Katherine Heigl has a habit of turning people against her. But after alienating audiences and aggravating producers with backhanded answers in interviews, Heigl may have found a role that proves her capabilities as a leading lady.
For instance, after holding her own in the male dominated pregnancy comedy Knocked Up, she told Vanity Fair that she thought the movie was “a little sexist” because it portrayed its female characters as shrews. She later clarified the comments to People and added that “it was the best filming experience of [her] career,” but by then the damage was done.
She did the same thing with her breakout role in Grey’s Anatomy. Heigl’s Izzie was charming, funny and vulnerable. I’ll always remember the time in season 1 when, after getting harassed for her modeling career, Izzie rips open her shirt and shouts, ”Breasts! How does anyone practice medicine with these things around?” But then as soon as she seemed to be winning people over with her acting, in 2008 she withdrew her name from Emmy consideration because she didn’t believe that season’s writing was up to snuff.
At the time, Heigl may have been desperate to break out of TV to jumpstart her film career, but that didn’t go exactly as planned. After her breakout performance in Knocked Up, she’s consistently been cast in (and chosen) ice queen roles in movies. And her last two movies where she was the lead — Killers and Life As We Know It – made $20-$30 million less than her earlier films, according to Vulture’s Star Market analysis. She no longer can demand $13 million a project or greenlight a movie just by signing on.
And she’s put her foot in her mouth during interviews more than she’d probably like to remember. In their first report on her, Vulture interviewed a publicist who called Heigl a “risk” and said, “She’s almost her own enemy. You have to be so careful which outlets you’re going to put her with.”
But One for the Money could change that. Heigl might not have been the obvious choice to play Jersey girl/bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, but this is probably the most even, consistently smart/sexy/funny performance she’s put out in years. And with eighteen books published (and more coming out), she may have stumbled into the perfect fit: A reliable franchise that sets her up as a relatable, funny heroine.
One for the Money comes out today, and Heigl is cautiously optimistic about the chances of tying everyone in to an ongoing movie series. While shooting the film in late 2011, she told fans that “as of right now it’s more a dream than a reality.” But now, days away, she sounds more confident. ”My goal is to do two or three movies from the series,” she told the Montreal Gazette. “But you never know, it could be like the James Bond series.”