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Casting The Film
"The two hardest things in making a movie are getting the script right and casting it right,” says Marc Lawrence. 

With that in mind, Lawrence turned to Hugh Grant, who had starred for the writer-director in Music and Lyrics and Two Weeks Notice. "Of course, I wrote it for Hugh,” says Lawrence. "We'd worked together so often that it was natural to mention the idea to him, and he liked the idea. But there was no formal agreement. I write the script and if he likes it he'll think about doing it, and if he doesn't he doesn't.”

"I think Marc is a real comic genius and will be regarded as such in the years to come. And I think this is his best script, so I couldn't resist it,” says Grant. "There are a lot of romantic comedies but very few of them are actually funny. Marc really does write funny dialogue.” 

For Grant, having the writer as the director is always a selling point on a project, as he believes it makes for a better film. "The fewer authorial voices behind a film the better,” Grant continues. "What you dread are the ones that are done by a team of writers, and then there's a hired director, and a hired producer, and then the studio will have their say…and then you're in hell.”

Just as important as it was to have Grant play Paul, Lawrence needed to cast a formidable leading lady to play Meryl. Grant describes Meryl's character as "a force of nature. She's in a long line of female characters that Marc's written…they tend to be New York, high-achieving, neurotic, clever, funny, comic women. I think they're fantasy women for Marc, in a way, and they're not hard for anyone to fall in love with, least of all, Paul.”

"At heart, Meryl is an incurable romantic,” says Lawrence. "She's very idealistic about love. She's outgoing and charming and gregarious, but a certain innocent part of her has been robbed by her experience, his infidelity.”

Who but Sarah Jessica Parker could perfectly embody this chic Manhattanite archetype, both on and off screen? "She's so identifiably New York, high energy and gregarious, and she would feel really out of place in Wyoming,” says Lawrence. "It just became clearer and clearer that S.J., as I call her, would be the absolutely perfect person.”

Parker was just as excited for the opportunity to work with Lawrence. "He had such a spotless reputation, and everybody that I could find to talk about him with just loved him. I knew I wanted to work with him and I really liked the idea of the story.” 

The way Lawrence had written Meryl appealed to Parker, as well as how he directed her. "I really liked how funny the character was on paper, and I liked where their relationship started and certainly where it ends up,” says Parker. "Marc is a great, great director for me. He's just very insightful about what each actor needs and how to get the best from people and how to make them feel comfortable.”

Of course, Parker had other incentives as well. "Most importantly, I had really dreamed, like many other people, women in particular, for a long time about doing a romantic comedy with Hugh Grant.” 

As it would turn out, she and Grant would become quite the complicit co-stars. They had been in a movie together a long time ago (Extreme Measures in 1996) and had little recollection of it. "In my head I think I feel like this is the first time I've really worked with Hugh Grant, but we had met years and years ago,” says Parker. "When I knew I was going to do this movie, I was actually traveling to London for work and so I asked Marc, ‘Should I call Hugh when I'm there?'”

"This is how it often happens in Hollywood,” says Lawrence. "They've both read the script, they both like the script, and before they commit, they have the big dinner to make sure neither of them wants to stab the other. So I'm

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