Opening this Friday, as counter programming to “Cloverfield,” is “27 Dresses” – the new romantic comedy that stars Katherine Heigl as a career bridesmaid. The movie was written by Alice Brosh McKenna, who also wrote “The Devil Wears Prada.”
The full synopsis is a young woman (Katherine Heigl) who has made a career out of being a bridesmaid but never a bride, ends up facing her worst nightmare when her sister (Malin Akerman) becomes engaged to the man of her dreams (Ed Burns). Luckily, the wedding brings around the man (James Marsden) who will change her bridesmaid status for good.
Needless to say, when you read the synopsis you immediately think…this was tailor made for men.
Being serious… it’s an unapologetic chick flick and something that will probably do very well. I know this because my sister called asking about it. She rarely goes to the movies and she wants to see it.
Anyway, I recently got to participate in a mini press conference with Katherine Heigl & Ed Burns and the transcript is below. As always, you can also listen to the audio of the interview as an MP3 by clicking here.
Finally, if you missed the movie clips I previously posted you can watch them here.
Question: Who is the beautiful dress by?
Katherine Heigl: Oscar de la Renta. I wish I could wear it everyday for the next 2 weeks, but you would get sick of it.
Question: Screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna said that she was inspired to write this film. Her dress I guess I was a regretful bridesmaid. Have you ever known anybody getting obsessive like that?
Ed Burns: I never had the pleasure.
Question: She says that she’s getting married now.
Heigl: Yeah, that is what she told us.
Question: How is this for you? Is it anything that you imagined doing?
Heigl: It was very coincidental timing. I had been planning my wedding for a year and a half. Fox just decided to release this in January, so that’s not my fault. I thought it was interesting because both Malin [Ackerman] were planning weddings during the movie. Malin actually went off and got married, come back to work, and there was a ton of wedding talk. Definitely all the details, all the planning, and we hoped the day would turn out. It was just really funny to see Malin come back to work. She could not stop saying ‘My husband…’ Over and over, it was awesome, and it was exciting.
Question: Do you want a wedding like that, like the wedding we see at the end of this film?
Heigl: Well, I’m having a smaller wedding, it’s a Christmas wedding, and so it’s a totally different vibe. What is kind of great about it is that I kind of got to have the best of both worlds. In fantasyland I got to have the beach wedding that was beautiful, fabulous, and wonderful. Hopefully my wedding will be just as nice.
Burns: What is a Christmas wedding?
Heigl: At Christmas. [Laughs]
Question: Katherine you have been on quite a roll lately, with the show and movies taking off, did you notice yourself enter another level after the summer?
Heigl: I think that the nature of my career certainly changed drastically. It seemed to happen all at once, so it was hard to keep a perspective on it. I think it’s just been the most gratifying and gracious year of my life, personally and professionally. I can only hope that 2008 is just as wonderful, maybe in a different way, because I’m scared to hope that it would be just as awesome as this year.
Question: What does a hit movie do differently than a hit show?
Heigl: I don’t know. I think that the television show, obviously way more people actually see the television show than they do the movie, so there is suddenly a huge fan base. That is super exciting. It is always really nice that people actually watch your work and enjoys it. The movie took it a different level in my career, as far as having a film career, and being able to star in a movie. People will actually take that chance on me. Then there is the constant press coverage, the constant paparazzi, and that kind of thing. That is very different now. No one used to care if I went to Ralphs. I still don’t care.
Question: Do you have a memory of having to wear a particularly bad bridesmaid dress and what was your favorite of the ones that you had to wear in the film?
Heigl: I haven’t yet had to wear a terrible bride’s maid dress. My sister, who got married in October, was very considerate about her bridesmaid dresses. My best friend, who got married like 8 years ago, was also very considerate. No one was trying to make us look bad which was nice. My favorite of the bridesmaid dresses was, well I have a couple, but the one in particular was the ‘Gone With the Wind’ one. I felt very Scarlett O’Hara, which was fun for me. Then I don’t know, the one I didn’t like was lots, like 26 of them.
Question: Can you talk about some of the wedding you’ve been involved in?
Heigl: My sister got married in October and I was the maid of honor. That was the first time that I really had the role for real. I wished it had happened before the movie actually. I would have had a better perspective on why Jane was so insane. It’s a stressful role, because you want to make sure that you take care of everything that needs to be taken care of, so that the bride herself will have an amazing day. It’s also kind of a big honor because I adore my sister. The fact that she wanted me by her side that day was really important to me. But, it’s stressful. I wouldn’t do it twice in a day, let alone every other weekend.
Question: In which way do you combine your work as an actor and your work as a director?
Burns: I’m not sure what you mean by combine. I don’t know how I combine them, it’s sort of apples and oranges. When I show up on a set as an actor, quite honestly it’s a great relief not to have to worry about where you are going to put the camera, what color the walls are, or if that scene is in good enough shape to shoot. My career is kind of like I will direct one or two movies in a row, then I’ll tell my agents ‘Look, I want to take a year off and find me some acting work.’ so that I can just really go and have fun. I can live a life of leisure like you when you are just acting in a film.
