From Marc Lawrence, director of romantic comedy hits “Music and Lyrics” and “Two Weeks Notice,” comes Columbia Pictures’ new delightfully funny love story “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker.
The riotous comedy follows a highly successful Manhattan couple, Paul and Meryl Morgan (Grant and Parker), whose almost-perfect lives have only one notable failure – their dissolving marriage. But the turmoil of their romantic lives is nothing compared to what they are about to experience: they witness a murder and become targets of a contract killer. The Feds, protecting their witnesses, whisk away the Morgans from their beloved New York to a tiny town in Wyoming, and a relationship that was on the rocks threatens to end completely in the Rockies… unless, in their new BlackBerry-free lives, the Morgans can slow down the pace and rekindle the passion.
Marc Lawrence is no stranger to writing and directing romantic comedies. But it was while shooting those films that he was developing ideas for “Did You Hear About The Morgans?,” a story that would push his boundaries within the genre by covering new ground: marriage.
“The idea first popped up 10 or 11 years ago,” says Lawrence. “It was a project I’d start and then put away, and I’d keep coming back to it. They say ‘write what you know,’ and for me, the problem with that is I don’t know anything. I never leave my apartment. The only thing I know about is marriage – I met my wife in college and I’ve been married a long, long time.”
But the Morgans’ is not just any marriage. “It’s a marriage in trouble,” notes Lawrence. “These two people have lost their connection specifically because of an infidelity, but the root of the problem is that they had grown apart.”
Hugh Grant, who plays Paul Morgan, sets the scene: “Paul is trying desperately to get Meryl back. And he takes her out for dinner, and on the way back from dinner they witness a murder. They become very important witnesses. The killer has seen them, so the FBI sends them into the witness protection scheme.”
Lawrence utilizes this fish-out-of-water scenario of the Witness Protection Program as an exciting new way to force the couple to face their issues in the wilds of Ray, Wyoming. “This high maintenance New York couple,” explains Grant, “are sent into the Witness Protection scheme in a tiny cowboy town in Wyoming, and that has interesting effects on their marriage.”
Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Meryl Morgan, notes that this premise for a romantic comedy stood out from her previous projects. “I liked its whimsy. I haven’t played somebody like Meryl. I haven’t played somebody in a marriage like hers.”
On top of trying to save their marriage, roughing it without modern conveniences isn’t the worst of Paul and Meryl’s problems. Hot on their trail is the hitman, Vincent, played by Michael Kelly, sent to finish the job and get rid of all witnesses.
That might seem an outrageous setup, but Lawrence says, “It’s just the way I process the world. When I sit down to write, I don’t think, ‘Oh, I’m going to write a comedy.’ I just have an idea – ‘I want to write a story about a *marriage’ – and this is what comes back out.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.