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About The Production
When Love Ends

Madness Begins

What lengths would you go to for love?

For director/producer Denise Di Novi, that is the question at the heart of her new suspense thriller "Unforgettable." She offers, "The story intrigued me because it's about two very different women thrown into a complicated blended family relationship. They each feel tremendous pressure-one to create the perfect life, the other to hold on to it. That pressure drives one to madness, while the other is forced to find the strength to fight for her life. I thought that would make for a very intense thriller."

When they meet, the two women at the center of the story are at separate crossroads. Despite being divorced for years, Tessa has never accepted that her marriage is over, secretly believing that she and her ex-husband, David, were meant to someday reconcile. But that hope is dashed by the arrival of her ex's new fiancee, Julia, who is leaving behind a traumatic past and embarking on a new life with David.

Producer Alison Greenspan relates, "Julia has emerged from a very dark period and is finally at a place where she feels like she's found her fairytale prince-a guy who's caring and treats her with kindness and respect. What she doesn't know is that his ex-wife is going to be way more than she bargained for."

"Julia soon finds out her dream guy does not have a dream ex-wife," Di Novi affirms. "At first, Tessa appears to be making an effort, but as time goes on, their relationship gets more and more tense...and more and more scary."

"On the one hand, the film is a thrill ride and we love watching the crazy unfurl," says Greenspan. "On the other hand, it works on a deeper level wherein we question what happens when the way in which we define ourselves-as a spouse, a mother, a partner-is challenged. What happens when we lose the identity we so carefully crafted for ourselves and then are lost without it?"

Katherine Heigl, who stars as Tessa, reflects, "You can't help but wonder, 'What would I do if my husband and I got divorced and he moved on with someone else?' 'How would I behave in that circumstance?' I hope I'd handle it with some dignity, but it would still be heartbreaking. It is the death of all the dreams you had for your family and your future together and, unfortunately, that sends Tessa right over the edge."

Starring as Julia, Rosario Dawson says that, by contrast, the dream is just beginning for her character. "You're catching Julia at that 'pinch me' moment when she's happy and in love. She is excited about the steps she is taking to build a new life, but because of everything she's gone through before, it's hard for her to trust in it and not wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. I was rooting for her because I know how that feels, and I think anyone could understand what that might be like."

Di Novi observes that both Julia and Tessa are "worried about the wrong things. Tessa's entire life has been geared toward having the perfect life-the right marriage, the right husband, the right house... Julia escaped an abusive relationship and has worked hard to move past it, yet she is still hiding it from David. So it is kind of a cautionary tale for women about what can happen when your whole identity rests on your relationship with a man, good or bad."

"I think that taps into something innate in all of us," screenwriter Christina Hodson suggests. "Our sense of identity is so primal, so crucial to our fundamental psychology. If another person jeopardizes that, just how far would you go to reclaim it? That can be a slippery slope."

Thanks in no small part to the pervasiveness-and invasiveness-of today's social media, our identity has never been more vulnerable. "It's all too easy these days to be deceived or manipulated without even realizing it's happening," Di Novi says, "a fact that plays right into Tessa's plans."

Di Novi, who had developed "Unforgettable" with executive producer Lynn Harris, was already set to produce the project when the opportunity arose to take the director's chair for the first time. She remarks, "As a producer, I have made movies of virtually every genre but never a thriller, and that's funny because they are among my favorite films. So I was excited to direct this film, especially because it was a female-driven story."

Producer Ravi Mehta says, "She knew the project inside and out, so when she jumped in to direct, she was a natural. It felt as if she'd been directing her entire life."

Greenspan notes, "Denise and I have been producing partners for many years and have always been very supportive of our directors, so it was a real pleasure for me to support her and help her achieve her vision for this film. Everyone on set worshipped her, not only for the product but for the process. She always knew how to bring the best out of the team to get what she wanted."

The film's leading ladies both agree. "Denise was fantastic," states Dawson, who was working with Di Novi for the first time. "The breadth of her filmmaking experience was evident in the storytelling and every little detail of the shoot. She did a great job, and I was stoked to be a part of the first of what I hope will be many films that she directs."

Heigl, who had collaborated with Di Novi on the romantic comedy "Life as We Know It," says, "I've always loved and admired Denise, and it was incredibly rewarding to get to work with her as a director. She set the tone from day one, and I felt completely safe putting myself in her hands."

Their co-star Geoff Stults says he appreciated having a woman at the helm. "It would have been so different if it had been directed from a man's point of view. Denise gave me a perspective that I never would have had. I was really grateful to her and felt so lucky to be doing this."

The main cast of "Unforgettable" also included veteran television and film star Cheryl Ladd, Whitney Cummings, Simon Kassianides, Isabella Kai Rice and Robert Ray Wisdom.

Di Novi reflects, "The great thing about our entire cast-in addition to them all being so talented-was that, even though the story involved very difficult, challenging relationships, the actors and I formed a very supportive family unit. We built up a trust, which created an environment that allowed them to take their characters through everything they experience."


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