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HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE

About The Production
How To Lose Friends & Alienate People is directed by Oscar® nominated Robert Weide and produced by Oscar® nominated Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen. The Stephen Woolley/Elizabeth Karlsen/ Number 9 Films production was developed as part of the UK Film Council's slate funding initiative with Film4, the Irish Film Board, Intandem Films and Audley Films. It is based on the bestselling memoir by Toby Young and the screenplay is by Peter Straughan. The cast is led by Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead), Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man trilogy, Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, Bring It On), Danny Huston (The Constant Gardener, 30 Days of Night), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Last King of Scotland), Megan Fox (Transformers), Max Minghella (Hippie Hippie Shake) and Jeff Bridges (Seabiscuit, The Big Lebowski).

First published in 2001, Toby Young's memoir, How To Lose Friends & Alienate People, charts Young's move from London to New York to become a contributing editor at the highly prestigious magazine Vanity Fair. Fired less than two years later, the memoir hilariously captures Young's failed attempt to take Manhattan by storm.

Toby Young reminisces: "Things really didn't work out for me at Vanity Fair, and one of the reasons was that I was just completely naïve about what being a journalist in New York was like. I had seen films like, His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story, and I was expecting the corridors of Vanity Fair to be full of these debonair wits, trading wisecracks in-between sips from the hip flask. It was actually this incredibly rule-bound society – much more rule-bound than the culture I'd come from. We have this idea that America's this great informal place, it's like one giant speakeasy where everyone is completely themselves. But London's quite like that; New York is nothing like that. New York's much more like London was a hundred years ago, and I felt almost like I was Austin Powers who'd come of age in this kind of permissive, swinging ‘60s era who'd been teleported back in time to the Victorian era.”

The memoir was optioned by Film4 in 2002 and Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen of Number 9 Films approached both Film4 and Toby Young to produce it. Stephen was drawn to the memoir because, as he says, "in the book he explains why he [Toby Young] is like he is, a pain in the arse, and the self deprecation saves Toby from sheer sleaziness. It's also laugh out loud hilarious!” 

Producer Stephen Woolley was aware that there needed to be changes to the memoir to make the transition to film, he comments: "The book is a series of tremendously funny but disconnected events that happened to Toby Young whilst he was working at Vanity Fair in the late 1990s. What we wanted to do was really find a spine to the tale, a romance, so that the Sidney Young not only falls in love with New York but also a character from New York who, like him, realizes that the magazine industry at heart can be corrupting.” 

Screenwriter Peter Straughan was brought onto the project because Producers Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen had liked his script Three Bad Men; he had previously written the screenplay for Sixty Six, which Elizabeth Karlsen also produced, and is currently working with George Clooney on Men Who Stare At Goats. Peter created the character Alison (played by Kirsten Dunst) who works at Sharps magazine and although she instantly dislikes Sidney Young, begins to warm to his bumbling charm throughout the course of the film.

Toby Young adds: "One of the differences between the story that's told in the film and the real story, is that the film is a romantic comedy and the courtship between Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst is kind of cute and funny, and it hits a few roadblocks, then their coming together. In reality, I dated the woman for a while (who subsequently became my wife) and then she dumped m

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