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CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

Shopping For The Perfect Cast
The filmmakers knew that the lead character in "Confessions of a Shopaholic” had to be portrayed by a special and spirited talent. So they tapped Isla Fisher for the role. "She stole people's hearts in ‘Wedding Crashers' and ‘Definitely, Maybe,'” says producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "In ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic' she carries the movie. It's exciting to see her wit, intelligence and comedic timing in nearly every scene.”

"I thought that Isla would be perfect for the part,” adds director P.J. Hogan. "This role needed someone who was immensely likeable and also very gifted dramatically. And importantly, Isla is a physically gifted comedienne. She's that rarity, a beautiful woman who isn't afraid to make a total fool of herself. She's fearless, which is what the character needed.”

Author and associate producer Sophie Kinsella agrees. "Isla's fantastic. She's funny, she's warm, she's appealing and she's the kind of girl that you would just long to be your best friend.”

Likewise, Fisher was a fan of Kinsella's "Shopaholic” series long before she was approached to play Rebecca Bloomwood. "I read all of the books when I was working in London,” she says. "People refer to the books as ‘Chick Lit,' but I think the more appropriate term is ‘Wit Lit' because they are genuinely funny. I felt that the book really spoke to me; I was truly blessed to get this role.

"Rebecca is such a great character,” Fisher continues. "She's lovely, optimistic, happy, a good girl who is also an impulsive shopper who falls in love with shiny objects. She has this childlike lust for new things. Becky is so warm, loveable and deeply flawed, and she has tapped into the collective consumer consciousness.”

Fisher admits that she can relate to her character's enthusiasm for shopping. "I'm a bags and shoe girl,” she says. "I have so many shoes, it's terrifying.”

The filmmakers cast British actor Hugh Dancy in the role of Luke Brandon, the workaholic editor of the magazine where Rebecca lands a job as a financial columnist.

"Hugh Dancy is someone we've worked with in the past,” says Bruckheimer. "He played Schmid, the medic, in ‘Black Hawk Down,' and then Galahad in ‘King Arthur.' I think he's a wonderful young actor, extremely handsome, very charming, and I think somebody who is going to be a major movie star.”

Adds P.J. Hogan, "Hugh is ice to Isla's fire. They're both what the other needs, and they were a perfect match. Hugh had to be just what he was in the books, a Brit. Hugh has that edge that the Luke Brandon in the books has. Luke grounds Becky and she breathes life into him— he was totally committed to his career and was just letting life pass him by.”

"On the surface, Luke appears to be the polar opposite of everything that Becky is attracted to,” says Dancy. "He's utterly disinterested in clothes and shopping, and he's in love with the world of finance, which she clearly has a bit of a problem with. But like all good matches, these initial differences end up being the very thing that draws the two characters together.”

"Hugh is so much fun,” says Fisher. "He's down to earth, and has that typical British sensibility, very witty, dry and smart. I think he brought all those qualities to Luke, and the relationship between he and Rebecca is very sweet.”

Cast as Graham and Jane Bloomwood, Becky's loving if slightly eccentric parents, were John Goodman and Joan Cusack, two of America's most prolific actors. Unlike their daughter, Graham and Jane are thrifty and proud of it.

Says Cusack, "There's a great fun in shopping, clothes and commercialism, but the passion turns out differently if you become controlled by it, as Becky does.” Goodman credits his character for some of Rebecca's flaws. "Graham is a ‘good old lunch pail Joe,'<

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