Female friendships are a complicated and necessary means to our survival as women. Every girl needs a committee of like-minded beings to help her navigate the various stages of life, good and bad. Sometimes that means hours of wine-induced laughter, and other times it’s a littler heavier than that. That’s the theme of Catherine Hardwicke’s touching dramedy Miss You Already. Get out your hankies, folks.
Starring Tony Collette and Drew Barrymore who play best friends who have been close and nearly inseparable since childhood. Milly (Collette) is a successful PR executive with a doting husband and kids. Jess (Barrymore) is a conservationist living on a houseboat with her boyfriend. When Milly is diagnosed with cancer just as Jess discovers she’s pregnant, their friendship is put to the test.
I asked screenwriter Morwenna Banks if she used any of her own experiences or anecdotes when developing the script.
“The seeds of it started at a time in my life where people around me were being diagnosed with very challenging illnesses in their 30s and I witnessed people trying to deal with that with lives, with families, children, partners, jobs and it’s like a bomb being thrown into that and I wanted to write about the impact,” explained Banks.
“I didn’t want it to be a fetishization of the female friendship, you know, that everything’s fine and everything’s great all the time and everyone goes out and wears high heels and laughs a lot. It’s complicated.”
Barrymore and Collette became close during filming, which was evident as they both gushed about one another on the red carpet and during the introduction of the film, walking out on stage holding hands.
When asked how she prepared for the role, Collette said matter-of-factly “we had an amazing script.”
“If I know too much about what I’m doing it loses something special that you perhaps might create on the day. So I prefer it to be a little bit of a mystery.”
According to IMDB, Jennifer Aniston was originally cast in the role of Jess but dropped out after the project was delayed. Rachel Weisz was then cast in the role, but after dropping out she was replaced by Barrymore. You hear these stories all the time about who could have played who after a film is released, but as they, everything happens for a reason and Barrymore was meant to play this part.
It’s the ultimate girlfriend movie, and not in a cocktail-consuming-man-problems kind of way, but from a much more authentic perspective. Life is messy and female relationships can be complex but when things go to shit, your truest girlfriends are the ones who will rally behind you.
“If people relate to the film that means something real connected. If it creates something real in someone’s life, then it transcended the filming aspect and that, I think, is probably the point in the first place,” said Barrymore before high-fiving the photogs, peeking out to wave at the rain-soaked fans and ducking into the theatre.
Originally published in The Province.