Robert Luketic directs star Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl © Lakeshore Entertainment

Robert Luketic made his feature film debut directing the smash hit Legally Blonde produced by Lakeshore Entertainment, and went onto helm the comedies Monster-in-Law and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. Now Lakeshore and Luketic are back with the irreverent comedy The Ugly Truth in which Katherine Heigl portrays the producer of A.M. Sacramento, a talk show which is suffering from a ratings slump. Enter Make Chadway (Gerard Butler), a outrageously chauvinistic TV personality, with his unique take on women and dating, which becomes an instant ratings bonanza. But can these to conflicting characters find true love … what do you think?

What was it about this project that attracted you?

Robert Luketic directs star Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl © Lakeshore Entertainment

My very first feature was Legally Blonde, so it was wonderful to have this chance to get back with the same screenwriters and have that kind of fun again. Then I heard that Lakeshore was talking to Katherine Heigl and I immediately said, ‘If she’s in, I’m in.”

What was it like working with Katherine and Gerard Butler?
This is what amazes me about Katherine, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this with any other actor I’ve worked with, she’ll pick up a script, and it could be a rewrite like something totally different that we have not had a chance to rehearse or even discuss, and she’ll go, ‘Right, I’m ready.’ And Gerry has got to read it and absorb it and get into it. What’s wonderful about these two actors is that they each have a different process. It made for a very interesting set.

This is quite a raunchy comedy. Are you surprised how romantic comedies have changed over the years?

The film's stars Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl © Lakeshore Entertainment

There was this saccharine style of romantic comedy that people just weren’t going to anymore and if you really sat down and analyzed why that was, it was because there was a lack of honesty and there was this sort of optimistic gloss that, as a society, I just don’t think we’re really like any more. It’s not the 50s any more. And certainly I’m not saying that there is no longer an audience for that style of romantic comedy, I just don’t think there is that big an audience, and there is now room to expand romance and explore other parts of it, how real people speak and behave, and a little more honesty. And that’s why I found this very liberating. There was no more, ‘Gosh, darn, you’re so cute.’ But I would be crucified if the couple didn’t end up together. I mean that’s the whole point of why we date and love each other. People say romantic comedy is formulaic, but it is what it is, and people will end up together. After sitting through an hour and a half of this movie for them to say, ‘Okay, see you later,’ and go off and have another life. That’s not the point of it. The journey in these types of movies and the characters and the chemistry and the little situations we create, that is what is entertaining, and that’s what is fun. And that’s what I loved doing in this movie.

You really must like working with Katherine, because you’re making another movie with her now called Five Killers

Katherine Heigl with co-star Gerard Butler © Lakeshore Entertainment

I knew after she came to my house two hours late for a meeting that I was going to work with her for the rest of my life. There’s a shorthand I have with Katherine; there is a magic she brings to anything she does, there is a life, there is a presence I love working with. And apart from how professional she is, I like her as a person. Often in our business, there is a lot of clashes in personalities and people, people form weird energies around each other, and I just don’t get that with her. There’s a comfort there. We don’t like to do a hundred takes. We’re efficient in how we like to do things. We know exactly what we want. I mean there’s just something kindred there.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter. More by Judy Sloane