Alex and Emma: Suzanne Tenner
April 25, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT

It’s a situation that we writers find ourselves in far too often. You’ve sold this book. It’s due in 30 days, and to make deadline pressures even worse, the mob is threatening to break your face if you don’t pay your gambling debts. You’re slow in the typing department, so you hire a pro to take dictation, but she keeps challenging your ideas and suggesting new ones, and to complicate everything even more, you’re falling in love with her! Such is the plot of Rob Reiner’s romantic comedy, which is loosely based on the true story of how Fyodor Dostoyevsky found himself becoming enamored of his stenographer. In fact, the movie was originally called ”Loosely Based on a True Love Story,” because, as Reiner says, ”that’s the perfect description of our movie.” Alas, more marketing-savvy minds have prevailed.

”The film is a cross between When ‘Harry Met Sally…’ and ‘The Princess Bride,’ says Kate Hudson, who plays Emma the stenographer — as well as four other characters during scenes that bring to life the 1920s-set novel written by Alex (Luke Wilson). ”There’s Swedish Elsa, German Eldora, American Anna, and Spanish Ylva,” says the actress. ”Definitely schizophrenic.” More sane was Reiner”s relatively lean 48-day shoot. ”Rob’s a family man, so we start at 7 a.m., leave at 5 p.m.,” says Wilson. ”It wasn”t like a regular movie — it was like a regular job.”

93 minutes
Sophie Marceau
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