Ghosts of Girlfriends Past: Romantic Comedy Starring Garner and McConaughey

The romantic comedy “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” starring Jennifer Garner and Matthew McConaughey, is being released by New Line/Warner on May 1, 2009.

The two central characters are Connor Mead and Jennifer Garner

Connor Mead: Matthew McConaughey

The last place on earth anyone would expect to find Connor Mead would be at a wedding. More to the point, that last place would certainly be his own wedding, although it's tough enough to imagine him overcoming his allergy to matrimony long enough to attend anyone else's big day. But this is different. It's his brother's wedding, and for Paulie's sake alone Connor is willing to make the trek from his high-style New York City life to the Newport, Rhode Island home of his childhood, where the ceremony is scheduled to take place at their late Uncle Wayne's lavish estate.

Connor is expecting to be a little uncomfortable with the festivities, but that's OK; it's just one weekend. What he is not expecting is how he will feel when he comes face to face with his former flame Jenny Perotti (Jennifer Garner).

“Connor is used to being the confident guy, charming and funny, kind of edgy and always at the top of his game. He's really not out to hurt anyone, he just wants to have a good time. But he's also a guy who has lost his way and doesn't know it. He's been playing this role so long he doesn't even realize that in the end it's a lonely path,” says Matthew McConaughey, who stars as the story's perennial bachelor.

“Seeing Jenny again would be his first clue,” suggests director Mark Waters.

Jenny Perotti: Jennifer Garner

Beautiful, smart and self-assured, Jenny could have been the best thing that ever happened to Connor… if he hadn't walked out on her years ago. Now the maid of honor, she is all business when it comes to her ex, determined that nothing — and no one — will mar this special occasion, and that means putting Connor on notice in case he's planning anything that would take the focus off the happy couple.

“Having experienced the Connor Mead treatment, Jenny has no patience for him,” states Jennifer Garner. “They were best friends as kids and really meant something to each other, then reconnected and dated as adults but, by then, he was well on his way to becoming a world-class playboy and totally disappointed her. He nearly ruined her faith in men. When they are reunited at the house there are definitely sparks flying but not necessarily the good kind.”

Waters views Jenny as “a combination of the girl next door and the one who got away, with a touch of something else that Connor can't quite pin down. There's a rich history between them and the sense that Jenny knows Connor in a way that no other woman ever will. For all her disappointment in what he has become, she knows the real Connor is better than that; consequently she calls him on his games and puts him in his place. Matthew and Jennifer really tap into that sparring rhythm and that undercurrent of competition that's a carryover from Connor's and Jenny's childhood together.”

“Jenny is the kind of woman we all hope to have in our lives, someone who sees us for who we really are and can bring out the best in us,” says producer Jon Shestack, who credits Garner with giving Jenny “the vulnerability and intelligence that conveys, despite her sharp words, the sadness she feels for Connor and how empty his life has become. While it would be difficult to convince anyone who knows him that Connor Mead does, in fact, have an essential sweetness, deep-down, Jenny believes he does and she continues to look for it, despite everything he does to prove her wrong.”

Uncle Wayne: Michael Douglas

The idol of Connor's formative years, Wayne still looks as sharp as ever, if a little outdated. Portrayed by Michael Douglas, he is still the epitome of the fast-living playboy of a certain swinging era — complete with velvet jacket and artfully tied ascot at his open collar, not to mention the indoor shades and the requisite scotch and cigar.

Says Waters, “Michael Douglas struck the perfect note, giving the ol' scoundrel the kind of swagger that owns a room and a charm that makes you think he could get away with doing or saying pretty much anything. Wayne is a sentimental throwback; the eternal player, eternally cool. I felt Michael could make him likeable, just as I felt that Matthew could make Connor likeable even though they're two of the most politically incorrect roles in recent memory. They let you see the heart underneath. Although, I think in Wayne's case you'd have to look especially hard.”

Of course, Uncle Wayne is no longer the life of the party. He's been dead for five years. But he is crashing this wedding at his old bachelor pad in spirit form because he has a very important message for his #1 nephew, the boy who so admired him that he dedicated himself to being exactly like him. It's a message Connor would never expect and doesn't particularly want to hear: “Don't waste your life the way I did, kid.”

Douglas explains. “Uncle Wayne taught Connor everything bad he ever learned about relationships, which was, essentially, not to care for any woman, to just have a good time and move on. It was the way Wayne conducted his own life, but, at the time, it was also intended to protect Connor from getting his heart broken.

“Seeing Wayne now,” Douglas continues, “you get the sense that he didn't really want to end up the way he did. He realizes the mistakes he made in his life and is trying to save Connor from repeating them.” Consequently, he's trying to effect some retroactive parenting with this last-ditch effort to point him in a better direction. But he's going to need some powerful help, and he's smart enough to enlist that help in a form to which Connor is most likely to pay attention: female.