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NO RESERVATIONS

About The Production
For "No Reservations” director Scott Hicks, it was not only the story itself that first attracted him, but the way in which it offered touching glimpses of human interaction at its most intimate and relatable level. "It's a heartfelt, contemporary drama that strikes an interesting balance between deep emotions and moments of natural humor and lightheartedness, which is how most of us experience life,” he says. "It's about loss, but also about learning to change and finding real love out of loss.”

Hicks earned international acclaim for the powerful 1996 drama "Shine,” which received seven Oscar nominations, including Best Director and a Best Screenplay nomination for Hicks. As a filmmaker, he says, he is drawn to "character-driven stories of real emotion,” and saw in Kate's dilemma an opportunity to explore how a person with an extremely well-ordered life might deal with unexpected events that change all of it in an instant. More importantly, "how that person might find, through challenge and adversity, the gifts of love, purpose and a fresh perspective on life.”

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who counts herself among Hicks' biggest fans, offers a similar assessment. "It has so many facets. There's a wonderful love story, there's the poignant relationship between Kate and her young niece, there is Kate's passion for her work and then there's the fascinating theater of a professional kitchen and seeing how that fast-paced world operates.

"When I heard that Scott Hicks wanted to direct it, I was thrilled,” she continues. "I knew from his body of work that he would bring to it the right sensitivity and texture.”

"No Reservations” is based on the 2001 European feature "Bella Martha” (or "Mostly Martha”), a film that charmed many of the "No Reservations” cast and filmmakers prior to their collaboration. Says producer Kerry Heysen, "It was both a stylish and very tender film. We thought that by relocating it to America we could bring it to a larger audience. Setting it in New York—a city with such a rich relationship with food and restaurants—was the perfect choice and I knew it would add its own zest to the film. You can't walk down a street in New York without passing little cafés of every description and taking in all that aroma and activity.”

"It was a love story that celebrated the universal joy of making and sharing great food,” says producer Sergio Agüero. "I was tremendously excited about its potential worldwide because both of these subjects strike a familiar chord in every culture.”

The filmmakers needed to reinvent the story in its new context but were fully committed to retaining what everyone loved best about "Mostly Martha”— its heart and its flavor, as well as its heroine, a successful and single-minded master chef who runs her life and her kitchen with equal measures of disciplined efficiency. The arrival of sous-chef Nick changes everything—dramatically. "He's flamboyant; he fills the kitchen with the sounds of opera and singing, and the staff is laughing at his jokes. It's a completely different atmosphere with his presence and Kate doesn't like it,” says Heysen, who concedes that, from Kate's point of view, there could also be another, more insidious nuance in play. As a woman who has achieved a level of success and autonomy in a highly competitive field with few plumb positions, Kate considers Nick a potential threat to her professionally. In truth, Heysen explains, "Nick has taken this job because he's a great admirer of Kate's work and wants to learn from her, but she doesn't see that. She is immediately distrustful.”

While Nick challenges her domain at the restaurant, the arrival of Kate's newly orphaned niece, Zoe, seriously disrupts her home life.

Says Hicks, "The child turns everything upside down, not only emotionally but on a practical level. There's simply no room for a nine year old in the world of a busy chef with a tight s

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