Question: Can you talk about the scene where you are in two weddings in one night, going back and forth, and having to change so many times?
Heigl: What I love about film is that it is really exaggerated. I can’t imagine anyone ever really doing that because it’s close to impossible. There is no way she could have gotten back for both electric slides, at both weddings, it’s impossible. It was a really fun idea. I think it’s a great way to start it off, getting a very honest and real look at who Jane is, you know immediately what kind of girl she is from that moment on.
Question: Is there ever a moment or situation in your life where you could be that stoic and that selfless to not say what you really think? Where you might hold it in that long? I don’t know how she did it? Can you keep your mouth shut when you think you should sometimes? Do you just tell it like it is?
Heigl: Well, obviously I always tell it like it is.
Burns: I can actually dummy up when I need to.
Question: But the selfless thing, is that something that you feel you have ever been able to accomplish, because it’s hard?
Heigl: I think, in terms of not wanting to hurt people’s feelings, the people you really care about that maybe what they need to hear is not what they need to hear in that moment. You kind of pick and choose your moments to be brutally honest. I have never been as selfless as Jane. I think most women have been in a position of being of being a real people pleaser, at one time or another, in their lives. I kind of got over that in my early twenties. It took Jane a lot longer and in a way more dramatic way. I think that if you couch how you feel too often then you are not really being true to yourself. You don’t know yourself or what you want.
Burns: The same thing. [Laughs]
Question: This is sort of about the romance and weddings in movies. Did you have favorite weddings? In the press kit you said you had always wanted to do a film like this. Did you specifically want to do a wedding movie? Do you love wedding movies? Do you love weddings?
Heigl: I am not that kind of girl really. I haven’t been to very many weddings. I’ve only been to a total of four weddings in my whole life. One was my friend’s, who I was a bridesmaid at, but that was so long ago I barely remember it. It was also a Mormon wedding so you don’t actually get to go to the ceremony. You are just there for the reception. An ex-boyfriends brothers wedding, which I don’t really remember either. Then recently I went to Kate Walsh’s’ and my sister’s. At Kate’s wedding I was so not going to cry, it didn’t even come into my brain. I had nothing on me, no tissues or anything, and I was looking at people with their tissues like ‘Oh, you guys are lame. It’s not that dramatic.’ As soon as the music started, I started crying, she hadn’t even walked out yet and I was crying. I was sharing a corner of tissue with Keisha Chambers, Justin [Chambers] wife, trying to stop the flow. Obviously I’m a little more sentimental than I originally thought. I do love a great wedding. That was a particularly awesome and fun wedding, with a gospel choir. My sister, I mean come on, it’s my sister. It was the most glorious day, she was glorious, and perfect. I cried pretty much constantly. I wanted to do this movie, not because it was wedding themed, but because I loved the character so much. It was such an awesome opportunity to get to do some comedy as well. Not to just be the foil, the girlfriend, or the daughter, the sister. To actually play a major part in the comedy is what I love to do. That’s what I meant in that regard.
Question: I have been an actual bridesmaid three times and I’m still single.
Heigl: So you hated this movie. [Laughs]
Question: No, I related. I have to ask, did you or the character have any advice for a single woman?
Heigl: I met my fiancé when I wasn’t looking. I know that is a cliché thing to say, it doesn’t really help all that much, because what does that even mean? I had sort of given up on the idea of marriage and family. I had a relationship that ended, I was really disappointed, and I had all these high hopes. I just went screw it, I don’t need a man to [Gasps/ phone ringing] that is so rude! Who is that? [Laughs] My God, who dare? [Whispering] I’m so sorry. I don’t even know what I was going to say. I sort of had given up on the concept of it and figured I could do it on my own, if I wanted to have a family I could do it on my own. Then boom, I met this guy that I couldn’t imagine living without. I think the more you want it, the more you are looking for it, the more you repel it for whatever reason. I don’t know why. If you kind of create this vacuum, let life take its course, then you tend to free yourself up for the unexpected. I think, especially for Jane in ’27 Dresses’, Kevin was clearly the unexpected choice for her. That is what ended up working out when she was able to let go of her ideals. No, she didn’t let go of her ideals, but her idea, of what the perfect man would be. That was clearly not George.
Question: How did you identify with the character? You couldn’t completely identify with her then how did you get into the role?
Heigl: I identified with aspects of her, she was an extreme, but I’ve met and known women like her. They have taken a back seat to what everyone else wants. They don’t really go after their own happiness. What I loved about Jane was the progression of her character. She starts out just a doormat. There are very clear and honest reasons for that, like her mother dieing when she was little, her relations with her sister, and you understand why she doesn’t go after George. She’s his assistant, she works for him, and it would be unprofessional. At the same time it’s easier than proclaiming your love for somebody and being turned down. She’s sort of chosen the path of least resistance for herself. It ends up hurting her. By the end of the movie there is that dramatic scene where she ruins her sister’s wedding. She is able to break the habit of it and find happiness for herself. She makes that a priority and I liked that part.
Question: What do you think is the secret to a great relationship?
Heigl: I think laughter and communication. That is what really works for Josh [Kelley] and me.
