Friday, October 7, 2011 / 12:32 pm
One For The Money Questions & Answers
I wanted to thank everyone for all of the fantastic questions that were submitted for this Q & A and the wonderful messages of support that I have received. I really appreciate all of your kind words.
Sorry that I couldn't answer everyone directly, but there were over 700 different questions (and even more duplicates!), so I have tried to select a range that covered most of the topics that people wanted to talk about. I hope it will give you all a little more insight into the movie and that you will enjoy watching when it hits theaters in a few months time.
What was it about the character of Stephanie Plum that really appealed to you and made you want to bring her to life on the big screen?
Jennifer - Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA
I love Stephanie's gumption and sense of humor. She has the most hilarious way of seeing herself, the people around her and the sometimes terrifying situations she gets herself into.
How did you prepare for the role? Did you meet with Janet Evanovich?
Lisa - Nipomo, California, USA
I wish I had met Janet! In fact I'm hoping now that the movie has been made I'll get the opportunity to meet her! She's one of my favorite authors. I prepared for the role by reading as many of the books as I could before filming started (that was more pleasure than work though!) I also spent some time working on Stephanie's look. I always feel closer to the character when I put on their clothes. It was really important to me that I resembled the physical description of her as closely as possible. I had a wonderful hair, makeup, and wardrobe team that I think nailed it! Oh and of course there's the Burg accent! That took a lot of practice and a lot of faith!
When people read a book, they imagine the characters in a specific way. Did you worry about being faithful to Stephanie's character from the
book? Are you looking forward to see people's reaction?
Danielle, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Being faithful to the books, the stories and the character's relationships, all of it, is the most important thing to me when you're part of adapting a novel into a movie. Everyone involved from the screenplay writer, to the producers, to the director, to the cast, worked really hard to honour what the fans (and that includes me!) love about Stephanie Plum and the world and people Janet Evanovich created. I'm very hopeful and anxious for the fans reaction to this movie. I hope they're as happy with it as I am!
What were the biggest challenges you faced portraying Stephanie Plum? What do you think her best and worst qualities are?
Felicia - Malmö, Sweden
The most intimidating challenge was getting the accent down. The fun challenges were learning how to drive an ice truck, shoot a gun and pick a lock! I love that Stephanie isn't afraid of a challenge and believes she can be wonder woman (as she says in the books all the time!) She's got a huge heart, is close to her family, and tells it like it is about everything - herself included. I think her biggest flaw is that she doesn't ask for help enough and puts herself and others into dangerous situations due to her stubbornness.
Do you think you share any characteristics with Stephanie Plum? If so, what would they be?
Michelle - USA
I think I have a similar fighting or go down trying spirit as Steph and am equally close to my family.
How does the movie differ from the book? Does the movie stay true to the book in that it takes place in the early 90's (i.e. before cell phones
and the internet) or has it been updated?
Amy - Moosic, Pennsylvania, USA
That was one of the big questions when adapting the novel. Should it be set in the early 90's or should it be today? We chose to make the action take place in 2011 because there have been so many more Plum novels written and the fans have been reading about a more contemporary Stephanie for a while now. We also included a little more interaction with Mary Lou in the movie than there is in the book. We toned down some of the violence, which was a really hard decision for me. I really love the intensity of the action in the books but it's one thing to imagine what Ramirez does to Lula and it's another to really see it. Other than that we stayed as true to the flow of the story as possible.
What was your favorite part of filming One For The Money? Did your favorite scenes from the film match your favorite sections from the book?
Debbie - Baltimore, Maryland, USA
I loved all my scenes with the Plum family, Morelli, Ranger, Lula and Jackie, Vinnie and Connie, and of course Grandma Mazur. Those were all my favourite moments in the book so it was really fun to bring them to life and all of the actors cast were so amazing, hilarious and talented that I would spend most of my time laughing my butt off.
The film was shot in Pittsburgh rather than in Trenton where the books are based. Why was that? Did you did you enjoy shooting there?
Stuart - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
I did enjoy shooting in Pittsburgh, I love to travel and experience new places. My family was with me for most of the shoot and I loved the house and area we made home! I'm not too sure why the producers chose to film in PA instead of Jersey. My guess is that it involved money and available locations to film in.
There is a long running joke about the ill-fated cars that seem to come in and out of Stephanie's life throughout the books, which is one of her most
hilarious and quirky qualities. Does the car death toll by fire, spray paint, theft and repossession still stand in the One For The Money movie?
Stephanie's Obsession - Visit http://stephaniesobsession.blogspot.com
In the movie we have her first car being repossessed, Big Blue being vandalized and Morelli's Jeep blowing up. Steph and her issue with cars are some of my favourite parts of the books! I can't wait to do the next film and have her destroy more automobiles!
One of the most notable qualities of the Janet Evanovich books is the humor. What is the funniest thing that happened on set?
