Kate Hudson may have tried and failed to lose a guy in 10 days, but she succeeded in cementing her status as one of Hollywood's rom-com queens.
No bulls--t, it really has been 20 years since How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days premiered in theaters on Feb. 7, 2003. And two decades later, audiences still can't get enough of palplable chemistry and playful banter between a then 23-year-old Hudson, fresh off her Golden Globe win for her breakout performance in Almost Famous, and Matthew McConaughey, 33, and fresh off from waltzing off with Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner, with the movie going on to become a classic rom-com for the ages.
But before moviegoers even had a chance to fall for the love story of advice columnist Andie Anderson (Hudson) and advertising executive Ben Barry (McConaughey)—both of whom are entering their relationship with the ill intent of winning a bet at their respective workplaces—director Donald Petrie and his production team had one very big problem to solve: The ending.
In one early version of the draft, Ben finds out about Andie's deception first, so "he makes her life miserable at the party, embarrassing her and you hated him," Petrie exclusively told E! News. "So in the next version we said, 'Okay, well, let's have her find out first,' and she found out first and made his life miserable and hated her."
The solution ultimately came from an unexpected source: Comedy writer Tim Herilhey, who is mostly known for penning beloved Adam Sandler vehicles such as Billy Madison and Big Daddy.
"He did a brilliant job," Petrie recalled, "Because if you look heavily at that scene, they are each finding out about the other at exactly the same time. And thus, they are each acting out on each other simultaneously. It's always a fun push-and-pull between these two characters that really made it so wonderful."
Given that Andie is doing everything in her power to drive Benjamin away, while he's wooing her in order to land a major account at his firm, Petrie said there were constantly conversations on set about how to make sure viewers would still root for the characters, both as individuals and as a couple. And the filmmaker said he knew "pretty much from the get-go" that he had something special with the pairing of Hudson and McConaughey, whom he credited for selling the premise.
"In the scene where Ben has first encountered the craziness that Andie is putting on him, he says, 'I don't get it. What happened to this wonderful girl who was smart?' You can tell he really likes her," explained Petrie. "He's not just doing this for the bet. And she does the same thing. She drives him crazy, she names his penis Princess Sofia! But then she gets on that elevator having feeling like, 'I've done it,' but immediately, she feels sad about that and that she really likes this guy. They really have a great connection, so we made sure that all along, even though they're sparring, these two people really genuinely care for each other."
So go water your love fern before you let it die, frost yourself and then dive into these behind-the-scenes secrets about How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days in honor of its 20th anniversary, including how Hudson fought for McConaughey to be cast:
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is streaming on Paramount Plus.