Playing Stephanie Plum — a lingerie saleswoman-turned-bounty hunter — in “One for the Money” has taught Katherine Heigl one thing: She likes to shoot stuff. “I really enjoyed it because it was super-satisfying and cathartic on some level,” she says of the gunplay she did for the film. “It was fun, I had a good time. I started wanting to go to the gun range regularly. And then I started shooting clay pigeons with [husband] Josh [Kelly]. I really like to shoot things. Who knew?”
Not that firearms are necessarily new to her, but the work on this film added a new level of reality to it for the former “Grey’s Anatomy” star. “I mean, I’ve been wielding guns in films since I was 15, but they’re fake and there’s no actual bullet in them,” she says. “So they took us to a shooting range to practice, because there are certain things you’re not supposed to do. ... It was really intimidating and nerve-wracking the first time they put a loaded gun in your hand.” But clearly she got over that.
All the shooting in “One for the Money” is aimed at attracting a more diverse audience than your usual romantic comedy fare — especially since the movie is based on one of 17 books in the Stephanie Plum series by author Janet Evanovich. Clearly, there are hopes for a franchise. “I think what’s sort of interesting about the books is they all have a murder mystery tie-in ... so it’s not all just about romance, it’s not all just about comedy,” Heigl says. “I think that we’re working hard to advertise it so that everyone knows that it’s a good time for everyone — men and women included. Tough men. Tough men will love this movie,” she adds with a laugh.
Guns and tough guys aside, in the end, the one detail that Heigl and her co-producers agonized over the most was her hair. “She’s brunette. Her look is very specific in the book, and once you get attached to that idea in your head, [you] couldn’t imagine Stephanie any other way,” Heigl says. “It was disconcerting, I think, for certain fans to see me as a brunette — and then it was disconcerting for fans of the books to imagine me as Stephanie because I’m blond and blah blah blah. So I dyed it brown before we started filming. ... And then I ended up just wearing a wig because I don’t have curly hair and Stephanie does. And then I went back to blond while promoting the movie, so I didn’t really think it through. But hopefully people will buy it.”
Learning to stop grousing
In “One for the Money,” Katherine Heigl got the chance to work with screen and stage legend Debbie Reynolds, who pops up as her sass-talking grandmother. Heigl says it also gave a chance to put her long work hours into perspective.
“I was sort of complaining one day about the hours — as I’m known to do — and Gary, our producer, said, ‘Oh, you ought to hear Debbie’s stories about her hours [on “Singing in the Rain”],’” Heigl recalls. “It was so horrifying what that woman went through to make that movie. I think she said they were working something like 20 hours a day, and she would get a few hours of sleep on the sofa in her dressing room and then go back to work a few hours later.”