“I love love stories,” says writer-director Jim Strouse, who takes the helm of Love Again. “Love is always relevant, and this story has a really great twist on it – in that for better and worse, phones are a huge part of our daily lives and how we communicate with each other.”
“This felt like a fantastic opportunity to tell a classic, romantic story that was hugely relevant,” says producer Erica Lee. “I loved the idea that for these characters, these text messages sent into the ether become the magical thing that brings them together.”
“And when they need a little help,” adds producer Basil Iwanyk, “who better than Celine Dion – who knows something about how to express love – to point them in the right direction?”
“It feels to me like the classic romcoms that you just don’t see anymore,” says producer Esther Hornstein. “Two heartbroken people in New York City – with different reasons for their heartbreak – find their way to each other, one knowingly, the other unknowingly. It has a lot of heart and very real characters, anchored by an incredible, layered, and strong female lead.”
In Love Again, Mira Ray – a talented children’s book author and illustrator – deals with the loss of her fiancé by sending a series of romantic texts to his old cell phone number.
“These texts are her way of letting go of her past and embracing her future,” says Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who plays Mira. “That’s scary, because change is scary.”
In a cameo role as her disastrous first date – a swipe-right that should have been a swipe-left – is Chopra Jonas’s husband, Nick Jonas. “We’ve done a few things before here and there, but never a full scene,” he says. “It was a great, new experience for us.”
What Mira doesn’t know is that those texts are being received by Rob Burns, whose new work phone has inherited that old number. Rob, a music journalist, is skeptical about love – it comes with the territory when you are left at the altar. He is struck by the emotional honesty of the texts, which begin just as he is trying to wrap his cynical mind around the heartfelt, emotional music of Celine Dion for a profile he’s been assigned. He finds that the legendary singer just might hold the key to all the answers he’s been looking for.
For Sam Heughan, who is best known for his role as actor and producer, playing Jamie Fraser in the hit Starz series “Outlander”, preparing to play the lead in a romantic comedy wasn’t just getting ready for a role – it was opening up a whole world of film. “I started watching lots of romantic comedies, which I’d avoided over the years because I thought they weren’t for me. But as soon as I started to watch them, I fell in love with them,” he says. “They’re brilliant, they’re adult, they’re funny, they’re dark – it was a revelation to me. And I think this movie is an homage or nod to that tradition.”
The biggest casting coup for the filmmakers was in landing Celine Dion to play the role of Celine Dion in the songstress’s first big-screen acting role.
“The German film has a larger-than-life character,” notes Strouse, referencing the character played by renowned German actress Katja Riemann. “She’s just wonderful in that film, singing these emotional, over-the-top love songs. As we approached the adaptation, I wanted to find a real artist to embody that character. When I thought about Celine’s songs – the content of them and then Celine the person – it was so perfect, because this is a film about overcoming loss and the power of love. She was the first and only choice.”
It’s not so easy to get the attention of a superstar. Hornstein gives credit to Screen Gems executive Scott Strauss for landing Dion – and to the part written for the superstar by Strouse. “Jim wrote an incredible character for Celine as the ultimate matchmaker – not just for romance, but also for soul and philosophy,” says Hornstein. “I think that makes it a character that is also very true to what Celine is really like.”
Jim Strouse (Director / Screenplay) is an award-winning writer and director whose Sundance Film Festival debut, Grace Is Gone (2007) received the Audience Award for Most Popular Dramatic feature, as well as the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. In 2015, Strouse wrote and directed another Sundance favorite, People Places Things. Strouse is also known for The Hollars, which he wrote and executive produced. In 2017, Strouse wrote and directed The Incredible Jessica James which was sold to Netflix in a competitive market. Strouse is currently writing and executive producing the family-approved Jim Valvano biopic – Valvano is famously known for his 1993 ESPY speech recounting his battle with cancer. The feature is based on the acclaimed ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Survive and Advance.” ESPN and Disney are very excited about the project.