Countdown to "New Year's Eve" Movie

A stellar ensemble cast led by Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank and Sofia Vergara will ring in the 2011 holiday season with New Line Cinema's romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve.”

Director Gary Marshall, renowned for a catalogue of films that capture love in so many rich, warm and funny ways, calls it New Year's Eve “the perfect opportunity to take stock of things, to think about the mistakes of the past year and about how maybe you can do better. A time to be thankful for what you have. But it’s also a fun, exciting, wonderful time, full of anticipation—and yes, some craziness. Mostly it’s about hope, when everything you want seems possible again, if you’re willing to take another chance.”

Undeniably, romance steals the show in the countdown hours of December 31st as many couples look forward to that special midnight kiss, others seize the magic of the evening to make lifelong commitments, and still others decide to take a chance on someone new who might just be “the one.” But the emotional reach of the holiday goes further. While “New Year’s Eve” serves up romance in some of its myriad delicious and maddening stages, it also looks at love in some of its other forms: forgiveness, compassion, and the everyday miracle of people opening their hearts to a different point of view.

The movie addresses these ideas in a collection of individual stories told as if randomly selected among the countless tales that play out every day. Each stands alone but some touch briefly upon one another, while others ultimately cross paths to a perfect closure. Marshall, a one-time jazz-band drummer, says, “I hear the music under every scene, the beats and the notes in the dialogue. In ‘New Year’s Eve’ there are some very touching moments and a lot of comedy, a lot of different stories to tell, and each one has its own rhythm. I like to move things around, to balance the intensity of one scene against the lightness of another.”

Producers Mike Karz and Wayne Rice reunited with Marshall and their “Valentine’s Day” screenwriter Katherine Fugate to explore dozens of potential characters and scenarios before narrowing the field to the most resonant. “We talked about the kinds of experiences and circumstances that would best convey the themes of the movie across a range of different relationships,” offers Fugate. “We wanted a story of first love and one of forgiveness, as well as stories about taking a risk, letting things go, revisiting an old flame, making amends, having a baby, starting fresh… with love being the mitigating force through all of them.”

Says Karz, “We were also looking for characters that move in directions you don’t necessarily see coming, or interact with characters who may or may not be the ones you expect them to connect with. Katherine is so skillful, not only in creating these individuals, but also in interweaving their storylines in a natural way.”

“What’s also interesting about this kind of ensemble piece is that it’s designed so the entire sequence takes place in one day,” adds Rice “The third act of a movie is often about a ticking clock, and in this case, there’s an actual clock that triggers the action for everyone. You can take the audience on a roller coaster ride through all these possibilities, but that ball is going to drop at midnight and they all have to conclude simultaneously.”

Opening across the Philippines on December 2011, “New Year’s Eve” is a New Line Cinema presentation distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.