The easy thing is that this is such a departure, this chick flick or whatever. But, in fact, on a character level its in some ways not a departure for me at all. Thats what interests me in what I do, is finding characters that I relate to and that inhabit a world that interests me. And that world I like to be different from one picture to another because that, to me, is the exciting part of it.
I love the fact that these two sisters were, on the one hand, apparently very different - if you hung a label on them. But in fact were very much the same when you break them apart. Their issues of self-image and self-esteem and their desire to break free of the box that theyre each in, and in a sense get a second chance and become better versions of themselves. Those are all issues that I dont think of as female issues, but I think of them as human issues. And in fact theyre the same issues as the cops in LA Confidential or the guys on the street in 8 Mile. The yearning for family; the yearning for human connection. I relate to all of that so strongly.
Getting back to the Cameron aspect, superficially its kind of a no-brainer idea her being Maggie because Maggie is somebody whos been allowed to cruise by on her good looks and the way that men react to her good looks, to her fluffy hair and other attributes. Who better than Cameron to play that? The big question in my mind was was she prepared to go the distance, to play the dark side of that. To play the fear and insecurity.
Again, back to the design of the script, what I loved is that that character behaves in a reprehensible way. Its ugly. Its hateful. Shes totally self-centered, irresponsible, manipulative, and a lot of performers dont like to go there. And they like to wink at the audience if they do go there and say, This isnt really what Im like. This is this character. But that never feels truthful.
The decision for me to make this movie was based on the script and the meeting I had with Cameron right after [reading the script] where I talked about this with her and she talked about it with me. The excitement that we shared, we had the same vision of this. So we partnered up I mean that in the literal sense because Cameron cut her fee significantly to make this movie as I did, because its not the kind of movie that the studio particularly wants to pay Cameron Diaz to be in. You know, its not the movie you put her smiling face on and go, This is a romantic comedy. Thats easy. This is harder.
Curtis Hanson on the Pace of In Her Shoes: I love the structure of this picture. The length I dont think about, quite frankly. As I get into the editing process I go, Lets refine, lets shape. Lets make the movie better. Inevitably you start off with a certain length the first cut and it becomes shorter as you go along. Im obligated to deliver a movie thats under 2 ½ hours, lets say. But from there its up to the length of the picture that works best.
I love the bifurcated structure of this movie, which does take a certain amount of time. I love the fact, again, that the specific world was not the same of as the world of LA Confidential or Detroit or Pittsburgh in Wonder Boys where that specific world was the appeal. But whats equally appealing here was creating two worlds that, just like these two sisters, appear to be very different. Philadelphia and Florida very different in their colors, very different in their climate. And yet the human concerns in both worlds are the same. I love that possibility in the script and tried to adhere to that as much as possible with the movie. Where once these two girls break apart, its very evenly divided between the two of them. Its equally their story. And of course Ella, when she enters, its the three of them.