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WORKING GIRL (1988)

icon-dots A CELEBRATION OF 20TH CENTURY FOX, FESTIVAL TRIBUTES
Discussion before

One of the rewards of being a casting director is matching the perfect actor with the perfect role. That’s what happened when Juliet Taylor helped land Melanie Griffith her first big box-office hit as the Staten Island secretary who dreams of rising to the top in business. Twentieth Century Fox was on board with Kevin Wade’s script featuring a leading lady, both Pygmalion and Galatea, as she transforms herself into the perfect executive type. But the studios had hoped to use a box-office name in the leading role. Director Mike Nichols convinced them to go with Griffith but not without a cost. The downside of casting is having to disappoint someone you believe in. Taylor and Nichols had originally wanted Alec Baldwin, who was just getting started in movies, as the leading man, but Fox insisted they needed a box-office draw in that role. Baldwin graciously accepted a smaller role as Griffith’s unfaithful boyfriend so Harrison Ford could take the lead. With Sigourney Weaver as Griffith’s duplicitous boss and Joan Cusack as Griffith’s best friend, the movie had the perfect cast. The film scored with both critics and audiences and brought Griffith, Weaver, Cusack and Nichols Oscar nominations. It also won Carly Simon Best Song for “Let the River Run.” (d. Mike Nichols, 113m, DCP)

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