One night during dinner, Jennifer Lawrence asked her friend, writer-director Gene Stupnitsky what he was currently working on.
Stupnitsky, a former co-head writer for The Office and writer/director of the hit comedy Good Boys, shared his inspiration: a real-life Craigslist post that producers Marc Provissiero and Naomi Odenkirk had found.
And thus No Hard Feelings was born.
In No Hard Feelings, Jennifer Lawrence plays Maddie who, on the brink of losing her childhood home, discovers an intriguing job listing: wealthy helicopter parents looking for someone to “date” their introverted 19-year-old son, Percy, before he leaves for college. No Hard Feelings, a laugh-out-loud, edgy comedy co-produced by Lawrence, opens across Philippine cinemas June 21.
Watch the red band trailer here:
During that dinner, as Stupnitsky shared what the Craigslist post was about, Lawrence just couldn’t help cracking up. “That made me laugh extra hard, because we were having martinis,” says Lawrence. “I said, ‘Whatever you write, I’d love to read it.’ And then I read the funniest script I’ve ever read.”
To help him develop the project, Stupnitsky brought on producer Alex Saks. “Every time I read a new version of the script, it was like unwrapping a present,” she says. “Gene and [co-writer] John Phillips are always pushing for better, funnier, smarter, more grounded in character, and that’s why the script is as good as it is – they just don’t settle for what works – they always strive to push it further.”
What was Stupnitsky’s first question in writing a movie inspired by the outrageous Craigslist ad – in which some overprotective parents sought a young woman to seduce their incredibly shy and awkward son to prep him for college? “My first question was, ‘What type of parents would do this?’ My second question was ‘What’s going on in the life of a woman who responds to it?’” he says. His co-writer Phillips came up with the idea of making it “helicopter parents, and that is when everything fell into place,” continues Stupnitsky. Specifically with Lawrence in mind, Stupnitsky and Phillips wrote the character of Maddie, who, in No Hard Feelings, answers a similar ad.
“She’s a spirited, kind-hearted, fun-loving, bold, funny lady,” says Lawrence of Maddie, “but she’s also desperate. She is desperate to save her mother’s home, but the taxes keep going up, and it’s getting harder and harder for locals to maintain living wages.”
When the opportunity with Percy, played by Andrew Barth Feldman, arises, Maddie’s financial difficulties have reached a breaking point. Now, she has one summer to get the painfully uncool 19-year-old to come out of his shell – or she’ll lose everything important to her.
For the comedy to work, the writers made sure to strike the balance of making the comedy wild and outrageous, but also grounded and real.
About No Hard Feelings
Jennifer Lawrence produces and stars in No Hard Feelings, a laugh-out-loud, edgy comedy from director Gene Stupnitsky (Good Boys) and the co-writer of Bad Teacher.
On the brink of losing her childhood home, Maddie (Lawrence) discovers an intriguing job listing: wealthy helicopter parents looking for someone to “date” their introverted 19-year-old son, Percy, before he leaves for college. To her surprise, Maddie soon discovers the awkward Percy is no sure thing.
Opening in cinemas June 21, No Hard Feelings is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Connect with the hashtag #NoHardFeelings