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Nathan Lee Graham, Reese Witherspoon, ...
Credit: Sweet Home Alabama: Peter Iovino
type
  • Movie
genre

The designer in question is Melanie (Reese Witherspoon), who flees a less-than-elite past in the South to reinvent herself as a snazzy New Yorker. ”She has to figure out how to get divorced from this guy she married when she was 19 and a country girl,” says Witherspoon of the movie’s emotional crux. Adds Patrick Dempsey, ”It’s basically about two nice guys, and she has to decide who’s right for her.”

Originally, the right person for the role of Melanie was Charlize Theron, who was cast before the prospect of last year’s much-anticipated-but-never-realized actors’ strike caused her to jump to another, ready-to-roll film, ”Trapped.” Put off by the ”terror” of recasting and rushing the movie, director Andy Tennant decided to table the production and take another pass at the script by first-timer C. Jay Cox. ”Luckily,” he says, ”we turned it in the weekend ‘Legally Blonde’ came out. Monday, we went out to Reese.” (Tennant knew Witherspoon from directing her in a made-for-TV movie 10 years ago.)

But even with a newly marketable actress slated to star, ”Alabama” wasn’t quite home free: Tennant and his crew came to New York to scout locations and to film Fashion Week around Sept. 11. ”We thought that the studio would cancel the movie,” says Tennant, ”but within days, Sir Rudy [Giuliani] said, ‘New York is open for business,’ and we thought of our movie as such a nice tonic. It’s a nice movie, it doesn’t hurt anybody, and people needed to get back to work.” On set and filming only weeks later, Tennant says, ”everyone [was] incredibly grateful to be working, alive, and American.”

THE LOWDOWN Witherspoon in a romantic comedy, and fabulously dressed to boot? Could be the ”Sweet” smell of success.

Sweet Home Alabama
type
  • Movie
genre
mpaa
runtime
  • 105 minutes
director

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