Katherine Heigl and Edward Burns Discuss '27 Dresses'

Katherine Heigl in one of her many bridesmaid dresses in 27 Dresses. © 20th Century Fox

27 Dresses has the honor of being the first romantic comedy of 2008. The film stars Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy) as a woman who is so into helping everyone around her, she winds up not only doing bridesmaid duty 27 times, but also helping to plan 27 weddings. Edward Burns co-stars as the handsome boss she has an intense crush on.

Katherine Heigl and Edward Burns Press Conference

Ed, your character is just about perfect. The guy loves dogs, he’s got his own business…are there guys like that out there? Do you know any?

Edward Burns: “The perfect guy - you start with ‘loves dogs’. (Laughing) No, there aren’t any guys like this. It was a little bit like playing a cartoon. He’s a caricature of some kind of perfect guy. Yeah, they do not exist.”

How is this project for you, timing-wise? Is it anything that you imagined doing?

Katherine Heigl: “It was very coincidental timing. I had been planning my wedding for a year and a half. Fox just decided to release this in January, so that’s not my fault. I thought it was interesting because both Malin [Akerman] were planning weddings during the movie. Malin actually went off and got married, came back to work, and there was a ton of wedding talk. Definitely all the details, all the planning, and we hoped the day would turn out. It was just really funny to see Malin come back to work. She could not stop saying, ‘My husband…,’ over and over. It was awesome, and it was exciting.”

Do you want a wedding like the one we see at the end of this film?

Katherine Heigl: “Well, I’m having a smaller wedding. It’s a Christmas wedding, and so it’s a totally different vibe. What is kind of great about it is that I kind of got to have the best of both worlds. In fantasyland, I got to have the beach wedding that was beautiful, fabulous, and wonderful.

Hopefully my wedding will be just as nice.”

Katherine, you have been on quite a roll lately with the show and movies taking off. Did you notice you entered another level after the summer?

Katherine Heigl: “I think that the nature of my career certainly changed drastically. It seemed to happen all at once, so it was hard to keep a perspective on it. I think it’s just been the most gratifying and gracious year of my life, personally and professionally. I can only hope that 2008 is just as wonderful, maybe in a different way, because I’m scared to hope that it would be just as awesome as this year.”

Do you have a memory of having to wear a particularly bad bridesmaid dress and what was your favorite of the ones you had to wear in the film?

Katherine Heigl: “I haven’t yet had to wear a terrible bridesmaid dress. My sister, who got married in October, was very considerate about her bridesmaid dresses. My best friend, who got married like 8 years ago, was also very considerate. No one was trying to make us look bad, which was nice.

My favorite of the bridesmaid dresses was, well, I have a couple, but the one in particular was the Gone With the Wind one. I felt very Scarlett O’Hara, which was fun for me.

Then I don’t know…the one I didn’t like was lots, like 26 of them.”

Did you have any memories from being in a wedding that you used to get into character?

Katherine Heigl: “My sister got married in October and I was the maid of honor. That was the first time that I really had the role for real. I wished it had happened before the movie actually. I would have had a better perspective on why Jane was so insane. It’s a stressful role, because you want to make sure that you take care of everything that needs to be taken care of, so that the bride herself will have an amazing day. It’s also kind of a big honor because I adore my sister. The fact that she wanted me by her side that day was really important to me. But, it’s stressful. I wouldn’t do it twice in a day, let alone every other weekend.”

How do you balance your work as an actor with your work as a director?

Edward Burns: “It’s sort of apples and oranges. When I show up on a set as an actor, quite honestly it’s a great relief not to have to worry about where you are going to put the camera, what color the walls are, or if that scene is in good enough shape to shoot. My career is kind of like I will direct one or two movies in a row, then I’ll tell my agents, ‘Look, I want to take a year off and find me some acting work,’ so that I can just really go and have fun.”

You said that directing is harder work. Is acting not as big a challenge?

Edward Burns: “No, no, acting is a challenge. Playing George is not necessarily a challenge. He is there to serve the story, so my job in this film, is to listen to Anne Fletcher, our director, and make sure that he’s a version of any straight man. The hijinx surrounds him. My role is to play it straight. It’s a great pleasure when you get t play the lead and you aren’t just the girlfriend. In this case I’m the girlfriend and you do your job. In this case, this was an easier role than some others. Certainly, directing a film is tougher than putting on George’s suit and hair, then hitting your marks.”

Do you have any advice for a single woman?

Katherine Heigl: “I met my fiancé when I wasn’t looking. I know that is a cliché thing to say, it doesn’t really help all that much, because what does that even mean? I had sort of given up on the idea of marriage and family. I had a relationship that ended.

I was really disappointed, and I had all these high hopes. I just went, ‘Screw it, I don’t need a man…’ I sort of had given up on the concept of it and figured I could do it on my own. If I wanted to have a family, I could do it on my own. Then boom! I met this guy that I couldn’t imagine living without.

I think the more you want it, the more you are looking for it, the more you repel it for whatever reason. I don’t know why. If you kind of create this vacuum, let life take its course, then you tend to free yourself up for the unexpected. I think, especially for Jane in 27 Dresses, Kevin [played by James Marsden] was clearly the unexpected choice for her. That is what ended up working out when she was able to let go of her ideals. No, she didn’t let go of her ideals, but her idea of what the perfect man would be. That was clearly not George [Edward Burns’ character].”

