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Known predominantly for her roles in romantic comedies, Heigl changes things up in Unforgettable, playing Tessa, a disgruntled ex-wife who antagonizes and harasses the new woman in her ex’s life.
Although the film on its surface is about Tessa’s jealousy and how she will stop at nothing to ruin Julia (Dawson) and David’s (Stults) new life together, it also explores themes of women empowerment.
“I love that I got to play a character that has a traumatic background … she became a survivor. She went and got help,” said Dawson, a public advocate for domestic abuse prevention.
Stults, the fought-over leading man in the film, felt like his co-stars helped raise the stakes.
“You get stuck in between some very powerful women and actresses,” he said. “It’s a reminder that every day I had to show up, elevate my game because these [Heigl and Dawson] are pros and it’s time to go to work. It was intimidating and exciting, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.”
The movie was also strategic in its choice to represent how women tend to strive for perfection. Director Denise Di Novi hoped that the characters in the film would be relatable from the pressure they felt to be perfect.
“I call it the tyranny of perfectionism that women suffer from,” she said. “We feel that we have to be perfect at our job, perfect wives, perfect mothers, and we have to be perfectly beautiful, have the perfect figure. Nobody can handle that. It can drive you crazy.”
Unforgettable opens in theaters Friday.
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