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THE BACK-UP PLAN

Alan Poul: A Director With A Plan
"When I read the script, I laughed out loud all the way through which doesn't happen often,” recalls Poul. "And then I cried at the end. I thought to myself ‘if I can bring even just 75 percent of that experience to the screen, it's going to be a very satisfying movie.'”

Poul appreciated the script's reflection that society has turned the traditional ‘courtship, love, marriage, parenthood' sequence of events on its head in recent years. He was also thrilled that Lopez was going to play Zoe (she was already attached to the project when Poul received the script). With a great script and the perfect actress in the lead, he signed on.

"Alan was a gift from the gods,” compliments Black. "He's one of the best directors I've worked with. He told us the movie he wanted to create in the very first meeting and he's been consistent in his vision from day one.”

That vision was to create a modern romantic comedy. To that end, Poul looked for every opportunity to elevate what he refers to as the material's "cutting edge contemporary comedic voice.”

Poul is quick to mention that Angelo's script also has a nice balance of classic romantic comedy elements from which he pulled. Perhaps the most notable is the energy of Zoe and Stan which Poul likens to the famous team of Hepburn and Tracy, whose witty banter and on-camera electricity made the genre iconic. Says Poul, "From the moment Zoe and Stan's worlds collide upon hailing the same cab, it's a classic romantic comedy.”

Though Poul found Zoe and Stan's relationship to be "hilariously funny and genuinely romantic,” he also looked beyond the two leads for entertainment value.

"He looks for comedy in the background and on the sides, wherever the camera is,” says Black. "He's always looking beyond the main actors for how he can make people smile watching the whole frame of the movie.”

Lopez prides herself on doing her homework before every shoot day. She always strives to be aware of each scene's whole picture, including the beats within the beats, in order to stretch the comedy further. Poul makes a habit of doing the same. Together they were able to mine every scene to the maximum extent. Lopez enjoyed collaborating with the director. "Alan had ideas for each scene I would not have thought of, and vice versa,” says Lopez. "Working together allowed us to maximize the value of the material.”

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