Miss Pettigrew’s old-school feel attracts actor Pace

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Lee Pace and his Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day co-star Amy Adams.

It’s a refrain many of us have heard from movie buffs of our parents’ (and even grandparents’) vintage — “they just don’t make movies like they used to.”

While that statement is likely true, some would argue it’s for good reason that filmmaking has evolved from its low-tech origins.

Others might point out that sometimes directors and writers had it right back in the day. Lovers of romantic comedies who take the latter stand might just have a point.

Golden Globe-nominated actor Lee Pace (Soldier’s Girl, The Good Shepherd) was thinking exactly that when he read the script for the new comedy Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, in which he stars alongside Enchanted’s Amy Adams and Oscar-winner Frances McDormand (Friends With Money).

“That’s one of the things I loved about (the film),” he explains. “It’s light-hearted and old-fashioned.”

Pace cites some of the romantic comedy pairings of Hollywood’s golden era — namely Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn — as examples of rom-com matches that worked well without using overt sexuality to create tension onscreen.

“I feel like a lot of times now a (romantic comedy) movie begins with the divorce and they try to get back together. Or they sleep together at the beginning of the movie and then try to fall in love. It’s a very different structure and maybe that’s kind of the way people live now and that’s how you make the stories fun and accessible.

“(In this film) you’ve got me and Amy who spend the movie sparring with each other and at the end there’s a kiss and that’s all you get.”

Indeed, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a throwback to the days when story and actor chemistry ruled the day in the genre.

In the movie, lowly governess Guinevere Pettigrew (McDormand) loses her job and winds up as the social secretary for flighty American actress Delysia Lafosse (Adams), a social climber whose attentions are torn between three men including the dashing piano player Michael (Pace).

The 28-year-old Pace, who also stars on the television series Pushing Daisies, says he relished the sincerity of the script and the opportunity to bond on camera with the Oscar-nominated Adams in a way that rekindled memories of the films of old.

And just how to go about building that bond isn’t as difficult as one might think, according to the actor.

“It’s not hard to get chemistry going with someone like Amy Adams,” Pace says. “She’s pretty easy to fall in love with (onscreen). We went out for dinner and had a couple of fun nights in London going around and of course that helps when you get back on set and have to be in love, when you have a little bit of history, a little bit of something going on.”

  • Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day opens in theatres today.

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