“We really wanted this story to resonate thematically with levity, beauty, fun and romance with true characters that people can relate to,” Sucsy says. “There was such inspiration to this love story, and I love how Leo remained with his hand open.”

One of the many challenges that Leo and Paige face is that after she wakes up from her comatose state and continues on with regular, day-to-day existence, she reverts back to her younger self. Instead of the free-spirited artist who spent the bulk of her days sculpting in her art studio, Paige not only can’t believe she gave up a promising future in law, but that she’s no longer engaged to Jeremy (Scott Speedman, Barney’s Version), a successful businessman. And the feeling of inadequacy and frustration when someone who suffered a brain injury struggles to remember their past is also what drew McAdams to the role.

“It stands to reason that a person would feel overwhelmed by it all and want to avoid what’s making them feel bad, even when people are trying to help,” Rachel says. “It must be so frustrating for everyone in this situation!”

Beating the Odds

While the big-screen version of the Carpenters’ story doesn’t play out detail for detail, it was important to screenwriters Abby Kohn (Valentine’s Day) and Marc Silverstein (He’s Just Not That Into You) that people connect deeply with Leo and Paige—and their plight.

Unlike many love stories where the audience is somewhat forced to make the leap about what makes the relationship between the leading lady and her amour so special, Kohn says that “capturing Leo and Paige’s unique dynamic” was key.

And whether they’re meeting in a parking lot for the first time or debating the merits of Paige’s latest sculpture once they’ve settled into married life, it’s clear that Leo and Paige had something special. But can even the best relationship survive something as traumatic as being completely erased from one partner’s memory?

“That’s the central question of the movie,” Channing concludes. “It’s a big, big deal to vow yourself for life to somebody and mean it. It really is something, and I love that The Vow centers around what those marital declarations mean and how difficult it can be to live up to those words. But if you really truly love someone, that’s what you do, for better, for worse.”

The VowRated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity and some language, The Vow, opens wide in theaters on February 10, 2012. Click here for more information.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.