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Hugh Dancy, Sophie Kinsella and PJ Hogan on 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'

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Hugh Dancy, Sophie Kinsella and PJ Hogan on 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'

Hugh Dancy and Isla Fisher in 'Confessions of a Shopaholic.'

© Touchstone Pictures
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Hugh Dancy, Kristin Scott Thomas, Director PJ Hogan and Author Sophie Kinsella Press Conference

Sophie, this could have been like Sex and the City which really didn’t really have any kind of morality tale - whereas this one is serious subject matter, especially in these times. Where did you get her from and how important was it for you as a writer to send out a message?

Sophie Kinsella: "Absolutely. There is totally a message. I mean, in the books, the very first book opens with letters from a bank inviting the character to take out loans, to take out credit, and all the way through the book, it’s punctuated by letters from institutions saying, 'Take out a loan,' and then, 'Why haven’t you paid off your loan?' And although it’s entertainment, it’s a comedy, it’s fun, it’s escapism, there is a message and there is something to learn, and Becky Bloomwood would learn something in every single book. She then forgets her lessons and has to learn them again, but I think it’s very timely and the lessons that she has so heartily had to learn are lessons that we’re all learning now. I mean, she is every girl and she’s sort of every person at the moment."

Do you have any more Shopaholic books planned or in the works?

Sophie Kinsella: "I do, yes. Not in the works yet. I’ve just been writing a book which is a non-Shopaholic book, a stand alone, and I’m going to kind of wait for the dust to settle. I’m kind of not done with her."

Hugh Dancy: "Will it be Shopaholic Makes a Movie?

Sophie Kinsella: [Laughing] "Well, wouldn’t you like to know? Actually, my kids sometimes suggest titles to me. They suggested Shopaholic Blows Up which I thought was really excellent and one that Jerry (Bruckheimer) would probably love."

Hugh Dancy: "Yes!"

PJ Hogan: "I suggested, and I don’t know why Sophie didn’t take it, but Shopaholic on the Orient Express. I just thought she should start to sell mysteries."

Sophie Kinsella: "You also wanted Shopaholic in the Caribbean, I think. Remember?"

Hugh, the Latin dance was a lot of fun and it looked like Isla Fisher might have actually hit you once or twice with the fan.

Hugh Dancy: [Laughing] "Oh no, many more times."

Isla Fisher says you’re the better dancer. Do you think that's true?

Hugh Dancy: "Do I think it's true? Yeah. Correct me if I’m wrong about this, but the way I remember it is the scene was written fairly straight originally. This is the end of the sequence where the two characters kind of see something in each other that they like and it’s early days and they go out to the streets of Miami and they end up dancing and that was pretty much it. It was not designed to be a kind of comic set piece. [To PJ] Is that right? Because the way I remember it, maybe there was something in there, but there was a choreographer who came, there was me and Isla, and PJ was there for a bit, and we just kind of came up with half of that stuff in the moment."

PJ Hogan: "Yeah, the whole sequence was improvised. Pretty much I don’t remember if it was even in the original script."

Hugh Dancy: 'No, it certainly wasn’t in the original script but then it was tweaked as these things are. And I think what happened was we just kept on rehearsing. We were laughing at the appalling nature of our dancing, first of all. And then we thought, 'Well, maybe this would work as well if not better with some comic moments.'"

PJ Hogan: "Well, you know where it began is Sophie discovered the Danzón on the internet."

Hugh Dancy: "Right, right."

Sophie Kinsella: "Danzón. It’s a fan dance."

PJ Hogan: "And when I saw the fan, I thought Isla could have a field day with that. She could even hit you with it and stuff like that."

Hugh Dancy: "It’s all your fault."

Sophie Kinsella: "Dance without accessory is the way to do it."

Right now we’re in the middle of a terrible economic crisis. Do you have an overall take on what’s been happening and how your book and the movie, which were intended to entertain, could actually have some social significance in terms of what’s going on right now?

PJ Hogan: "Well, look, I loved the books. I’ve read all 5 and I identified totally with Rebecca because when I was young, I’d gotten in big trouble with credit cards and I actually had a humiliating experience which happens to Rebecca in one of the books. Somebody cut my credit card in half in front of me and I felt so ashamed. So, that was important to me. I have a son who is now the proud possessor of his first credit card and I just know this, they can get you into big, big trouble. That was an element that was important to the story to me, and I know it’s there in every book and so I know Sophie takes it very seriously. It was always there. And what I loved about the books is that, nevertheless, you’re laughing. You can identify with the trouble that Becky gets into because you’ve been there. But, the way you’ve written it, it’s funny."

Sophie Kinsella: "Well, I agree. It is an issue and it’s been going on. I think when you write anything, you kind of tap into the zeitgeist, and this is something that has not happened overnight. This is a culture which has been around for years and years. That’s kind of what I picked up on. But, you know, it’s a positive book. This is fun. This is kind of the escapist side. I don’t write books to bang home a message. I write to entertain and if a message comes out as well, then that’s really great. And she does learn. I’ve had responses from readers who have said, 'You know, this has made me think twice. This has maybe made me change my ways.' So, I think it can help people too."

Page 3: Talking Mannequins and Onscreen Chemistry

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