Desperate Housewives co-star Eva Longoria goes from TV to the big screen to play a jealous ghost in a light romantic comedy co-starring Paul Rudd, Lake Bell and Jason Biggs. Alan Silverman has a look at Over Her Dead Body.
It's that odd comedy that starts out with a main character's death. Eva Longoria plays Kate, who is so obsessed with every detail of her wedding day that she doesn't see the toppling ice sculpture (of an angel) ...until it's too late.
With just hours to go before her nuptials, Kate is crushed and her husband-to-be - Henry, played by Paul Rudd - is left with a broken heart. Flash forward to a year later and Henry's meddling sister takes him to a medium - an attractive, young medium, by the way - in an effort to help him deal with the tragedy:
Skeptical Henry doesn't believe any communication is possible; so his sister slips some secrets to the medium, Ashley.
Ethical dilemma aside, she finds Henry attractive and he seems drawn to her, too. The trouble is Kate ...or Kate's spirit ...is watching and determined to nip the romance in the bud. Kate reveals herself to Ashley (apparently she really does have a gift); but only the medium can see or hear the ghost.
As the jealous spirit, Longoria gets to slip in and out of scenes and make everyone's life a comic nightmare.
"When I read the script I thought 'how fun to play a ghost' because anything is possible," Longoria says. " I get to float and levitate and make noises. In movies I feel like you have to have that extreme circumstance, especially in a comedy. If you're going to go for it, go for it. I thought it was necessary to go there and make it real for me. It's possible. Walking through doors and people. I find that it's pretty believable (laughs)."
Lake Bell, known for her recurring character on the TV series Boston Legal, is medium Ashley whose little white lies in the name of love have unexpected complications. Bell says she has no problem surrendering to the romantic comedy genre.
"In terms of love and life I think you always end up doing strange things anyway ...even in real life: the kind of things where you look back in 10 years and say 'I can't believe I did that," Bell says. "Why did I say that? I can't believe I sent that e-mail!' All those things are sort of realistic because love can be absurdist, sometimes."
Jason Biggs who, in the American Pie movies proved how far he is willing to go for the sake of comedy, plays Ashley's close friend and confidante.
" The hope is that the characters are as based in reality as possible; and even if they're not because, let's be honest, my character in Over Her Dead Body is keeping up this ruse for five years," Biggs says. "You either have to be so romantic or so psycho to do that ...or a little bit of both. It's serious suspension of disbelief. Part of that is you kind of give in to the genre and cinematic credibility; you just kind of go along with it, but my hope was that I played the character as real as possible even though the character himself was doing sort of unrealistic things or, at least, things that not many people can relate to."
Television veteran Jeff Lowell makes his feature film directing debut with Over Her Dead Body for which he also wrote the screenplay.
"I am obviously a fan of the genre or I wouldn't write in it; and I'm a student of the genre," Lowell says. "To me the toughest thing about romantic comedy is that you know the ending: the two people on the poster kissing will end up together and you know it going in. You know that Lake is going to end up with Paul because they are the only two people in the romantic triangle who are alive. It is not a matter of 'will Eva get the man?' You know that she won't. So hopefully the comedy comes from the complications of getting the two together."
Over Her Dead Body also features comedy veterans Lindsay Sloane as the meddling sister and Stephen Root plays the sculptor whose toppling ice angel ends a life and begins a romance. Also of note in the cast list: with this film the newly-wed star introduces her married name in the credits: Eva Longoria Parker.