Burns: I think it’s separate bathrooms.
Heigl: That too.
Burns: It’s very important.
Question: Have you experienced unrequited love like your character had?
Heigl: I haven’t really, no.
Burns: On the set of this film.
Question: Can you talk about how romantic you are and what romance means to you? Is it flowers or something simpler?
Burns: Yeah, on a scale of 1 to 10 I’m probably a 7. I’m fairly romantic with flowers, wine, and bubble bath maybe if the mood strikes me. No, I guess I’m relatively romantic.
Question: Well, she’s still around so obviously you are doing something right.
Burns: That she is, yes.
Heigl: I’m not terribly sentimental. I have my moments, but generally speaking I shy away from being too lovey dovey. I don’t know why, I must have issues that I probably need to address. I think Josh’s biggest complaint is that when he’s on tour, and we are talking on the phone, I’m like ‘Yeah, I love you too.’ I’m not going to be like ‘I miss you so much and I love you!’ I just can’t, it’s just not my thing, but I definitely try on special occasions or just spontaneously, to do something really special for him. That can be as simple as making dinner or tickling his back. I don’t make big grand gestures generally. Maybe I should.
Burns: Bubble bath?
Heigl: I didn’t want to say something else.
Burns: You got to tickle him.
Question: If the Writers Guild does not grant the waiver for the Emmy show, have you given any thought to whether you will cross the picket line to do the show?
Heigl: I suppose it would depend on who else would cross. I’m going to get in trouble, no, I’ve been asked by my guild not to cross the picket line and I have to respect that. I would be really uncomfortable doing that because I think it makes a really big statement that I’m not sure I want to make. The reality is that I really, really, really want to go. I hope they get the waiver because I think it’s just an awesome fun night to celebrate. I think that this community deserves that once a year…or 14 times a year. There are like 14 different award ceremonies now. It’s the most special though.
Question: Ed your character is just about perfect. They guy loves dogs, he’s got his own business, are there guys like that out there? Do you know any?
Burns: The perfect guy, you start with ‘loves dogs’. [Laughs] No, there aren’t any guys like this. It was a little bit like playing a cartoon. He’s a caricature of some kind of perfect guy. Yeah, they do not exist.
Question: Ed, you said that directing is harder work. Can you talk about that a little bit more? Is acting not a big challenge?
Burns: No, no acting is a challenge. Playing George is not necessarily a challenge. He is there to serve the story, so my job in this film, is to listen to Anne Fletcher, our director, and make sure that he’s a version of any straight man. The hijinx surrounds him, my role is to play it straight. It’s a great pleasure when you get to play the lead and you aren’t just the girlfriend. In this case I’m the girlfriend and you do your job. In this case, this was an easier role than some others. Certainly directing a film is tougher than putting on George’s suit and hair, then hitting your marks.
Heigl: It was pretty hard for you to hit your marks though.
Burns: I was drunk everyday on the set.
Question: Is your sister older or younger than you?
Heigl: She’s older. Way older. No, I’m just kidding.
Question: How do you work your hectic schedule and then also what about the coincidence that the character name is George?
Heigl: I know.
Question: Is it tricky? How did you do it?
Heigl: I don’t know. It’s really funny because Anne Fletcher said to me five weeks into filming ‘Maybe we should change George’s name.’ Because this whole season is going to be me and T.R. [Knight] and George and Izzie, so it’s kind of weird. I said ‘You know if it were T.R. playing this role I would say yeah, change the name. Since its not, we can work with it, and it’s totally fine.’ It’s just been a very whirlwind year of work. That’s been really exciting. I spent enough years napping a lot, doing nothing but watching ‘Survivor’, so I’ve kind of reserved energy. I’m good.
Question: I love the scene where you sing ‘Bennie and the Jets’. I just wondered if you talked about doing that with him? It was great fun.
Heigl: It’s my favorite scene, it was the most fun to film, and one of those great fantasy fulfillment moments. There is no way in hell I would ever do such a thing, or get drunk enough to do such a thing. It was so fun to actually get to be that person for that day of filming. Jimmy [Marsden] is just stupid funny so it made it really easy to play off of him. The only problem is that he can actually sing. He has a really great voice, which I thought was a really unfair advantage. I asked him to please work to sing badly, so that I didn’t look like such an idiot. It was a really long day but it never got old. Take after take it was just the most fun to do. Along with the scene with Ed [whispers something].
Burns: Tough work.
Question: We think he’s a keeper.
Heigl: Thank you, I agree, I was really behind it, but you know.
Question: What shoes are you wearing?
Heigl: Jimmy Choo.
Question: Are they your own?
Heigl: No, no borrowed. I have to give them back.
Question: Did you make up the lyrics when you were messing around with the song?
Heigl: No, they wrote them like that and I think James had a little bit to do with influencing how that would happen. For me I was like ‘These aren’t them are they? These are the lyrics.’ Somebody this morning brought in the actual lyrics and they make even less sense.
Question: With apologies to Elton John.
Heigl: Yeah, I was like ‘We should call him, he has some hidden meanings in this that we don’t know.