She previously faced “The Ugly Truth” about the battle of the sexes. Now Katherine Heigl confronts instant motherhood in Warner Bros.’ new romantic comedy “Life as We Know It.”
As the film opens, we meet Holly (Heigl) and Messer (Josh Duhamel) on a blind date. A horrendous blind date. “We all know that blind date,” director Greg Berlanti attests, “that starts off badly and just goes more and more awry.”
Heigl confirms, “It’s not as if Holly and Messer are just uncomfortable with each other, or just don’t connect. It’s awful. They hate each other.”
Unfortunately, because of their mutual best friends, they’re stuck in each other’s lives and forced to be around one another on numerous occasions. They both tolerate it, for the sake of their friends and their goddaughter, Sophie. But once they’re left to care for the baby girl, the situation seems, well, intolerable.
“Holly and Messer are polar opposites,” Heigl states. “He’s this sort of ‘take it or leave it’ guy—relaxed and kicked back, rolling with the punches—and she’s…not.” Heigl’s character, on the other hand, has a business and a business plan. “She’s responsible, organized, scheduled, a bit obsessive compulsive. In her professional life and her personal life, she needs to know where things are heading; she’s not really a girl who can wing it.”
Producer Barry Josephson says that, in all of Holly’s planning, she had not yet planned for a family, let alone an instant one. “She was not prepared for this at all. As a matter of fact, she was preparing for a completely different life. Now she’s trying to get her feet underneath her, and it’s not that easy. Katherine played that dilemma beautifully.”
The emotion at the core of the story, along with the inherent comedy of the characters and the situation in which they find themselves, resonated with Heigl. “We’ve all had moments in our lives where we’ve been through some difficult things, but there’s still laughter,” she notes, “and a lot of times that’s how people get through some of the harder times in their lives.”
Heigl, who is an executive producer, along with her mother, Nancy Heigl was attracted to the script’s well-rounded characters. “I really got to participate in shaping who this character was. I tried in this particular role not to play Holly as the overly obsessive compulsive girl. That’s the interesting paradox of the male-female relationship. You’ve always got this sort of take-it-or-leave-it guy who’s really relaxed and kicked back and rolls with the punches. And you’ve got the uptight girl saying, ‘No, no, no, we need to be on a schedule, we need to figure everything out,’ so we tried to walk the line between her being too uptight or him being too much of ‘a guy’ about things because inevitably Holly’s going to need to kind of be a mom.”
One thing the actress did have in common with her character was a love of the culinary arts. “I do love to cook,” says Heigl, “though I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like. Once every six months or so I like to go all ‘Martha Stewart’ and throw a small dinner party for friends.” Her research for the role of a chef proved fruitful in her own life. “I learned how to properly chop and julienne vegetables, which saves a lot of time!”
Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 20, “Life as We Know It” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.