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All of the characters for the new movie ‘One For The Money’ come together to create the vibrant diversity of Trenton, N.J., a city the author Janet Evanovich knows well from her early years and which serves as the setting for the entire Plum series, on which the movie is based. The main character Stephanie’s particular neighborhood, known as “The Burg,” is an area with a strong cultural identity, a lot of attitude and plenty of food.
“The Burg is a real character in the film,” says Evanovich. “It’s an inner city neighborhood, a little enclave of second-generation Americans. They’re proud to be Americans and they’re working class people for the most part. They have their rituals. They sit down to pot roast dinner at five o’clock and you’d better not be late. They gossip at the deli – this is the major way that information is passed in the Burg – and it’s a very family-oriented situation. I like that the neighborhood is a family.”
The production team searched extensively for locations that would stand in for Trenton as it looked fifteen years ago, finally settling on Pittsburgh, PA and its outlying areas. “The look of the film is urban and it’s not pretentious,” producer Gary Lucchesi says. “It’s very middle and working class, and Pittsburgh afforded us a number of locations.
We shot in Braddock, which was once a thriving steel town. We also shot in a neighborhood called Friendship and in Bloomfield, which is the Italian-American district. That’s where the Plum house is and it felt very right for Stephanie.”
“There wasn’t one set that I went to and thought, ‘I think that should be different,’ or, ‘It looked different in my mind,’” asserts headliner Katherine Heigl. “The look of this film is so vital. It was really important to all of us that this film not look like a glossy romantic comedy, because that’s not what this is. It has the romance. It has the comedy. But it’s also a murder mystery that takes place in Jersey. It has tough characters and a really blue-collar sense to the whole thing. These are real people in real situations.”
Lucchesi hopes that Evanovich’s loyal fans will experience a similar thrill watching the film as they did reading the novel. “In most of the Plum novels, there are murders, people die and Stephanie’s life is in danger,” he says. “But at the same time you’ve got characters like Grandma Mazur and Lula or Vinnie Plum who deliver broad character comedy. So you have this interesting blend of comedy and drama and action. That’s what sets these books apart. And I think we’ve achieved that in our film version.”
Evanovich agrees wholeheartedly. “I think the movie was very successful in translating the tone of my book. In fact, I think it enhances it. This is an action adventure film. The movie is fast paced. It is sexy, it is funny, it is Jersey. I love the movie. Even if I didn’t write the book I’d love the movie.”
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