Sweetest Thing, The : Production Notes

When it comes to dating, Christina Walters (Cameron Diaz) has a golden rule: avoid searching for Mr. Right and focus on Mr. Right Now. That is until one night at a club when she unexpectedly meets Peter (Thomas Jane), only to see him suddenly disappear the next day. She and her best friend Courtney (Christina Applegate) decide to break the rules and go on a road trip to find him, encountering wild and hilarious misadventures along the way. A romantic comedy without the sugar, Sweetest Thing, The (2001) is a fresh twist on the search for love.

Columbia Pictures presents Sweetest Thing, The (2001), starring Cameron Diaz, a romantic comedy directed by Roger Kumble. A Konrad Pictures production produced by Cathy Konrad (Kate & Leopold, Girl, Interrupted, the Scream trilogy, Cop Land) and executive produced by Ricky Strauss and Stuart M. Besser (Scream (1996), Scream 3 (2000)), The Sweetest Thing also stars Christina Applegate (TV’s “Jesse” and “Married… With Children,” A View From the Top), Thomas Jane (“61*,” Magnolia, Deep Blue Sea (1999)), Selma Blair (Legally Blonde (2001), Down to You (2000), Cruel Intentions (1999)), Jason Bateman (TV’s “Some of My Best Friends” and “The Hogan Family”), and Parker Posey (Josie and the Pussycats (2001), Best In Show (2000), Scream 3 (2000)).

The screenplay for Sweetest Thing, The (2001)
is the first feature film by “South Park” scribe Nancy M. Pimental. The talented creative team includes director of photography Anthony B. Richmond, ASC/BSC (Legally Blonde, Someone Like You, Men of Honor), production designer Jon Gary Steele (One Night at McCool’s, Cruel Intentions, American History X), editors Wendy Greene Bricmont, A.C.E. (Evolution, My First Mister and Light It Up) and David Rennie (The Kid, The Huntress, Office Space), and costume designer Denise Wingate (Soul Survivors, Blue Streak, Cruel Intentions). Music by Edward Shearmur. Music Supervisor is John Houlihan. The Sweetest Thing is rated R by the MPAA for strong sexual content and language.

The 5 Commandments of THE SWEETEST THING

I. Thou Shalt Find a Funny Script:

Mixing a girl road/buddy movie with a dose of slapstick humor and the search for the perfect man, The Sweetest Thing is not your typical romantic comedy. This wild combination, which sprang from the fertile comic mind of Nancy M. Pimental, began as the “Screenplay Without a Title Yet,” which was making the rounds in Hollywood until it caught the eye of producer Cathy Konrad.

“It was really a great read… so energetic,” recalls Konrad. “And yes, there are some very outrageous things that happen in this movie. To find such a fresh female perspective on the subject of men and relationships was exciting. Nancy’s voice is very real and natural.”

II. Thou Shalt Attract a Director (Even If He Is A Man):

Roger Kumble, who directed Cruel Intentions, came in fairly early in the process. He read the script and immediately began pursuing the project as a director. “It was taking the genre of a romantic comedy and dumping it on its head,” explains Kumble, “and that’s what appealed to me about the film.”

Kumble met with Konrad and Ricky Strauss, who was at Columbia Pictures at the time and became the executive producer on the project. “His passion for the material, his suggestions and his ideas about how to translate what was written were what got us so excited about Roger,” explains Konrad. “Sometimes, a male point of view is a good thing.”

III: Thou Shalt Remain Calm When Cameron Diaz Is Cast:

The role of Christina Walters was the first one to be cast. “When we submitted the script to Cameron, it was this cross-your-fingers-and-wait situation,” says Konrad. “Then one day I got the call from Ricky. I was driving on the freeway, and he said, ‘You’d better be sitting down.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m sitting down, but I'm driving.’ He said, ‘You might want to pull over.’ He waited a second and said, ‘She wants to be in the movie.’ It’s such a great moment when you get an actor or actress attached to your material. It means it’s going to happen. It makes everything real.”

“I think every third generation has an actress like Cameron Diaz—someone who is beautiful and is also incredibly gifted with comic timing,” says Kumble, who compares Diaz with the likes of Carole Lombard and Goldie Hawn. “Cameron is their heir apparent, and she’s a pleasure to work with.”

IV: Thou Shalt Find Humorous Supporting Characters:

When casting for Courtney, Christina’s best friend, “Cameron really wanted to feel a true ‘best friend’ connection,” says Konrad. “Christina and Courtney are in every scene of the movie together. That energy of friendship had to come through.”

“When Christina Applegate came in and read with Cameron, they had so much fun,” says Kumble. “They were doing improv, trying different things that friends would do. You could really see that connection happening.”

“Christina Applegate has perfect comedic timing, and she’s so witty and quick,” explains Diaz. “She is just constantly coming up with great moments, just grabbing them out of the air. She is such a great actress.”

“I think we get everything that we really need from our female relationships,” says Christina Applegate, “and those are just the kinds of relationships that I thought of when I read the screenplay. I looked at the script and thought, ‘Oh, my God, that’s me and all of my girlfriends.’ It is just so real. It’s great with Cameron and I being able to finish each other's sentences and just knowing what she is feeling and playing off of that.”

And then there is Selma Blair for the role of Jane Burns. “She was a harder part to cast, because— well, let’s just say a lot happens to Jane Burns,” says Konrad. “And so whoever was going to be Jane had to be fearless, not be ashamed to try anything. Our answer was Selma Blair. She's a fearless girl, and she's wonderful.”

Kumble, who had directed Blair previously in Cruel Intentions, says, “I knew that she would be the right person to play Jane, because she’ll do anything. And we get her into some screwed-up situations in this movie, so to speak.”

“I'm really happy that I got a part that's as funny as Jane,” comments Selma Blair. “I loved this script. It makes no apologies, and I think that's great. It's a little bit spicy without trying to hurt anybody's feelings. It’s just great fun.”

V: Thou Shalt Learn That Love Is, After All, The Sweetest Thing:

The Sweetest Thing began production at the L.A. Center Studios. The film’s shoot took the crew to numerous locations in and around Los Angeles, ranging from the streets of downtown, to the mountains near Topanga Canyon, to a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, to the streets of Valencia, to the golf range in Griffith Park, to a church in Pasadena, to two stages in Hollywood. The last two weeks of the shoot took the production to San Francisco, to the streets of North Shore, the streets of Port Richmond, the streets in Chinatown, a dry cleaner, more streets of San Francisco, to Golden Gate park, to a hotel on Market, to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Even Christina Walters, in the end, realizes that love just may be the Sweetest Thing. “She’s at that age, late twenties going into your thirties, when you're not really looking for that guy to settle down with, but for some reason you think, ‘I’m having a great time, but maybe the party's over and I want to settle down,’ ” says Kumble. “Then along comes Thomas Jane…”

“At some point you have to grow. At some point there's something that pushes you into maturity and into another phase of your life,” says Diaz.

“Peter comes into Christina’s world and sort of shakes her cage, rattles it a little bit. She can't ignore that. And she gets this little glimmer of hope—she thinks maybe… you just never know. There just might be a guy out there that’s worth it.”

Author : Provided by Columbia Pictures