Paul Bettany is the beaten-down journeyman. Kirsten Dunst is the fiery American upstart. They meet at the world’s most famous tennis tournament. They fight. They hit some fuzzy green balls. Love blossoms. Sounds like a perfect romantic comedy, right? Except director Richard Loncraine (Richard III) had one little problem: They were both pathetic tennis players. For that, 1987 Wimbledon winner Pat Cash came aboard as an adviser, only to be faced with one star who chain-smokes (Bettany) and another who had something of a temper.
”My first day, I had to be hitting the ball, yelling at the umpire, and serving. And I couldn’t do it,” says Dunst. ”First the ball boy was making fun of me. And then the extras started laughing! When I finally managed it they clapped sarcastically. It totally sucked!” Forget Pat Cash. It sounds like Loncraine would have been better off with McEnroe.