Before Anna Delvey, there were Page and Max Conners, a mother-daughter duo of man-eating, money-stealing gold diggers with thotty style. Of course, the former just got out of jail, while the latter are cult-favorite characters in one of the most playful and subversive comedies of the early aughts, 2001’s Heartbreakers. At a time when fantasy franchises like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings claimed the top spots at the box office, Heartbreakers was a refreshing No. 1 debut: a campy, star-studded con-medy that was equal parts rom-com, buddy comedy, and gripping crime drama.
If that weren’t enough, Page, played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, had the “cool girl” confidence that the young adults the movie catered to wished they had (and the wardrobe to go with it).
Page was one of Hewitt’s first proper adult roles after years of cornering the market on playing the girl next door. In Heartbreakers, mother-daughter team Max and Page work to seduce and swindle unsuspecting rich men. During their “last con” together (before Page hits the scam market solo), plans go awry as they attempt to con a cigarette tycoon (Gene Hackman) out of his millions. Throughout their high jinks, Page is equally alluring and dripping in snark; when she isn’t using her charms on men, she’s perfectly petulant, doling out snappy comebacks that are, to this day, pure comedic gold.
Sure, she is always scheming, but it’s impossible not to identify with Page’s relationship with Max (Sigourney Weaver) — one in which she just wants to have her own life apart from her mother.In case you need a refresher, Page is neither a hero nor a villain in Heartbreakers — she’s a con artist, but one easy to empathize with because, frankly, we understand not wanting to be attached at the womb forever.
Aside from the … well, grifting of it all, Hewitt plays Page as an easy-to-root-for and relatable 21-year-old rebelling against her mother; she is always prime-glam in stilettos and tube-tight dresses (whether that’s at a local tiki bar or trekking through mud during nightfall to follow a mark) and isn’t afraid of hurting your feelings. While Max is busy wedding and (almost) bedding gullible men, Page seduces them into compromising positions that make them willing to hand over some sizable divorce settlements.
Two decades later, we would be honored if they scammed us (and perhaps delivered an encore of “Back in the U.S.S.R.”).In honor of Heartbreakers’ 20th anniversary, Hewitt hopped on a call with Vulture to reminisce about how it became one of the most defining projects of her career. The actress also recalled those awkward crotch scenes with co-stars Ray Liotta and Hackman, the way the media scrutinized her body at the time, and which other stars could have played Max and Page.
First of all, it was a chance to be in a movie with incredible actors. It was a really cool opportunity to play something that I hadn’t played before. Page was this great combination of where I was at the time: still young at heart with lots to learn, but also definitely not a teenager, and moving into her own sexuality and who she wanted to be as a woman. Having a really close relationship with my mom in real life, the mother-daughter aspect of it was appealing.
For sure. I always loved the trust element of the story. Like a mother saying, “Don’t trust anyone, but trust me.” It is a really, really hard concept in life — who you trust — and in the con world in particular. I really love that, and, again, being able to play, on the surface, a troubled or strange mother-daughter relationship with Max and Page, but underneath it so much love.
When I walked in for my first fitting, I thought all the dresses were tops and didn’t know where the bottoms were. I remember watching them unpack some of my things, and they were in ziplock bags, and I was like, “My clothes … are in there?” And we all had a really big laugh about the fact that I just wore tiny clothes the whole movie. I felt like a Barbie doll. It was great.
I think I did keep it for a short period of time. Then, usually what I would do with things that I got to keep from movies is I would give them to my best friend, Jenny, so it wouldn’t surprise me if that dress is still somewhere in Indiana, where she lives, in her closet.