Steven Schachter
A Conversation with Director Steven Schachter

Q: How did you become involved with THE ENGAGEMENT RING?
A: I actually turned down the project a few years ago. Howard Braunstein resent me the script and asked me to look at it again. I did, and I said, "This is so much better." He then told me, "This is the same script you read two years ago and turned down." When I read the script this time, though, I realized there was something sweetly old-fashioned about it.

Q: How has it been working with Patricia Heaton?
A: Patricia Heaton lives in my neighborhood, and she called me and said she wanted to talk to me about the project. So we started talking about love and the themes the movie covers. And within two seconds, we're sharing intimate stories of our love lives. So we bonded very quickly. At the time, I was still not sure about doing it, but she kept telling me I have to do it. But now I'm thrilled, because it's a delicious, delightful movie.

Q: How would you describe this movie?
A: It's about love and life and the robust nature of the vineyards and the land. It's very textured and textural. You can feel it, smell it and taste it.

Q: What sets this movie apart from other similar movies?
A: This movie explores issues that are deeper, more complicated and more subtle and interesting than a lot of movies. It's about the difference between a passionate love and a solid, rooted, committed relationship.

Q: What are your thoughts about the cast?
A: The cast is amazing. They're all so wonderful and have the same energy and talent. It's very exciting to see them all play together. The whole cast truly loves one another. Some of them helped others get the job by lobbying for them. And then a lot of them have worked together before, so there's a great vibe in the group.

Q: You normally write or co-write the scripts you direct, but not in this case. How was it different for you?
A: The script still needed a little work, so I was right at home working with Rodney Vaccaro to develop it in the final stages. That was great for me, because I got to really understand what I would be directing. And Rodney is so wonderfully collaborative. He supplies great stuff, then we would shape it. It was great.

Q: This is your third JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION® film for TNT. What draws you to these projects? A: The JOHNSON & JOHNSON SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATION® film series is wonderful because they're about families and human stories. We're very lucky they're sponsoring this movie.

Q: How does this movie fit TNT's "We Know Drama" branding?
A: This movie is what I'd call a dramedy. It's got some comedic elements but it also has serious themes. I love that kind of work. If you're making a drama, there should be comedy in it, because that's what life is like. It's very yin and yang.

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