×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Unforgettable’ Director Celebrates Making Femme Villains Multi-Dimensional

Unforgettable” does not follow the garden-variety “crazy ex-girlfriend” film trope. That sentiment — and several derivatives of it — echoed through the famously lofty outdoor foyer of Hollywood Boulevard’s TCL Chinese Theater on Tuesday night, as the female-fronted cast and crew of Warner Bros. Pictures’ twisted psychological thriller celebrated the film’s world premiere.

This movie marks a directorial debut and a preliminary foray into dramatic thrillers for veteran producer Denise Di Novi, who is known for dark comedies like “Heathers,” “Edward Scissorhands,” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Di Novi, who identifies herself as a thriller aficionado and fan of the classic “Hitchcock blonde” slasher genre, was committed to the complexities of the narrative in “Unforgettable.”

“I really related to the themes of the movie,” Di Novi said. “And the opportunity to make a female psychological thriller with two female leads was just too tantalizing to me.”

Equipped with an understanding of the niche film category’s tendency to portray relatively shallow, maniacal female villains (a character trope that has often perpetuated a misogynistic, whittled down stereotype of the female psyche), Di Novi crafted this film with a more authentic narrative in mind.

“I think having compassion and understanding the female villain is what makes this movie different for me,” Di Novi continued. “It’s amazing how much women actually relate to the Katherine Heigl character.”

Heigl carries the film as Tessa, a distraught single mother who rapidly begins to unravel when she discovers that her ex-husband is getting re-married. As Tessa spirals further into heartache and bitterness, she falls deeper into a series of convoluted ploys to punish her ex’s new fiancee.

“She’s not a monster, but she’s terrifying,” says Di Novi. “I think in other films, almost always directed by men, the ‘vengeful ex’ is this one-dimensional monster.”

Still, when confronted with the question, “Who’s the most frightening ex on film?” she firmly responds: Katherine Heigl.

Rosario Dawson, who stars alongside Heigl as the subject of Tessa’s wiling, almost turned down the opportunity to work on the film because of the heaviness of its content — which, in addition to revenge ploys, grapples with domestic violence, mental illness, and PTSD. But, she says, the impressive rolodex of high-powered female voices behind the project finally managed to persuade her.

“Denise really got to me,” Dawson said. “She’s just been such a visionary for so many other people. So, even though she was a first-time director, it felt like she was a veteran.”

And while they managed to shoot the entirety of the film in just 30 days, Dawson reiterated that the uniquely supportive and empowering energy on set was, fittingly, unforgettable.

“There was just something there that I don’t get to experience that often,” she said. “It felt really fresh and new, but it also felt incredibly grounded. It was a powerful experience.”

“Unforgettable” hits theaters for a wide release on Friday, April 21.

More Scene

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content