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Creating the Rules: Georgia is born

2007-10-05 15:09

The co-writer of James Brooks' As Good as It Gets, Andrus grew up in a Mormon family, and he hoped to realistically portray that world of deep spiritual devotion, hard work and close family… and the humor that comes from the interplay. Georgia Rule was that story.

Morgan Creek CEO and one of the film's producers, James G Robinson, was interested in developing a project that wasn't cookie cutter in its approach; he responded to the dynamics among the strong personalities of Andrus' screenplay.

"Anyone who's been married or raised daughters understands what goes on between these women, particularly if the girl is a teenager. I thought it would be a lot of fun to produce this, and everything fell into place. Mark wrote a great script. We had Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman and Lindsay Lohan to star, and Garry Marshall to direct. All three bases were covered: good story, good director, good cast."

Garry Marshall recalls that he was curious to work on a movie that explored forgiveness and "trusting what your child says". Marshall says: "Usually, I do comedy/drama. Georgia Rule is drama/comedy, so it was a new switch for me." His interest in the material was not selfless, however. As he admits: "It's nice to work with beautiful women who can act and have talent."

Marshall says that he has always felt a knack at eliciting solid performances from actors of a younger generation, and he felt this project would be no exception. "From Julia who was 22 in Pretty Woman to Anne who was 18 in Princess Diaries – and here's Lindsay, 20, right in the middle of my picture – I seem to understand them."

The story arc of the main protagonist, Rachel Wilcox, intrigued the director. Andrus had written a hot-headed wild child who was out of control in her San Francisco home. Her disruptions had finally led her mother to drag her kicking and screaming to a tiny, boring town in Idaho for some much needed grandmotherly discipline. Marshall liked the fact that this 18-year-old granddaughter would test everyone.

"Rachel goes to this small town in Idaho called Hull," the director notes. "I made up the town name, because Hull rhymes with dull, and that's what she's looking forward to in this place."

Fictional town, shooting script and financing in place, it was time to cast three women who could give performances that would draw laughs and tears from the audience. Enter Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan and Felicity Huffman.
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