At the press conference to promote Confessions of a Shopaholic, author Kinsella, director Hogan, and Dancy talked about the timeliness of the film which follows the exploits of a young women who can't stop herself from shopping.
Hugh Dancy, Kristin Scott Thomas, Director PJ Hogan and Author Sophie Kinsella Press ConferenceWhat gave you the idea for this entire series of Shopaholic books?
Sophie Kinsella: "Well, shops did. I was actually in a shop when the idea came to me. The initial inspiration was the Visa bill scene which appears in the movie and is the beginning of her character, and I could see the comedy of shopping. That was really the idea. And this character came into my head of a girl who shops too much and all the situations she could get into, and I just had so much fun with it that I couldnt stop."
Hugh, youve done a lot of costume dramas and those clothes must inform your performance and put you in the era. Youre a guy in some nice suits in this. Do the clothes help you with your character in a modern comedy?
Hugh Dancy: "I think they always do. They inform it. They don't necessarily make it easier. I mean, in the same way that getting ready to go out in an evening is like donning your armor to some extent, and certainly for girls, in my experience. It makes a difference, even if it's just a nice suit or even if its just trying to find the appropriately schlubby suit, you know?"
Did you have a special connection with Isla because of your combined Australian heritage? Did you have a shorthand with her as far as communicating?
PJ Hogan: "To be totally honest, when I first met Isla, I didnt know she was an Australian. I had seen her only in Wedding Crashers and when I met with her, I was expecting an American. Thats how clueless I am. And then she said, 'Hello, mate,' and I thought she was sending me up. Then I realized that she had spent years on Home and Away, a show that I had written a script for once. And so, you know what? Like all Australians, you often have a very embarrassing background in television so we shared those moments. It was great working with Isla, I think, more than because we were Australians. I just really got on with her. We had a really good time."
PJ, you sorted of deconstructed the wedding movie with Muriels Wedding and My Best Friends Wedding. Do you see this as sort of a further deconstruction of the chick flick movie?
PJ Hogan: "Oh my goodness, could someone give me some crib notes? Ill tell you what, when I started the film, I think its very hard to make romantic comedies. I think theyre a really, really tough genre and I think as a director you have to bring something different to the genre. And I was very lucky I had the books, which I think are absolutely wonderful. I thought if I can capture that off the wall humor, that eccentric spirit that informs Sophies writing, if I can capture that on film, then maybe well may have something. Honestly, I cant say I was setting out to deconstruct anything. I just wanted to do something different with a genre that a lot of people have had a crack at, including myself."
Sophie, how did your book get purchased? Did it happen right away or was it a long process?
Sophie Kinsella: "It happened pretty early on and it was one of these sort of exciting, 'Maybe one day, what if,' things. To be honest, you dont think seriously, 'Oh yes, Ill be at my movie.' You dont think that and then suddenly you are, and its just being kind of mind- blowing. The whole thing is so new and exciting. Its been a real treat."
Hugh, whats your take on workplace romance?
Hugh Dancy: "Workplace romance? As long as it's legal, I think it's okay. But it's obviously rife with difficulties. We've all had our own share of workplace romance I expect. But does one have to have an opinion about it? I think as long as there's actually some romance in it, as long as that's not just a euphemism for something else entirely, its probably a good thing."
PJ Hogan: "I say thank God for them in my line of work! That's why people fall in love with you, I think. They're forced to spend time with you, at least in my case. [Laughing] Ill shut up!"
Hugh, you have a great line, "Trust is the highest commodity." Can you comment on that?
Hugh Dancy: "Yeah. It keeps surprising me how high-minded this film is that we made. [Laughing] I think it's true. I mean, it's the most hard-won and the easiest to throw away. And, insofar as there is a message to the movie, thats probably it."
Kristin and Sophie, is there anything in your closet that you look at and go, Oh my God, why did I buy that? And if so, what is it?
Sophie Kinsella: "Kristin has nothing. Its all just "
Kristin Scott Thomas: "No, I dont actually. No. Im just trying to think. Nope!"
Sophie Kinsella: "Tragically, yes. God, I wish I could say no. With purchases made I think under the influence of hormones."
Can you name one?
Sophie Kinsella: "This terrible pair of shoes. Terrible! What was I thinking?! Platform, silver bits on it and straps that wind up your leg, and then a hole that goes through the heel. I mean, trampy hooker shoes, but they were like really on sale. And I thought, 'Oh! Ill wear them to a club. One day Ill go to a costume party.' Theyve sat there doing nothing. Shameful!"