school where he was relegated to the ‘friend zone' – a place where ‘just friends' relationships flourish, but not romantically,” continues Bender.

Director Roger Kumble could also identify with the story. "I've been a victim of the ‘friend zone' one too many times. That was the reason I wanted to make this movie. It was a relatable idea, and if executed right, could really tap into the Zeitgeist.”

Kumble had wanted to work with Ryan Reynolds since the late 1990's, when he spotted him in a film called Coming Soon. Since then the talented Reynolds has gone on to appear in such wildly diverse films as National Lampoon's Van Wilder, Blade: Trinity and The Amityville Horror.

"I'm shocked that a movie about this subject matter hasn't been made before,” says Reynolds. "Everyone can relate to being subjugated to the ‘friend zone' and placed in this perma-penalty box of non-sexual gratification, the purgatorial Cyrano role of a lifetime. I went through it in high school when I was in love with this girl for years while she dated jerk after jerk, but came to me for advice!” admits Reynolds. "It certainly is my inspiration for this movie.”

"In high school the character I play, Chris Brander, wore his heart on his sleeve. Basically he was just incredibly wounded. In the subsequent 10 years since graduation, he's lived in a profound reactionary state to those horrifying moments in high school,” continues Reynolds, who drew on his experience living in Los Angeles, modeling Chris' professional world on the L.A. agent archetype. "One is inundated in that moderately superficial world where there is a thinly veiled veneer of communication you don't find elsewhere. It's kind of cool because you get this rare opportunity to play a character who's the aggressor, but he's redeemable because you see where this type of person came from,” relates Reynolds.

Says screenwriter Adam "Tex” Davis, "the thing that was sweet about Chris Brander in high school and made girls want to be his friend is all gone. Since then he's lost himself in the process of losing weight and gaining good looks. Now he's this cold, shallow person. By the end of the movie, he rediscovers himself.” Producer Chris Bender concurs, "at his core, Chris is<

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