ISN'T SHE GREAT
About the Production
On August 14, 1995, the New
Yorker Magazine ran an article by Michael Korda entitled "Wasn't She
Great," an homage to the legacy that is Jacqueline Susann. It was Jackie's
adoring husband Irving who frequently looked at his wife and said, "Isn't
she great!" which was never phrased as a question, who inspired the title.
Through Korda's eyes, for the first time Susann appeared bigger than life, more
impassioned, funnier, and more resolute than any of the characters in her books.
She followed Valley of The Dolls with The Love Machine and Once
is Not Enough, making her the most controversial and successful novelist of
her generation, but her ebullient public personality cast a long shadow, and
effectively masked her personal tragedies and precarious health.
Korda, one of two editors assigned by Simon & Schuster to edit Jackie's
second novel, found her to be one of a kind, and then some. And Andrew Bergman
and Mike Lobell couldn't have agreed more.
While on production in Florida for
Striptease, director Bergman and
producer Lobell read Korda's piece in the New Yorker, and soon after, the
duo who together have brought such comedy hits as Honeymoon In Vegas, It
Could Happen To You and The Freshman to the screen, received a call
from their agent, asking if they were interested.
Although Bergman is considered one of the funniest writers in the film business
in addition to his success as a director, his hands were full at the time, and
knew he would not be available to adapt the New Yorker piece. However, he
knew he had found a project to direct.
Bergman says, "There was real heart to the story, the idea of driving
yourself despite numerous obstacles to make something better is really very
touching to me."
At that point, Bergman and Lobell called screenwriter Paul Rudnick, who read
it and very quickly agreed that it was a great idea for a movie.
Lobell says, "We thought Paul Rudnick had the perfect sensibility to do
something that was both funny and poignant. Jackie was sort of an outrageous
character, and he just responded to the material the way we did."
And Rudnick, whose career as
a screenwriter includes Addams Family Values and In & Out,
delivered the goods.
Together, Jackie's story, as seen through the eyes of Rudnick's wicked wit
and refracted through the unique and inventive comedic gifts of director
Bergman, would finally be told.
From there, Lobell, Bergman and Rudnick decided to loosen up the story a bit
to make room for the film they all wanted to make.
Says Lobell, "I don't think we've veered away from the actual facts of
Jackie's life, as much as we wanted to make the movie funny."
Susann herself wasn't particularly funny, and even though her relationship
with Mansfield was somewhat unconventional, they were devoted to each other, so,
as Lobell says, "we decided to focus on the love story and embellish the
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