Feature by: Jack Foley
ROMANTIC comedies very rarely appeal to guys as much as girls,
which makes Hitch all the more special for doing so.
"It's a buddy comedy masquerading as a romantic comedy,"
explains director, Andy Tennant.
"It's great to be able to cut from good fun stuff with Eva
and Will to scenes with Kevin and Will - they have such great
Hence, the movie finds Will Smith as a New York date doctor who
helps men to woo and win the women of their dreams, while simultaneously
trying to sort out his own love life.
It works on two levels - as both a romantic comedy between Smith
and Eva Mendes' sceptical gossip columnist, and as a buddy comedy
in which Smith helps the bumbling Kevin James to attract the object
of his desire in the beautiful form of Amber Valletta.
As such, it balances moments of laugh-out loud humour with the
sort of romantic sentiment that's designed to appeal to both sexes
no matter how sceptical they may initially feel.
"Will and I had had a whole conversation about every time
the movie goes soft, or romantic, we've got to go funny - soft/romantic,
kick her in the head; soft/romantic blow up his face," continues
"And so that became a mantra and we realised at the end
of the movie that we didn't want them to kiss and it's over.
"So we shot the wedding dance sequence because I think you
forgive whatever shortcomings the movie has - and it has plenty
- because when they're dancing and being goofy, why would you
hate it? Nobody's saying it's anything great, it's just fun!"
It's hard to believe, then, that shooting the film was one of
the most hectic and stressful experiences of Tennant's career.
"Will and I - we didn't clash - but we fought every day,"
"We threw out the script every
morning - I mean we never shot a scene that was written. We re-wrote
it, we kind of broke it down and de-constructed it in the rehearsal
"It was so frustrating for me, but I could never at the
end of the day disagree that the scene we shot was better than
the scene we planned to shoot. It became kind of this runaway
"I felt like a salmon swimming up-stream; it was like, I'm
trying to make the movie that's up here and if I get there I'm
going to die, so I might as well just turn around and go with
the flow this way. I didn't even know what we had until... so
when I first saw the movie it was like 'oh, this doesn't suck'."
The result far from sucks and has since become one of the biggest
romantic comedies of all-time in America, where it enjoyed a two-week
stint at the top of the box office, despite strong competition
from the likes of Keanu Reeves' Constantine.
For Tennant alone, it marks his biggest commercial success as
a director and has possibly opened the door to plenty more projects.
But would he work with Smith again?
"I wouldn't have," he laughs, candidly. "But I
have a memo that I wrote to myself that is about the next time
you work with Will let's just remember... it's like being pregnant
"The baby comes out and it's a beautiful $170 million baby
and you go 'that's great, let's do that again'. You forget the
pain of the pregnancy depending on the baby that's born. So I
wrote a memo about all the zany, crazy shit that went down.
"But I would do it again because what happened was, it was
the month of learning the process and him not trusting me and
me not trusting him that caused some of the chaos.
"Once I turned around and swam down-stream with the flow,
however, it was exhilarating. It was fun and it was scary but
that was part of the kind of beauty of it - I did know at the
end of every difficult day that we had beat the dragon and the
dragon hadn't beat us.
"I did not end the day thinking 'wow, you really fucked
that one up'."