Carly Whitten (Diaz) is a tough-as-nails New York lawyer with a strict set of rules when it comes to men and relationships. When she meets Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), she lets her guard down and begins to fall for him. A spontaneous, surprise visit to King’s Connecticut home goes awry when Carly discovers that Mark has a wife, Kate (Mann). A devoted super-housewife, Kate is shocked that Mark has been cheating on her, and Carly is furious to learn that Mark is a married man. But instead of directing their outrage toward one another, Carly and Kate slowly begin to bond over their joint enemy, and, with help from Amber (Upton), a third woman caught up in Mark’s lies, they conspire to give him what he deserves. As their strategies become more ingenious, their bond grows stronger.
Diaz was immediately attracted to the story and its fresh look at how women relate to one another in the face of unusual circumstances: “I thought it was such an interesting concept. When Carly realizes that Mark is married, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him or the wife. But here’s this other woman, Kate, who is asking for her help, and there’s no way she cannot help her.”
“I just thought that is a beautiful thing,” Diaz continues. “It’s about friendship and about women. What I also loved about the script is that it wasn’t man-bashing and it wasn’t about revenge. It’sabout a journey that these women take with one another to learn about themselves. The three women’s lives are so different that their paths would have never crossed under normal circumstances. And because they have this thing in common, they come together and become a team. What they do to Mark is more to reveal who he is rather than to be vengeful on him. I thought all of those things were unique and a lot of fun to bring to life.”
Leslie Mann, who portrays suburban über-homemaker Kate, has, says producer Julie Yorn, “this archetypal suburban wife thing with just a little pathos under the surface that could come undone. We always thought there was an unexpected quality to this tightly wound character, and Leslie really made that come alive.”
Mann describes Kate as “living in a bubble. She’s learned one way of doing things, and it’s all about serving her husband and making him happy. I think she’s lost herself in that process. So when Kate finds out he’s cheating, her whole world falls apart until she finds these women who help her grow and rebuild herself.”
Writer Melissa Stack notes the important differences between Mann’s Kate and Diaz’ Carly: “Kate is Carly’s opposite; she’s an outer softy and an inner hard ass. It’s that journey where both Kate and Carly are getting in touch with the inner part of themselves that has maybe been a little bit swept to the side.”
It can never be predicted if two actors will have good chemistry on or off screen, but the Diaz-Mann dynamic worked from the start. The two actresses found a groove and were able to improvise and make each other laugh from the first day of filming.
Mann explains their synergy by comparing it to music: “There are certain people who have an ear for comedy. It’s like a song and a rhythm, so when you’re doing comedy, if the other person isn’t hearing the same thing as you are, it just lays there and dies. Cameron hears the same thing as I do. We can pick up where the other one lets off and it’s like a good give-and-take. And Kate Upton has that, too. She knows how to play things and she’s super-smart.”
For the role of Amber, the third woman deceived by Mark, Yorn considered a number of actresses, but in securing Kate Upton, the producer ended up where she started. Yorn explains: “Initially, we used Kate as the loose prototype of the character, never thinking we were actually going to get her. But she came in and she was just so disarming. The key to that role was that you have to hate her when you first see her, at least a little bit, and then love her when you get to know her. She fits the bill so well for both of those situations.”
Stack marveled at the similarities between the character Amber and Kate Upton the person. “Kate is such a bombshell but she’s very sweet,” says the screenwriter.“Kate has this lightness and a kind way about her that is perfect for Amber. That was always who we all hoped Amber would be.”
Upton enjoyed her first major acting role under the tutelage of Diaz and Mann. “I am so lucky to have one of my first movies to be with Leslie and Cameron,” she says. “They’re so inspiring.”
“The Other Woman” is a very funny and authentic film examining the value of female camaraderie that will open on May 7 in theaters from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.