Continued on Page 2

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Katherine Heigl and Edward Burns Press Conference

Do you love weddings? Was that the appeal of this movie?

Katherine Heigl: “I am not that kind of girl, really. I haven’t been to very many weddings. I’ve only been to a total of four weddings in my whole life. One was my friend’s, who I was a bridesmaid at, but that was so long ago I barely remember it. It was also a Mormon wedding so you don’t actually get to go to the ceremony.

You are just there for the reception. An ex-boyfriends brothers wedding, which I don’t really remember either. Then recently I went to Kate Walsh’s and my sister’s.

At Kate’s wedding I was so not going to cry, it didn’t even come into my brain. I had nothing on me, no tissues or anything, and I was looking at people with their tissues like, ‘Oh, you guys are lame. It’s not that dramatic.’ As soon as the music started, I started crying. She hadn’t even walked out yet and I was crying. I was sharing a corner of tissue with Keisha Chambers, Justin [Chambers’] wife, trying to stop the flow. Obviously I’m a little more sentimental than I originally thought. I do love a great wedding. That was a particularly awesome and fun wedding, with a gospel choir. My sister, I mean come on, it’s my sister. It was the most glorious day. She was glorious and perfect. I cried pretty much constantly.

I wanted to do this movie, not because it was wedding-themed, but because I loved the character so much.

It was such an awesome opportunity to get to do some comedy as well. Not to just be the foil, the girlfriend, or the daughter, the sister. To actually play a major part in the comedy is what I love to do. That’s what I meant in that regard.”

You couldn’t completely identify with this character so how did you get into the role?

Katherine Heigl: “I identified with aspects of her. She was an extreme, but I’ve met and known women like her. They have taken a back seat to what everyone else wants. They don’t really go after their own happiness. What I loved about Jane was the progression of her character. She starts out just a doormat. There are very clear and honest reasons for that, like her mother dying when she was little, her relations with her sister, and you understand why she doesn’t go after George. She’s his assistant, she works for him, and it would be unprofessional. At the same time, it’s easier than proclaiming your love for somebody and being turned down. She’s sort of chosen the path of least resistance for herself. It ends up hurting her. By the end of the movie there is that dramatic scene where she [spoiler deleted]. She is able to break the habit of it and find happiness for herself. She makes that a priority and I liked that part.”

Can you talk about how romantic you are and what romance means to you? Is it flowers or something simpler?

Edward Burns: “Yeah, on a scale of 1 to 10 I’m probably a 7. I’m fairly romantic with flowers, wine, and bubble bath - maybe - if the mood strikes me. No, I guess I’m relatively romantic.”

Katherine Heigl: “I’m not terribly sentimental. I have my moments, but generally speaking I shy away from being too lovey dovey. I don’t know why. I must have issues that I probably need to address. I think Josh’s biggest complaint is that when he’s on tour, and we are talking on the phone, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I love you too.’ I’m not going to be like, ‘I miss you so much and I love you!’ I just can’t. It’s just not my thing. But I definitely try on special occasions or just spontaneously, to do something really special for him. That can be as simple as making dinner or tickling his back. I don’t make big grand gestures, generally. Maybe I should.”

The scene where you sing Bennie and the Jets, did you talk about how you were going to do that with James Marsden?

Katherine Heigl: “It’s my favorite scene.

It was the most fun to film, and one of those great fantasy fulfillment moments. There is no way in hell I would ever do such a thing, or get drunk enough to do such a thing. It was so fun to actually get to be that person for that day of filming. Jimmy [Marsden] is just stupid funny so it made it really easy to play off of him. The only problem is that he can actually sing. He has a really great voice, which I thought was a really unfair advantage. I asked him to please work to sing badly, so that I didn’t look like such an idiot. It was a really long day but it never got old. Take after take, it was just the most fun to do.”

Did you make up the lyrics when you were messing around with the song?

Katherine Heigl: “No, they wrote them like that and I think James had a little bit to do with influencing how that would happen. For me I was like, ‘These aren’t them, are they? These aren’t the lyrics.’ Somebody this morning brought in the actual lyrics and they make even less sense.”

With apologies to Elton John.

Katherine Heigl: “Yeah, I was like, ‘We should call him. He has some hidden meanings in this that we don’t know.”

If the Writers Guild does not grant a waiver for the Emmy show, have you given any thought to whether you will cross the picket line to do the show?

Katherine Heigl: “I suppose it would depend on who else would cross. I’m going to get in trouble, no, I’ve been asked by my guild not to cross the picket line and I have to respect that. I would be really uncomfortable doing that because I think it makes a really big statement that I’m not sure I want to make.

The reality is that I really, really, really want to go. I hope they get the waiver because I think it’s just an awesome, fun night to celebrate. I think that this community deserves that once a year…or 14 times a year. There are like 14 different award ceremonies now. It’s the most special though.”

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Murray, Rebecca. "Katherine Heigl and Edward Burns Discuss '27 Dresses'." ThoughtCo, Aug. 30, 2016, thoughtco.com/actors-discuss-27-dresses-2420328. Murray, Rebecca. (2016, August 30). Katherine Heigl and Edward Burns Discuss '27 Dresses'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/actors-discuss-27-dresses-2420328 Murray, Rebecca. "Katherine Heigl and Edward Burns Discuss '27 Dresses'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/actors-discuss-27-dresses-2420328 (accessed November 24, 2017).