The brilliant Mindy Kaling does a funny riff on the Seven Rom-Com Archetypes. While writing a romantic comedy, The Billionairess, I thought about the archetypes I hoped to break and the ones I love. My screenplay is inspired by The Millionairess by George Bernard Shaw. The richest woman in the world, my heroine is a modern businesswoman. Divided into two rare type A females of self-made and inherited wealth, what all billionairesses have in common is work. The Horatio Alger success of Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Tory Burch and Sara Blakely are urban legend. The women who have inherited wealth can rest on their own laurels. Georgina Bloomberg has penned My Favorite Mistake and two other novels. Three-time Emmy award-winning actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus has starred in three successful televison shows: Seinfield, The New Adventures of Old Christine and now Veep. Tamara Ecclestone and Lydia Hearst are professional models. Daphne Guinness is a Renaissance woman of haute couture, film and art. Paris Hilton wrote the playbook on how to spin reality show exposure into entrepreneurial ventures.
According to Forbes magazine, the richest man in the world is Mexican Carlos Slim Helú, whose net worth is $69 billion. My ideal leading lady would be Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek. Each actress is delicious in her own way but all three are beautiful, sexy, funny and smart. The Billionairess has a private jet, runs several corporations, lives at 740 Park Avenue and flips a rundown Chinatown café into an upscale boutique hotel in a New York minute on a bet.
I like flipping the romance formula to be between a rich powerful woman and a poor independent man. Erich Fromm in The Art of Love states, "The deepest need of man, then, is the need to overcome his separateness, to leave the prison of his aloneness." The desire remains the same for both sexes; a desire to be rescued by true love. Witness the final exchange in the movie, Pretty Woman between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere:
Edward Lewis: So what happens after he climbs up and rescues her?
Vivian: She rescues him right back.
The challenge of the rom-com is to solve a romantic dilemma and take the audience on the fantastic unpredictable journey along the way.