Judi Dench and Michelle Monaghan Join BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY

     February 12, 2011


Judi Dench and Michelle Monaghan will join Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Garner in the indie thriller Better Living Through Chemistry.  The script from David Posamentier and Geoff Moore ranked 17th on the 2010 Black List of Hollywood’s best unproduced screenplay, which provides this logline: “A straight-laced pharmacist’s (Renner) uneventful life spirals out of control when he starts an affair with a trophy wife (Garner) customer who takes him on a joyride involving sex, drugs and possibly murder.”  I really like this cast together, and I’m eager to see the ever-innocent Garner play against type.

Hit the jump for a look at the odd role that Dench will assume in the production (possible spoilers).


Script Shadow reviewed the screenplay, in which Dench narrates the film… as Judi Dench.  I’m not entirely sure what that means for the actress as an on-screen presence in Better Living, but I’m really intrigued.  Shades of Being John Malkovich.  However, Script Shadow wasn’t too fond of the device (“Hearing Judi Dench pop up every ten minutes to tell us something we already knew felt like a cheap gimmick”), so maybe I should curb my enthusiasm.

Dench has quite a few projects coming up, including Jane Eyre, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, My Week With Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, J. Edgar, and of course, Bond 23.  Monaghan will next be seen in Source Code and Machine Gun Preacher.

Better Living is Posamentier and Moore’s first produced script, which the duo will also direct.  According to Variety, the $8 million production is targeting August start date in Washington or Georgia.

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  • Kate

    I just read the script and I think Jen Garner plays Renner’s wife and Michelle plays the trophy wife. As I read the script I can see Garner in the role of the uptight/fitness freak wife than the trophy wife, plus Michelle is younger than Garner so that kind of makes sense, right? And yes, Dench is the narrator, as herself.
    Anyway it’s a great script, the characters are all interesting and well thought out.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/colliderbrendan Brendan Bettinger

      The original THR report had Garner in the trophy wife role, but your point sounds logical. I’m only slightly less interested if Garner plays the uptight character and Monaghan plays the temptress.

      How do you think Dench’s narration played on the page?

  • Kate

    It didn’t bother me reading the script, but yes she does pop up a lot. There is a reason why she’s narrating, but I won’t spoil it for you. I don’t know how her constant narration will translate on film, although witty, I imagine it would get annoying, especially since there is so much great dialogue going on with the characters. I think this will be great for Renner, talk about playing against type, this is a departure from all the roles he’s been playing lately. As far as Jen’s character goes, jmo that she’s playing the uptight wife, only because as I was reading it I pictured her and there was not even a cast yet.

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