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James McAvoy as Johnny / Max
Directed by: Mark Palansky
Written By: Leslie Caveny
Release: 1 February 2008 (UK)
Genre: Fantasy | Romance | Comedy
Co-Stars: Christina Ricci, Richard E. Grant, Catherine O’Hara, Reese Witherspoon

“Penelope” begins with a generations-old curse by a jilted lover: the next girl in the aristocratic Wilhern family will be born with a pig’s snout and ears. Though ages pass, the bad luck finally manifests itself in young Penelope much to the shame of her mother. In an effort to break the curse, her mother and father try to bring in a series of blue-blooded suitors. But when they see her face, the men all run screaming. Enter Max, a down-on-his-luck gambler who connects with Penelope. But when he is exposed as a fraud, the heartbroken girl escapes into the surrounding city. Though she hides her face with a scarf, Penelope gets to experience life outside her family’s mansion for the first time.


Released in the US and UK two years after production.

As the film was filmed in the UK, many of the actors who play American characters are actually British, such as Ronni Ancona, James McAvoy, Nick Frost and Burn Gorman.

In the scene where Christina Ricci’s character catches James McAvoy trying to steal a book, she mentions that the room has 300 First editions worth over $50,000. This totals to $15,000,000: the budget of the film.


Max: Y’know you inspired me, doing what you did, going off on your own like that.

Max: All Halloween I’ve been running into someone I used to know.
Penelope: [wearing a pig mask] This someone – she meant a lot to you?
Max: Yes, yes she did.
Penelope: What happened?
Max: I couldn’t give her what she wanted.
Penelope: What did she want?
Max: To be free.

Penelope: There are three hundred and twenty-six first editions in that room. Of those, three hundred are worth over fifty thousand, a dozen or so are worth over twenty-five thousand and I’m afraid there’s only one that’s valued under a hundred.
Max: Only one, huh?
Penelope: A little novel, written by a little nobody that never amounted to anything.
Max: You don’t say, under a hundred?
Penelope: I’m afraid so, and I’m afraid that means that it’s time for –
Max: But your favorite just the same.