About The Characters
Julia Roberts was thrilled to play this character. The actress, whose films have grossed more than $2 billion world wide, had one of her biggest years in 1999. Roberts starred opposite Hugh Grant in Universal's box office hit Notting Hill and opposite her Pretty Woman co-star Richard Gere in The Runaway
Bride, directed by Garry Marshall. Some of her other film credits include Stepmom,
My Best Friend's Wedding, Conspiracy Theory, The Pelican Brief Hook, Sleeping With the Enemy and Steel Magnolias.
Sher, who along with Shamberg had worked closely with Steven Soderbergh during Out of Sight, felt that he might be interested in directing this film because, "Steven likes a good story and he loves stories where what the world sees and what the character sees are two different things. This story is about an extraordinary woman who the world sees one way and who is really not at all as she appears.
Soderbergh. whose first feature, sex, lies, and videotape won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and earned him international acclaim, has also directed Kafka, King of the Hill. The
Underneath, Schizopolis. Gray's Anatomy and Out of Sight, which
Premiere Magazine lists as the third best-reviewed film of
1998. Recently. his crime drama, The Limey, starring
Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda was released.
According to Sher, "This story is so dramatic and funny and big on it's own, that we knew we wanted someone who would keep it grounded and real. There is never anything sentimental or overblown and glossy about Steven's work. We felt that he would take this story. which is a classic one and keep it
The attraction for Soderbergh was simply that, "the screen play was very linear. It was performance-driven and had a female protagonist who was in every scene in the film. I had never done a film like that before and it really appealed to me."
He continues, "Erin's story was very compelling. I hadn't known anything about the case, but Jersey had been trying to get me to read the script for a year. Then, as is invariably the case, as I was
finishing The Limey, I was looking for something
completely different to do."
"When I came on board, I felt that part of my job was to become as familiar as I could with all of the facts in
regards to the case and make sure that there wasn't anything in our script that was unnecessarily provocative or created solely for dramatic
effect," says Soderbergh. "Basically, I was going through the movie and accentuating the things that I was drawn to. I asked questions about everything. I wanted to know what had really happened, what was the reality in the story."
The events depicted in Susannah Grant's screenplay are
accurate in terms of what really happened. and while the characters of Erin, Ed and George are real people. other characters in the film are fictitious or
amalgamations of real people in Erin's life. In addition, Soderbergh and Grant made a conscious decision to avoid courtroom scenes, opting to instead focus on the step-by-step process by which Erin and Ed went through the case.
"This is not really a movie about a lawsuit," Soderbergh continues. "It's about a person who cannot seem to reconcile how she views herself with how others view her."
"Erin is very bright and very quick but she also has a tendency to be very confrontational. She is
confrontational in two ways: the way she dresses, which is very provocative and
eye-catching, almost audible it's so loud, and in her language. She has a tendency to be very colorful in the way that she expresses herself, very direct. People respond to it in a way that is interesting," he says.
Once Soderbergh agreed to direct the film, he visited Julia Roberts so they could discuss the story poi
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