By Karen Valby
Updated July 23, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Saeed Adyani

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler
Directed by: Robert Luketic
Release date: July 17

How’s this for a pitch? ”There’s a lot of, shall I say, flagrant banging and swearing and climaxing and squealing,” Luketic says of his new film, in which sparks fly between a priggish Sacramento morning-news-show? producer (Heigl) and the boorish shock jock (Butler) brought in to boost ratings. Luketic (Legally Blonde, 21) jumped aboard when Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal told him the studio had landed Heigl for the ? female lead. ”I had just seen Knocked Up and thought she was a breath of fresh air,” he says. ”You’re always looking for that It Girl, and she seemed to have all the elements, with a new spin.”

For the likable brute, producers kept pushing Butler. ”I was skeptical,” the director admits. ”The guy from 300? In a comedy with Katherine Heigl?” So the two men went out for dinner, and Luketic says he was sold before they’d even placed their order. ”I was telling jokes and long, politically incorrect ? stories,” says Butler, who’d passed on several romantic comedies because he found them too soft. ”When I saw the script, I was like, ‘Okay, this is me.’?”

Heigl wrapped production on Grey’s Anatomy last spring only two days before filming began, so her rehearsal process consisted of a night of drinks with Luketic and Butler at the actress’ house in L.A. How was the chemistry? ”Three alpha, outrageous people,” Butler says.