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‘A Little Bit of Heaven’, now playing in cinemas around the US, is a love story set in New Orleans about an irreverent young woman who unexpectedly falls in love with her doctor.
Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) is young, beautiful, and wildly funny, but she’s afraid of opening herself up to true love and commitment. Though she uses her humor to prevent matters from getting serious, a life-changing visit to her doctor (Gael Garcia Bernal) sends both of them on an eye-opening adventure of mutual discovery, leading to revelations neither thought possible.
The story of how the script came to producer John Davis is not uncommon in Hollywood. While waiting for a friend at the Four Seasons hotel in Los Angeles, Davis struck up a conversation with someone sitting next to him. She had a script, he loved the idea, and the rest is history. But what is uncommon is the delicate mix of comedy and emotion that come together to tell the story of one woman’s ultimate self-discovery.
“A Little Bit of Heaven is a story about a heroic character that, faced with the possibility of her own demise, never lets her comedy down,” explains Davis. “Marley has everything, but uses humor to deflect the pressure to commit emotionally in a relationship. Through the process of finding out that she might die, Marley finds the meaning of her life.”
“Rarely do you read a script where you laugh out loud and you cry, and cry hard,” says producer Neil Sacker. “Here’s a woman who is larger than life, everybody’s best friend, who brings joy to everybody’s life and has everything to look forward to. She finds out that she may have a very limited time to live and in the process she teaches everybody else how to live.”
Together Davis, Sacker and producer Mark Gill began the process of casting the lead actress, as well as finding the film’s director. Hudson and director Nicole Kassell “felt like they were a great combination, and it finally just gelled,” said Davis, who worked on the script for eight years before it started production. Nicole’s directing debut, the critically acclaimed “The Woodsman,” confirmed her ability to work with actors on the subtle levels the script demanded to obtain a mix of comedic, heroic, and dramatic performance.
Not long after celebrating her recent promotion with friends, Marley is diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer. “What really struck me was her journey and the way it affects all those around her; as she in the process of possibly leaving, they are all coming down to Earth,” said Kassell. “I thought, wow this script is a really truthful treatment of the subject matter; it spoke to me and felt like it was a story that would resonate.”
“I love the story and I feel that a movie like this hasn’t been made in a long time,” said Hudson. “I remember after I read the script I cried for 20 minutes. I met with Nicky and realized that the story was representative of so many brave people who have accepted their life as it is. It made me want to join Nicky in making this film and doing it in a way that hopefully you can laugh and you can cry and everyone will be able to relate to.”
“Nicky was passionate about the script from the first meeting,” Gill said. “Based on what we’d seen in The Woodsman, we expected her to have a great take on the drama, which she did. But she also completely understood and relished the humor, which is so crucial to making the film work. It was a very easy and unanimous decision to hire her, and that’s not often the case.” Said Kassell: “I was very honest with them about how I felt the film could be, and that we would laugh hard and cry hard.”
“There will be moments in the movie that people will feel more connected to because it is so close to home,” explained Kate. “Every time I read the script or we did a scene, something about that scene hit me more than it did a previous time. The characters are so full and rounded, and you get to know their dysfunctions and how they deal with their own issues throughout Marley’s journey.”
Image Courtesy of A Little Bit of Heaven