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Julie Anne Robinson, director of the movie ‘One For The Money’, now in cinemas, turned to the novel by Janet Evanovich again and again for guidance during production. “I’ve looked at it down to details of dress colors,” reveals Robinson. “The description of Stephanie’s apartment, I pulled it from the book.
It had to be a red brick building. It had to be a place where a lot of old age pensioners could live. Even small details like Mrs. Delgado who lives opposite Stephanie; she’s there in the book. The fact that Stephanie drinks a Big Gulp. The fact that she feeds Ritz crackers to Rex. We’ve gone down to the smallest detail. The actual cage that Rex is kept in is identical to the one described in the book.”
At first glance, Robinson, a British director with a background at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Court and the National Theatre, might seem an unlikely choice for a New Jersey-set story about working class Americans. But Katherine Heigl, who fondly remembered her experience working with Robinson on several episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, suggested the director be seriously considered.
“After spending some time talking to her we realized that her vision was exactly right for the movie,” recalls producer Lucchesi. “Being a director you’ve got to steer a big ship of about 150 people and everybody’s got an opinion. You need a captain who can really channel the way to the right port. And Julie Anne did that.”
“Julie Anne came onto this project with such unbelievable energy and passion and determination,” reports Heigl. “She has incredible focus and I never saw her get tired or burn out. And I think she’s just done a beautiful job with the casting of this movie, with the locations, the set design, everything. The right look and feel of this movie, the balance between comedy and drama, will be thanks to Julie Anne, for sure.”
Actor Jason O’Mara, who plays Joe Morelli in the film, credits Robinson and the clarity of her direction for the vibrancy of the cast’s performances. “She’s really what you want from a director. You come prepared, you know how you want to play the scene, but she says one thing to you and it changes the way you deliver the lines and suddenly it comes alive.
Julie knows what she wants and there’s never any indecision, but at the same time she’s open to a lot of ideas. So she’s been very collaborative and that’s given everybody on this movie a sense of ownership and pride in their work. Hopefully that will come through.”
Joe Morelli’s tumultuous love/hate history with Stephanie Plum began when she was only six and culminated in a disastrous high school date. A former bad-boy turned vice cop, Morelli becomes an unlikely suspect in a homicide investigation and jumps bail, which seemingly points to his guilt. But as Stephanie tracks him down as her very first FTA (“Failed To Appear” in bail bond speak), she realizes the case against Morelli is more complicated than she initially thought.
“Joe Morelli has to have humor, a little bit of danger, be handsome, but also authentic,” says producer Tom Rosenberg. “You have to buy he’s from Trenton and that he’s a policeman. It’s a very tough role to pull off, but Jason did it effortlessly.”
“In Jason and Katie, we’ve got two actors who can match each other,” adds director Julie Anne Robinson. “She’s a very powerful actress and he meets her head on in their scenes together. There’s a tension and an electricity in every frame. They play off each other. They play off the script. It’s great fun to watch. I fell in love with their chemistry.”
From the moment O’Mara read the script, he was ready to sign on to the project. “It really jumped off the page,” remembers the actor. “And when I read Katie’s role I realized she was perfect for it and she was going to really knock this one out of the park. She’s got a great sense of comic timing. The part of this I’ve really enjoyed is the comedy.”
“Jason is going to be the only person people can think of from now on when they read the books,” affirms Heigl. “He’s brought Morelli to life in the most seamless and perfect way.”
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