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MONTE CARLO

About The Production
The packaged Paris tour that Grace diligently booked begins with dampened expectations, and soon hits rock bottom. But a change is about to blow through in the unlikely form of spoiled British socialite Cordelia Winthrop Scott. After watching Cordelia throw a small tantrum in a grand hotel, where they've ducked in out of the rain, the girls are stunned to notice that Grace is a dead ringer for the bratty heiress. With some encouragement (make that insistence) from Emma, Grace decides to attempt to pull off a brazen masquerade. Her spot-on impersonation of Cordelia lands them in Monte Carlo, where ensconced in the luxurious Hotel de Paris, the girls start living large. Really large. Monte Carlo large.

It has long been a rite of passage for countless young Americans to celebrate graduation (or almost graduation, in Emma's case) with a trip to Europe. The grand architecture, sophisticated culture and rich history serve as a virtual finishing school for young people preparing to step into the larger shoes of adulthood. Add to that the allure of romance and glorious adventure and, well, start packing your bags!

For Grace Bennett (Gomez), who always feels like a bit of a square peg in a round hole, Europe represents an opportunity to find all of the above – and herself as well. "Grace is a down-to-earth girl who loves her mother and friends, but at the same time, she's always felt that her destiny lies beyond her small Texas town,” says Selena Gomez. "She wants the promise of something bigger and better, and places a lot of hope, probably too much, that a trip to Europe will open doors to her life.”

Grace's friend Emma, meanwhile, has a devoted boyfriend Owen (Monteith), who's keen to marry and settle down to a quiet life. Emma loves the simple, kind-hearted and decent Owen, but is curious if perhaps a dash of exotic European romance may be more to her taste. There are a lot of fish in the sea – why settle for the first one on the hook? "Emma sees her trip with Grace as a fairy tale – they'll go to Paris, meet handsome gentlemen, and have amazing experiences,” describes Katie Cassidy. "Emma is the one always pushing things forward, eager to take chances and bend the rules.”

Both girls see the presence of Meg (Meester) as an unwelcome intrusion – a fly in their sparkling glass of bubbly. Simply put, she's never been known as the life of the party. "Meg recently lost her mother, and is still a bit traumatized over it. She's somewhat excited to visit France, but not under these circumstances, and certainly not with these two girls,” explains Leighton Meester. "A bit closed off emotionally, she sees herself as being much more learned and mature than Grace and Emma.” Adds Selena: "Meg is very close to her father, and doesn't want him to remarry. So she resents Grace's mother, which means she resents Grace. Meg and Grace definitely butt heads in the beginning. But as the story unfolds there's a wonderful arc between the two of them.”

With Meg in tow, the packaged Paris tour that Grace diligently booked begins with dampened expectations, and soon hits rock bottom. A cramped and dingy hotel room, drill sergeant tour guide and lousy weather prompt Meg to compare the trip to a particular part of their anatomy. Grace, feeling even more like a misfit than she did in Texas, dejectedly confesses, "I'm sorry I ever thought that things would be different for me in Paris.”

But an opportunistic wind of change is about to blow through in the unlikely form of spoiled British socialite Cordelia Winthrop Scott. After watching Cordelia throw a small tantrum in a grand hotel, where they've ducked in out of the rain, the girls are stunned to notice that Grace is a dead ringer for the bratty heiress. With some encouragement (make that insistence) from Emma, Grace decides to attempt to pull off a brazen masquerade. Her spot-on impersonation of Cordelia lands them in Monte Carlo, where ensconced in the luxurious Hotel de Paris, the girls start living large. Really large. Monte Carlo large.

"This story is set up as a bit of a Wizard of Oz fable,” explains director and co-screenwriter Thomas Bezucha. "The girls are from a remote landlocked place, as was Dorothy Gale, and they journey to Monte Carlo, which is Emerald City. We're doing a storybook version of France – it looks like a giant Easter basket, colorful and coated with sugar.”

Noting that the film has overtones of How to Marry a Millionaire and Roman Holiday, producer Denise Di Novi states, "Paris is such a romantic city, idealized by many young American women. For Grace, Emma and Meg, the Paris of their dreams isn't panning out. It's not unusual for a young person's idealized expectations in life – be it for travel, dating or jobs – to be unmet by reality. However, our girls have a chance to change their luck, and they take it. All the way to the south of France.

"This is one of those hard-to-find movies about young women that has both the fun & fancy of a big frothy comedy and also a satisfying emotional journey and transformation for the characters,” adds Di Novi. "Each girl is going through personal challenges that are very relatable to an audience.”

The first challenge for Grace, Emma and Meg is buying enough time to go through the socialite's remarkable wardrobe. Indeed, Cordelia routinely travels with tens of thousands of dollars worth of couture clothing (Dior, da la Renta, Gucci, et al), and it all falls, at least temporarily, in the hands of the three gals from Texas.

"I think it's most every girl's fantasy to wear spectacular clothing and feel like a princess, and that's what our characters get to do in this movie,” says Katie Cassidy. "Emma reads Vogue and In Style and considers herself a bit of a fashion plate. She takes it upon herself to get Grace and Meg ready for the formal occasions, like the ball and the charity auction.”

The newly formed princesses meet their respective Prince Charmings in a variety of ways and locales. Emma is introduced to a ridiculously handsome and real Italian prince, Domenico (Giulio Berruti), at an auction. Meg stumbles, literally, into an Australian backpacker named Riley (Luke Bracey) on the steps of Paris' Sacre Coeur. Grace, meanwhile, finds herself attracted to the adorable but impatient Theo (Pierre Boulanger), whose wealthy father (Christophe Malavoy) is hosting the gala charity auction in Monte Carlo that ‘Cordelia' is attending. "Grace has feelings for Theo, but he knows her only as Cordelia, so she's totally insecure about how he would react to her real identity,” explains Gomez. "Theo is so suave and sophisticated, there is no way he would be interested in a small-town Texas gal.”

Little does she know that Theo actually disdains the type of snotty, upper crust brat that Cordelia personifies. "This story is a comical look at a clash of cultures,” says Pierre Boulanger. "Despite his own status, Theo doesn't care for fancy people, and initially makes a negative snap judgment about Cordelia. However, he is surprised to learn she is not the girl he expected – and that's because Grace's kindness and simplicity is seeping through her impersonation of someone else.”

Says director Tom Bezucha: "Each girl has a romance, but it isn't about the guys, it's about how the girls see themselves in relationship to the guys. They aren't wondering, ‘Does he like me?' but rather, ‘Do I like myself when I'm with him?'”

Even as Grace, Emma and Meg relish taking enormous bites out of the French upper crust, looming over their fun is the very strong likelihood that the deception could be uncovered at any moment. That possibility becomes ever more likely

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