"It was Valentine’s Day in 1998," recalls Peters, in New York for the film’s premiere. "I was in the middle of breaking up with someone. He was pulling the same old, same old — ‘I’m going to change!’ Bad behavior — the usual stuff." As president of the Robert Evans Company at Paramount, she was in New York to shop for books from literary agents that could be made into films. At the bottom of one agent’s list: a manuscript, just a joke at the time, called "How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days."
"I saw it as a movie, given my own romantic situation," says Peters, "and I bought it on the spot."
Hudson plays a women’s magazine columnist writing on the relationship mistakes women make, packing them all in to just 10 days. Any typical male would run for the hills, unless he’s McConaughey’s character, an advertising executive who’s bet his boss that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days. Veteran romantic comedy producer Lynda Obst ("Sleepless in Seattle") came on board to produce with Peters.
Peters, whose last film with Evans was "The Out-of-Towners," learned about romantic comedy the hard way. "It looks the easiest, but it’s actually the hardest," she says. "Creating that snappy dialogue and adorable characters is like constructing a high rise. It’s all about building and layering and reworking."
Elements of her own personality are evident in Hudson’s Andie Anderson: Peters worked as a journalist (a West Coast editor at Talk); she’s a brainy blonde; a fashionista, and she’s a single woman in a man’s world. "I guess I do have lots of alpha male friends," says Peters, who counts Ron Galotti and plenty of film execs among her inner circle, with megamogul Sumner Redstone as a longtime (now ex-) boyfriend and mentor.