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P.S. I LOVE YOU

Letter Opener
"I love stories that remind me of what's important in life,” says Hilary Swank, who stars in "P.S. I Love You.” "I think ‘P.S. I Love You' reminds us to hold the ones we love close and never to take them for granted because you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. It's also about the power of friendship and of family…and maybe not taking life so seriously,” she smiles.

Writer/director Richard LaGravenese offers, "My favorite stories are bittersweet—you laugh, you cry, you're moved… That's how life is; it's never one thing or another, and it shouldn't be because real life is a little messy. I want to make movies that reflect that.”

"P.S. I Love You” began as a novel of the same name by Irish author Cecelia Ahern, who was only 21 years old when she wrote her book about love, loss and hope, which became an international bestseller. "No matter what age you are or where you're from or what you do, we all experience love, and when you love somebody, you know what it's like to fear losing them,” Ahern relates. "The idea for the book was sparked from that feeling and all the emotions that come with it. It's a story about the fact that love lives on forever, and because it's such a hopeful story, that made it all the better.” The story's hopeful message about the enduring power of love struck a chord with several of the filmmakers, who, as fate would have it, had each been recently touched by the loss of a loved one in their own lives.

Oscar-winning producer Wendy Finerman was privileged to read the book even before it was published and immediately recognized its appeal. "I thought it was a universal story because we can all imagine what it would be like to lose someone we love and then have that hope that we could somehow still feel their presence in our lives.” As Finerman began developing with project, she turned to Richard LaGravense to helm the movie as well as to script it, working from an initial adaptation by Steven Rogers. Finerman comments, "The magic of Richard is that his words are so beautiful but so real. They sound the way we speak to each other in real life, so they evoke common emotions and you feel a real connection to the characters.”

It was while they were developing the project that real life imitated art in a way that gave Finerman a deeper connection to the material. "My best friend in the whole world lost her husband during that time,” she recalls. "Ironically, he had written letters to be given to her after he passed away, so I felt even more connected to the story.” Richard LaGravenese's interest in "P.S. I Love You” was also colored by personal experience. He notes, "I had lost my dear friend Ted Demme, and the character of Gerry had a spirit that was very much like Teddy's—fun-loving and larger than life.”

Producer Molly Smith came upon the book only a week after suffering the untimely death of her eldest sister. She read it in one night, laughing and crying the whole way through. "What was so captivating about the story is that it's told in Holly's voice, so you hear every emotion she's feeling through every letter. You go on this journey with her, which ended up being very therapeutic for me. I just loved it,” Smith states.

Feeling such a personal connection to the material, Smith called producers Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson at Alcon Entertainment, with whom she had worked when she was just starting out in her career. "I told them it was a wonderful story and I just knew it could be a really heartwarming, heartbreaking, funny, wonderful movie. It became a whirlwind fairytale for me because the next thing I knew they were saying, ‘Okay, are you ready to produce your first movie?' It was very exciting, and I was very lucky to have Andrew and Broderick mentoring me through this process.”

With Finerman, Kosove, Johnson and Smith teamed<

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