In New In Town, Harry Connick Jr. plays the good old country boy who sticks it to the big city girl who comes in to try to run the local factory. It seems a natural fit, but Connick claims this was all acting.
Harry Connick Jr. on New in Town
"I’m not even close to that guy," Connick said. "If I could be that guy I would be a hero with my wife. That’s the kind of guy who is a real guy. I don’t have that kind of restraint or mystery. I’m much too emotive and spontaneous or impulsive. There are a lot of things about him I would like to be. I didn’t really do any research. I know who that guy is, so it was a matter of building upon things that I thought about or fantasized about in my head."
Of course country boy and city girl clash at first, but they still follow the traditional romantic comedy path. "I don’t think of it in terms of being a rhythm only because that would impose some sort of structure before we even got started. I look at it in terms of I read the story and try to interpret or figure out as much as I can. I think the rhythm happens when you start working with the other people. There is a certain rhythm that Renee brings that another actress wouldn’t bring. There is a certain rhythm I bring. I think the rhythm is inherent in the casting and writing. They are all completely different for me."
The film is full of physical comedy as well, such as Zellweger stuck in a parka with a broken zipper, ending in the accidental shooting of Connick's character. "That was a funny scene. Renee comes from a small town in Texas. It was funny to see her out there carrying a shotgun and wearing overalls. It was adorable really, to me. The great thing about that scene for me was Renee’s commitment to the funny of the whole thing. She didn’t help me at all. You can see that Renee is petite. I’m a little bigger than the average guy I guess. I ended up picking her up and it’s not like she helped a little bit. She didn’t help at all. That’s what made it so funny for us. We thought it was funny when we did it and we got a good vibe out of that."
The comedy and romance serves the story small town workers facing corporate downsizing, which is unfortunately still valid today. "It was a great reminder for me. What happens from the east coast, to California, all the way to the west coast of New York, is basically what gives us what we have everyday to use. It’s all those people in the middle. I live in the New York area. Out here we don’t think about all these people, at least I don’t. I think about them to a degree but this movie really made me focus on the people who make our lives livable. They produce our food, clothing, and transportation. I was on the road doing a Christmas Tour the last two months and I would go out. These are the people that see me play in concert. They are taking their money to spend on a ticket to see me? Nobody is that good. It is humbling to see that and this movie made me recognize again that these people are not statistics. They are people. Although I’m ignorant to business and how business affairs work there has to be some common ground between firing everybody, because there is not enough money to pay them, and realizing that these people have livelihoods. There has to be some better way."