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I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT

About The Production
The debut novel of Welsh-born journalist Allison Pearson, I Don't Know How She Does It is a diary-like account of the long days and sleep-deprived nights of a London wife, mother and investment manager named Kate Reddy. Written in a wry, self-aware and disarmingly honest first-person voice, Pearson's book pulled back the curtain on the juggling act known as "having it all” and struck an immediate chord with readers when it was published in the U.S. by Alfred A. Knopf in 2002. It spent 23 weeks on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and to date has sold nearly four million copies worldwide. Oprah Winfrey dubbed it "the national anthem of working mothers,” and it was as well-received critically as it was commercially. "Here, at last, is the definitive social comedy of working motherhood,” wrote Marjorie Williams of The Washington Post, while novelist Claire Dederer in her review for Amazon.com said, "Kate is wildly appealing, and we want things to work out for her. In the end, the book isn't just a collection of clever lines on the theme of working motherhood; it's a real, rich novel about a character we come to cherish.”

While certain particulars of Kate Reddy's daily existence were inherently female, her story spoke to both genders. In fact, I Don't Know How She Does It developed such a wide readership among men, a design change for the cover was eventually deemed in order. "Initially,” says novelist Pearson, "men were very reluctant to read the book, mainly because it had a very bright pink cover. Eventually the publisher brought out a version in blue so men didn't have to hide the book behind their newspapers or magazines in shame on the train.”

The team of filmmakers behind I DON‟T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT felt Kate Reddy‟s story would be as welcome and refreshing onscreen as on the page. Academy Award®-winning producer Donna Gigliotti (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) points to the continuing relevance of the source material. "If anything, life for the Kate Reddys of the world has only gotten more complicated,” says Gigliotti. "To me, Allison's novel is in the classic tradition of the social comedy – a story about the way we live now. I wanted to see these situations, and these characters, onscreen.”

Aline Brosh McKenna, the BAFTA-nominated screenwriter of THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, was already a fan of the novel when she was approached to write the screen adaptation. The story's setting was changed to Boston from London, but the essential framework of the novel remained the same. "I Don't Know How She Does It was a real favorite of mine, so when I got the opportunity to adapt it I jumped at the chance,” says McKenna, who also served as executive producer on the film. "In my mind, I Don't Know How She Does It is the definitive depiction of the highs and the lows of trying to be a parent and also maintain a career. It was written in such a specific, funny voice. One of the reasons that there is voice-over in the movie was because I wanted to make sure that we preserved as much as possible of Allison's distinctive, hilarious take on what it really feels like to be torn in a million directions at the same time.”

Pearson, who served as a co-producer, found McKenna's take on the story and its themes to be entirely compatible with her own. "Seeing Aline's insight into the book, I really felt in very good hands,” Pearson affirms. "She has a very similar comic sensibility, and it was interesting to see someone else's imagination take on the material.”

McKenna showed the completed screenplay to director Douglas McGrath, a friend who has written the screenplays for all his films, beginning with his acclaimed 1996 debut, EMMA. "I was completely captivated,” declares McGrath. "I've never directed a script before that wasn't mine, but there‟s something really wonderful about Allison's novel and Aline's script that makes you connect directly to the working parents in the story. I had never seen a script that so completely captured what working parents have to deal with in the charming, funny, and also touching way that Aline's script did. I thought, "I'd like to direct this.‟”

McGrath's interest in directing was as welcome as it was unexpected, recalls McKenna. "I was thrilled -- Doug was the ideal person to bring the book to life. There's a kind of sparkle that Doug brings to a movie, which was perfect for I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT because he could capture everything that Kate's dealing with – the stresses, the juggling – but also give the viewer the fun and excitement of smart people saying funny things. Smart people saying funny things: that's Doug McGrath's world.”

I DON‟T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT reunites McGrath with Gigliotti and Harvey and Bob Weinstein, all of whom were executive producers of EMMA, a production at the Weinsteins' previous company, Miramax. I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT also became Gigliotti's first production in her new post as President of Production at The Weinstein Company. Says Gigliotti, "Harvey, Bob and I were thrilled when Doug said he wanted to direct I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT. We knew from EMMA that Doug has a deft touch with comedies about relations between the sexes, and we also knew that he was an absolute joy to work with.”

The filmmakers were delighted when Sarah Jessica Parker signed on to play Kate Reddy. "Sarah Jessica is immediately sympathetic onscreen, and she makes comedy look easy, which of course it's not,” comments McGrath. As a mother, Parker could draw on her own life experience in creating her character. "Sarah Jessica works hard as a mother, and she works hard as an actress, and she works hard in all her other activities. She understood everything that Kate goes through in the film and she could approach the character with respect while also playing the humor in various situations. ”

Parker responded strongly to the film's depiction of Kate's circumstances and perspective. "I loved the screenplay -- it was funny but also very honest about the complexities of wanting to have it all,” the actress affirms. "I think the things that Kate wants for herself -- to be a great mother; a loving, respectful and supportive spouse; and a success as a working person – are not uncommon. Kate's at a point where her work is very intriguing and fulfilling for her. She has enormous guilt about leaving her family in order to pursue her career, but obviously the work plays a really important part in her life. The themes in the movie are very relatable, in a very natural way.”

As the story begins, Kate is the Reddy family's primary breadwinner. Her architect husband, Richard, played by Greg Kinnear, has left a Boston firm to start his own company and is struggling to gain a toehold in a competitive marketplace. Both spouses are at a pivotal moment in their careers: Kate's proposal for a new fund is up for review at her investment firm's New York headquarters, while Richard is in the running for a prominent design project. When both win their respective assignments, the opportunities are too good for either to walk away.

Comments Kinnear, "Richard's running to the finish line as fast as he can while at the same time being a husband, and at the same time being a dad, and trying to balance things himself,” says Kinnear. "I think the unspoken negotiation between Kate and Richard has been if he gets this opportunity for his architecture business, that she's going to pick up the slack at home. But it doesn't work out quite so smoothly.”

Kate's career br

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