About The Production
When Love Ends
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
"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
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
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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