Miranda - Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
I think the humor of the books is what all us fans love the most! We had a ton of hilarious moments on set, but Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur took the cake! She had the best stories and the craziest sense of humor!
Have you seen the finished movie either as a whole or in segments? If so, were you happy with the result?
Karen - Glasgow, Scotland
I have seen it and I'm thrilled! Nervous about fan reaction, but thrilled with the cast, the way it's put together, and how it manages to be funny and charming despite the sinister story of murder and drugs.
A lot of the funniest moments from the books relate to what is said in Stephanie's head. How did you handle that in the movie? Did you do a voiceover
or was it just incorporated in the script?
Amanda - Seattle, Washington, USA
We did a little of both. We didn't intend to use a voice over but after the first cut we realized we were really missing Steph's voice and her take on what's happening around her. Without adding more scenes with someone else, she could be talking to Mary Lou or Grandma Mazur and we had no way of hearing her. So much of the chase and her seeking out information is done alone. So we added a voice over to give us more of the inner monologue that we all love from the books and gave her a bit more dialog with other cast members in the scenes to bridge the inner and outer thought process a bit.
Stephanie is a walking time bomb, a klutz and an inept investigator. Did you have fun acting ditzy and getting all physical with the characters she
was supposed to be bringing in?
Becky - Houston, Texas, USA
One of the things I love about Steph is that she is both equally aware and unaware that she's so inept! I had the best time taking down Lonnie Dodd and bringing in the neighborhood exhibitionist William Earling. It's fantastic that Steph get's Ranger shot with her own gun trying to bring in Dodd and is the laughingstock of the police station for bringing in a naked old man! She wins and loses in the same breath every time and it's why we love her so much!
Did you find yourself having strange cravings for Butterscotch Krimpets, Doodles or donuts while channelling Stephanie Plum? How about your car, any
crazy accidents that needed the help of a mysterious hot Latino?
Mary Ellen - New Jersey, USA
By the end of the day on set I was happy not to have to look at another Big Gulp, Tastykake or bag of Skittles for at least 12 hours! I love that Stephanie is always eating but lord! Doing six takes in a row and having to down some type of food in each one is pretty filling! And no, unfortunately no car trouble run-ins with a hot Latino off set!
Did you have to perfect a Jersey accent for the film as Stephanie is from Jersey? What was that like? Was it challenging?
Tessa - Madison, Wisconsin, USA
I did and it was! Accents make me very nervous, but I was really excited by the challenge. I'm not too sure it could be called perfect but I'm hoping it's consistent and good enough to be what the fans imagine Steph to sound like.
I would like to know if you relied on the solely on the screenplay when preparing for the role or if you read Evanovich's novel?
Patricia - Los Banos, California, USA
I'm actually up to book number 10 now. The best part of making the movie was all the "research" it required! I have never had so much fun preparing for a role as I did immersing myself in Plum's world for 10 straight books! I finally had to take a break and read something else because my friends and family were sick of me disappearing for hours on end while I read!
What is your favorite book in the series?
One Starr - USA
Right now my favorite is Two For The Dough. I love the blooming sexy/frenemy romance between Steph and Morelli (I'm a sucker for romance!) and the funeral parlor scenes with Grandma Mazur are priceless! I'm probably so in to this book because I hope we get the chance to make it the next film in the series!
With 18 books in the series, starring in an Evanovich-Plum movie could turn into a good franchise. Are there any more movies in the works? Would you
like the opportunity to reprise the role of Stephanie?
Nancy - Irvine, California, USA
I would love the chance to make the second book into a movie and team up with Morelli, Ranger, Lula, Vinnie and Grandma once again, but we'll have to wait and see how the first one does. So as of right now it's more a dream than a reality.
Was it hard to stick to the Stephanie from the first book, since she has developed and expanded since then, or to reconcile your image of the
'book Stephanie' with the updated idea of her they had for the film?
Martina - Malmö, Sweden
I kinda feel like Stephanie is who she is through the whole series. There are little things about her that change and evolve in later books that we incorporated into the movie to keep up with where the fans are with their current vision of her.
Being Stephanie Plum can be quite strenuous. Did you do your own stunts?
Yolanda - Holtsville, New York, USA
I'd do little things that couldn't get me hurt. For example, I took down Lonnie Dodd myself using the good old fashioned clothesline approach! But my best friend and stunt double since I was fourteen, Cheyenne Ellis, did the tough stuff like being Ramirez's victim at the gym when Steph hits him with her purse. I mean I did the purse hitting part - she did the getting choked and thrown on the ground part! She's a pretty great friend! HAHAHA.
How did you get involved in the project?
