This much I know: Ken Tucker, screenwriter, 85, and producer, on I Love You, Marry Me

I saw Cinderella first on Broadway and thought that if you make her play the role of the good girl well you win over the audience. When I left the theatre I couldn’t get Cinderella out of my head for months. It was a very well-constructed story. I recorded an audio version that Disney downloaded into a laptop as a radio play. This early work also seemed inspired by Meryl Streep.

As a Christmas present in 1992, my wife and I listened to the audio version and were so struck by its brilliance we decided to direct it together. We ended up teaming up with our friend Tim Thomas to cast a whole stage production. Disney listened to our pitch and the web film was launched to enormous success.

Then, more than a decade ago, Disney asked me to consider adapting it for the screen. The dialogue could be added to give the character of the rabbit more depth – but it was the writing that attracted me. The original text is so rich. At every point, with every character, you get real intelligence. The epic sweep of the story is the trick, and that’s what drew me to it.

I Love You, Marry Me is somewhat of a love story myself, and so was my collaboration with my wife Linda Bloodworth Thomason. We began by creating lovely scenes to introduce the audience to the relationship between Olivia and Donald, and then we worked up the dialogue. This process had to go through eight directors because we didn’t want the script to be unwieldy. We worked hard to find as many humorous moments as possible.

We recorded a script for the film in four months. The marriage happens through fluke and magic but it’s also planned and it’s not even clear exactly why it was planned. We worked with all the songs, too. The words to Over the Rainbow were added to the script, and we tried out quite a few versions. Little Shop of Horrors was added to the film in post-production. I Love You, Marry Me opens on 5 April.

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