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Filmmakers Find Lots to Laugh About in "The Proposal” There was one element above all others that attracted director Anne Fletcher to "THE PROPOSAL”—the comedy.

"I love comedy so much and it's always been in my fiber,” says Fletcher. "I was in improv and sketch comedy troops. Comedy makes me the happiest. After directing ‘Step Up,' my goal was to do a comedy. But you can't just jump into it. You have to prove yourself a little bit.”

Fletcher proved herself with 2008's romantic comedy "27 Dresses.” "I got to exercise my comedy a bit. And then this came along, ‘The Proposal,' and it had so much comedy in it,” says the director. "Sandra Bullock is a female comic genius. There really isn't anybody on her level. I've been completely and utterly spoiled by her professionalism, her talent, her mind, her sense of humor, her sense of being. And Ryan Reynolds is one of a kind—Jack Lemmon and Chevy Chase combined.”

Producer Todd Lieberman was drawn to the film's premise. "What I really responded to was the concept of an older woman, younger man relationship. The dynamic between the two characters is really funny,” says Lieberman. "There's a guy assistant who's been dreaming of being in publishing his whole life. He moves to New York and starts working for this hideous boss.”

Margaret Tate, a.k.a. the "hideous boss,” intrigued Fletcher. "Margaret starts off being a hard-nosed business woman who only focuses on work and wants to get to the top, and that's really the only goal that she has in life,” says the director. "When you really dig deep into this person, you realize that she's got a lot of flaws. Margaret starts out really hard, but during the course of the film, she becomes herself again.”

Writer Peter Chiarelli sees Margaret as a very competent executive. "But as a woman she's had to keep up this front of control all of the time, so that she's never seen as weak,” says Chiarelli. "It gets to her. She's sacrificed a lot to be this successful. The closest relationship she has in her life is with her assistant.

"I came up with the idea for the film from working in Hollywood with these very successful executives and their assistants,” continues Chiarelli. "They shared a kind of intimate relationship—though the bosses knew absolutely nothing about their assistants. My priority was to always go for the comedy.” So, says Chiarelli, he based the story around what would happen if one of those bosses had to actually get real. Margaret Tate is that boss. "Margaret was written the way they usually write the male roles, which are usually the juiciest,” says Sandra Bullock, who plays Margaret. "They're allowed to be complex, unattractive, crabby, difficult, fun and funny, which is not how female characters are usually written.”

Co-star Ryan Reynolds agrees: "Typically, comedies are male driven. I love it when it's the other way around. Here, Sandy's character is the oppressor.”

But Reynolds, who plays Andrew the assistant, says he enjoyed the idea of the oppressor being taken out of her comfort zone. "This woman, who is so Type A, is being taken to the wilds of Alaska with her assistant. She has spent three years with this guy but knows absolutely nothing about him, including where he's from. It's really fun when she comes to this small community and becomes as much a fish out of water as a human being can be.”

"You soon find out that the person you think is dominant really isn't— Andrew is the one in control,” says Bullock. "It even surprises Margaret. She's relied on him so heavily over the past years that without him, she can't do her job—that's why she doesn't want to let him progress in his career. The man that's capable of taming the shrew does not have to carry the big stick or speak loudly. He's the one who knows exac

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