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GOING THE DISTANCE

About The Production
ALL THE RIGHT MOVES

A raucous and romantic comedy with both heart and heat, "Going the Distance” tells the story of what can happen when a beer-and-barbecued wingsfueled one-night stand accidentally turns into something more.

When Erin and Garrett hook up, their intentions are to have a few fun and frisky weeks before she heads back to grad school in San Francisco and he stays in New York City. But when Erin's about to board a plane for home, they both realize they have developed deeper feelings for one another, and they don't want whatever it is they have together to end. So, they decide to give the "long distance thing” a go.

The film stars Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as the cross-country couple whose booty calls actually take place over the phone. Barrymore reveals, "I liked this story because it had a lot of humor and it was sexy, but it was also surprisingly emotional. I couldn't stop thinking about these characters and I really cared about why or how they were or weren't able to work out their issues. Any story that deals with the complexities of a relationship in a very comical and contemporary way totally interests me.”

"I'd been reading a lot of romantic comedies,” Long recalls, "and this one really stood out for me in the sense that it was much more raw and realistic, and very funny, too. It didn't hold back at all.”

"Coming from documentaries, where I capture real life, I wanted to direct a movie that would feel as real as possible—people do swear, and they say what's on their mind,” says director Nanette Burstein. "It was such a fresh story and the premise was so natural. I really responded to the material and I felt that a lot of people would relate to it.”

Producer Adam Shankman agrees. "It's a pretty honest look at the perils of the long distance relationship, which can be really hard no matter how much the people involved adore each other.”

Shankman and his producing partner, Jennifer Gibgot, also found the realistic, mature nature of the comedy refreshing. "It was very exciting to both Jennifer and me because we hadn't ventured into that territory, and the truth of the matter is, my sense of humor leans a bit toward the subversive,” Shankman offers.

"There's a tremendous amount of freedom when you're shooting a scene, whether it's a love scene, a fight scene, whatever, if the characters can talk the way that people really talk,” Gibgot states.

The screenplay was penned by first-time feature writer Geoff LaTulippe, who didn't have to look far for inspiration. "The idea for the story actually came—and this would be shocking to a lot of people—from a night of drinking,” he deadpans. He and executive producer Dave Neustadter were kicking around ideas when Neustadter mentioned that he had just gotten out of a long distance relationship.

"Dave had a bunch of stories about what he'd gone through, and neither of us could remember the subject being the focus of a movie before, certainly not a comedy. We thought it was full of comedic set ups and could actually bear out some really heartfelt stuff, too, but with an edge. Real life has an edge to it.”

The writer had no problem pushing the boundaries when it came to the scenarios and the dialogue. In addition to his romance, Garrett has a bromance going on with the other significant others in his life, best friends Box and Dan, played by rising comedy stars Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day. LaTulippe put these characters in a few unexpected, if utterly real, situations.

"It's not the `50s anymore, we're not afraid to see women's knees and hear Fbombs, and it seemed like anything that was funny was fair game in the script,” Day smiles.

"There was a script? I didn't read a script,” kids Sudeikis.

"The world is populated by people with a sardonic perspective, and Geoff is definitely one of them,” Shankman offers. "The story was not overly earnest, because it has characters who have that sense of irony, who know they're living in the real world and doing what real people do to try to stay together in what's not the best of circumstances. That includes maintaining their sense of humor.”

Producer Garrett Grant contends, "With today's economic environment making it even harder on young people who aren't established in their careers, it's a struggle to make things work when you don't have as many choices. Not having the luxury of working wherever you want or the money to travel back-and-forth very often is tough, so this really hits home.”

A FEW GOOD MEN

On-screen chemistry is arguably never more important in film than in a romantic comedy, but if the filmmakers were going to push the comedy envelope, good chemistry between all of the cast members would be critical, especially since Burstein planned to encourage improvisation on the set.

"I really wanted to loosen things up and let it feel as real as possible, so I knew we'd have to cast actors that are not only tremendously talented but also funny in their own right,” the director says.

"All the stars literally aligned for us,” says Grant of the top-notch cast they assembled, including rom-com veteran Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate and comedic actors Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day.

Gibgot notes, "Because Erin and Garrett spend so much time apart, the friends and family are really important characters and we wanted to surround Drew and Justin with an amazing supporting cast, with everybody bringing something funny to the table.”

The role of aspiring journalist Erin required Barrymore to be both tough and vulnerable, with a smartass sense of humor. "Drew has often played an America's sweetheart type of character, but Erin is strong-willed, she curses, she speaks her mind freely and is really on equal footing with the guys. Drew played it without losing any of her charm,” Burstein states.

"Erin is a very strong girl; she can go to bars and win at video games and hang with the boys,” Barrymore offers. "But she put a relationship ahead of her dreams before and resented it, so she's not going to do it again. I really liked playing someone with a sharp tongue and wit and honesty. I loved her bravado.”

"Being an educated woman of around 30, still interning in a shrinking job market, there's a lot of competition and that's frustrating,” Shankman says. "So, like a lot of young professionals, Erin goes out after work to blow off steam. "She plays as hard as she works,” the producer adds. "I think Drew felt that was a refreshing change of pace and she was fantastic in the role.”

On the receiving end of Erin's affections is Garrett, an A&R scout who's passionate about cool, indie music, but who's being forced to handle much more commercial bands at the label where he works. He's also something of a selfsaboteur when it comes to serious relationships. The role is played by Long, whom Shankman describes as "a kind of ‘every man' who guys can relate to and girls really like.”

"Garrett's kind of stuck in a rut, both professionally and personally,” Long asserts. "He's a low-level executive trying to gain a foothold in an industry that, in his opinion, has kind of sold out. And he's just been dumped by a girl he's been seeing for a few months because, once again, he couldn't go to the next level. Then he meets this girl, this crazy, pixie-ish, slightly badass girl who is cute and makes him laugh, and he's very intrigued—and, spoiler alert: they get together.”

"To me, both Erin and Garrett are really honest, flawed characters,” Shank

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