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ONE FOR THE MONEY

About The Production
"Stephanie Plum is a woman who moves through the drama of her life with all the grace of an 'I Love Lucy' episode," laughs best-selling author Janet Evanovich. "She destroys every car she owns. Her hair frizzes up in Jersey humidity. She can't cook. She's not going to stop a speeding train like Superman or catch a bullet in her teeth. But she's the woman we all want to be."

Since her first appearance in the 1994 bestseller, One For The Money, Evanovich's beloved New Jersey girl-turned-bond recovery agent has solved crimes and nabbed felons over the course of eighteen global bestsellers, the latest of which, Explosive Eighteen, hit bookshelves this November. As a recovery agent, Stephanie's record is stellar; but she's won the hearts of readers everywhere more for her genial humanity than her investigative prowess. "She's heroic in small ways," offers Evanovich. "She puts one foot in front of the other and at the end of the day, she's proud of what she's accomplished."

Back in 1994, Evanovich could never have anticipated that Stephanie Plum would garner her a worldwide following and firmly establish her as a leading writer of crime fiction. Neither could she have believed that after seventeen years of interest from Hollywood, she would actually be watching film and television star Katherine Heigl bring Stephanie Plum to life. "Seeing One For The Money made into a movie after all these years is...it's terrifying," admits the author. "It's also exciting, it's wonderful; it's amazing. I absolutely love the movie. "

Known for her charismatic work on television's "Grey's Anatomy" and the $200 million dollar box office hit The Ugly Truth, 27 Dresses ($160M worldwide) and Knocked Up ($219M worldwide), Katherine Heigl eagerly embraced the opportunity to create Stephanie Plum onscreen. "For me, it's always been about the story and it's always been about whether or not I liked the character, and that limits me," admits the star. "But Stephanie Plum is so much fun and has so much life in her. I fell in love with her."

Over sixteen years ago, before it hit bookstores and the bestseller list, One For The Money caught the attention of producer Wendy Finerman. "When I first read the galleys, I thought Stephanie Plum was the most relatable, enjoyable character anyone could connect with," Finerman recalls. "She's a little bit of an every-woman. She's outspoken and she's brash and fun. And she's hit a sticky point where things haven't worked out like she planned. She's back in her hometown, trying to sort out her life."

Finerman spent years developing a screen adaptation, working with different writers on several variations of the story. At one point, a Stephanie Plum television series was seriously considered. But Finerman still felt the adaptations hadn't effectively captured the tone of Evanovich's sharp dialogue and her skillful mix of suspense and character-based comedy. "Janet does an amazing job combining humor and drama," she explains. "That's a very hard thing to capture on film. She's so detailed in her writing, so it's difficult to capture the world she creates and the sassiness she gives to Stephanie."

Eventually the project found its way to Lakeshore Entertainment, where Finerman partnered with producers Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi. "I was introduced to the material by my wife," Lucchesi recalls. "Every year she'd bring home another Janet Evanovich book and at a certain point there were twelve of them on the shelves and I turned to her one day and I said, 'What is it with these books?' she said, 'They're fantastic books.' So I read the first three and I thought they were great. It happened to be at that time we were making The Ugly Truth for Sony Pictures and had discovered that Sony held the rights to this material."

Like Finerman, Lucchesi and Rosenberg knew that effectively translating Evanovich's sparkling tone to film was crucial to the project's success.

"I was attracted to the fact that Stephanie Plum is a working class hero," says Rosenberg, "and I thought it was the right time to deliver that to audiences. Stephanie isn't a doctor or a lawyer. She's very relatable and we thought that honesty and vulnerability would make her a character moviegoers could get behind."

But finding the right screenwriter proved difficult. Lucchesi explains, "It wasn't until Liz Brixius, who's the show runner on 'Nurse Jackie,' became involved that we found a writer who could completely capture the voice of the material." "Liz brought not only her experience as a successful screenwriter and filmmaker to the project," observes Rosenberg, "but also her love for the books and for Stephanie herself. She was terrific at guiding the journey of the character from the page to the screen."

For Brixius, adapting One For The Money for the screen wasn't just any job offer. "The whole thing started for me about 10 years ago when my sister gave me a paperback to read on the plane ride home from L.A. to Minneapolis," Brixius recounts. "I read One For The Money and fell in love with it. I read the second one. Read the third one. My sister's read all of them. Then I got a phone call on the set of 'Nurse Jackie' from my manager saying, 'Lakeshore wants you to read One For The Money. I'm like, 'I already read One For The Money. I know One For The Money. I love One For The Money!'

Moments after she got the job, Brixius felt the immensity of the responsibility she had enthusiastically taken on. "This comes out of Janet Evanovich's brain," she explains, "and it's beloved by millions and millions of people and you just want to do it justice."

Meanwhile, Lucchesi and Rosenberg had become friendly with Katherine Heigl on the set of The Ugly Truth and thought Stephanie Plum would be an appealing change of pace for the actress. Lucchesi explains, "Katherine's a very interesting actress and extraordinarily talented. We wanted to see her play a slightly more adult character that was a little tougher, a little bit out for the norm. She responded to that challenge."

Continues Rosenberg, "Katie's talent lies in her versatility. She is capable of comedy, romance, drama, all of which are present in the script for One For The Money. In this film she really is Stephanie Plum, she's not Katherine Heigl."

Not only did Heigl have to transform herself into someone radically different, she also had the opinions of millions of fans with which to contend. "Katie has a heavy burden because of the fan base," continues Rosenberg. "Everyone has their idea of what Stephanie Plum should be. Katie had to make it her own while still delivering what the fans expected. There really aren't too many people who could pull that off."

"This project has been my little mountain to climb this year," says Heigl. "It's been really, really satisfying on a million levels to get to be a part of it and to make the trek up the mountain and get to see the view."

Having seen Heigl's performance in the film, Evanovich can't imagine another actress in the role. "Katherine Heigl is so talented," she enthuses. "She's bold, she's brave. She's afr

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