Mark - Shoreham, England
I was making The Ugly Truth for Lakeshore when the producers approached me about the Stephanie Plum series. At that point I had not read the books so I didn't know much about it. I remember talking to my Aunt and mentioning the project and she just about wet her pants in excitement having been a fan for years. Then a few months later I was in Utah and having lunch with couple of female friends when they literally said "Hey Katie, have you ever read the Stephanie Plum books? You should play her in a movie!" I thought that was so serendipitous that I went right out and bought the first book. I quickly, like all us fans, got hooked and the rest is history!
As a producer of the film as well, what was the casting process like? Did you have actors in mind for certain characters when you read the book?
Jo - Florida, USA
Casting is tough for any movie but when you're trying to find actors who can bring to life beloved characters in a series of books it's really hard! It was important to all of us involved that we cast the best actor for the part. Someone who could bring each role to life in a way the fans deserved. Our casting director is a brilliant woman named Debra Aquila. She actually cast me in the second film I ever did when I was 13 called King of the Hill. She found our cast and no one could have done a more perfect job! When I walked on set into each new scene I really felt like it was the book coming to life! I hope all you guys do too!
You were reunited with director Julie Anne Robinson, Jason O'Mara and Debra Monk with whom you had worked on Grey's Anatomy. Did you have any input
into that process and what was it like to work with them again?
Anupama - Naperville, Illinois, USA
I had a little input and was really excited about having the opportunity to work with Julie Anne and Debra again. When Jason and I met during the casting process I had a real foot-in-mouth moment when he told me he'd done an episode of Grey's and I couldn't remember the storyline! So typical of an actor to be so focused on their own material that they don't notice any one else's! But despite my self absorption, Jason was very forgiving and one of the most wonderful and talented men I have had the pleasure of acting beside!
In One for the Money, you get to work with screen legend Debbie Reynolds who plays Grandma Mazur. What was that like and did you learn anything from
Heather - Russell, Kansas, USA
Debbie was a hoot! I was so nervous the first day of filming with her because she is a legend and I'm a big fan! She was full of fun, laughter and jokes and made the time fly and my nerves disappear. She taught me that a Halls cough drop can stop a choking coughing fit. Debbie always had a Halls in her mouth and during one of the Plum dinner scenes I was shoving turkey into my mouth with such fervor I started to choke. Debbie kept insisting that I suck on a Halls and I kept trying to tell her through the coughs that I was choking, not sick. Finally I acquiesced and took the cough drop only to realize within seconds that it really did work. I exclaimed to Debbie once I'd stopped hacking that her cure was a cure after all and she looked at me and said. "Old people know a lot of things darling. We want to pass them along before we're dead."
I love the character of Lula and Sherri Shepherd is the perfect choice to play her. Did you enjoy working with her?
Shanice - Newark, New Jersey, USA
It would be impossible not to bond with Sherri immediately. She's hilarious, charming, honest, embracive and so very talented! I loved every second with her and so look forward to some day getting to play Steph's Cagney to Lula's Lacey!
Who has been cast as Rex? Is he a new talent, or are you using an experienced hamster? Do you have a hamster wrangler?
Will - Spokane, Washington, USA
I don't think our hamsters had a whole lot of acting experience but they did a wonderful job! There were two so that if one didn't have the energy to do the running on the wheel scenes we could go to the other and try to tempt him with snacks! And yes, there was a hamster wrangler!!
Both you and the Stephanie Plum books have a huge following outside of the US. Can you tell us if there's any promotion planned for the movie overseas?
Will you do a press tour or any international TV appearances?
Nika @PlumMovie - Visit http://twitter.com/plummovie
Absolutely! I don't know the details of the promotion plan just yet, but I will most certainly be doing press and interviews overseas and I can't wait!
If you had to choose between Morelli and Ranger, which one would you pick?
That's a very, very tough question! I have such devotion to both since I've bounced around with them alongside Steph through the books for a while now! If I had a gun to my head and had to choose right now I'd say Morelli, only because of their history. Since that would be explored more in the next film if we have the privilege of making it that's where my head is. But I'll tell you there was nothing more lip biting and breath holding than the moment in Seven Up when Ranger drops his gun belt on the floor on the last page and you're left wondering if he and Steph finally did it!
So, we've seen a picture of you and Morelli (Jason O'Mara) and he is holding a towel looking like he is headed for a shower. Us gals would like to
know.....Do we get to see his ass or what?
Melissa, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Sorry ladies, you don't get to see his ass…but you get to see mine!! HAHAHA
One For The Money is released on January 27, 2012. It was directed by Julie Anne Robinson and stars Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum, Jason O'Mara as Joe Morelli, Daniel Sunjata as Ranger, Sherri Shepherd as Lula, John Leguizamo as Jimmy Alpha, Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur, Debra Monk as Mrs. Plum, Louis Mustillo as Mr. Plum, Ana Reeder as Connie, Patrick Fischler as Vinnie Plum and Nate Mooney as Eddie Gazarra.
For more information on the movie check out Katherine's career page for One For The Money. You can also keep track of the latest news ahead of the release on the official web site and Facebook pages for the production.