Renée Zellweger may consider herself somewhat "cinematically ignorant," but it sounds to us like there's at least one actor whose oeuvre she's mastered. "For seven years, I've been going, 'Where's Ewan McGregor? What's Ewan McGregor doing? Is he making this? Is there a girl? What kind of girl? Can we make that happen?" she says, with a laugh. "We've been acquaintances for a long time, but I've been his fan for even longer."

Thank goodness Down with Love, an homage to the comedies of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, finally came along — if only for her agent's sake. Zellweger stars as Barbara Novak, an author whose 1962 titular best seller encourages career-minded women to say "no" to love and "yes" to sex (provided it's "a la carte.") McGregor plays Catcher Block, a playboy journalist determined to expose Novak as a fraud by winning her heart.

Even though Zellweger loves your standard boy-meets-girl romantic comedy, she's never been interested in filming one (which is why she says she'll only do the much-hoped-for Bridget Jones sequel if it's "really special.") But Down with Love's smart, saucy and stylized script wooed her. "I love the play on words, the double entendre, the heightened sense of reality. Everything's choreographed," she says. "It was a romantic comedy, without doing a romantic comedy."

Directed by Bring It On's Peyton Reed, the movie (which opens wide Friday) was even shot on sound stages, using the film technology of the Technicolor decade it's set in. "I mean, trees on wheels!" Zellweger says, excitedly. "It was amazing as an actor to know what that experience was like, shooting on [Lucille Ball's] stage. And I really had it. The only difference was maybe there was air-conditioning in the dressing rooms."

But was filming a movie with McGregor the experience she thought it would be? "We were literally like kids at recess — dumb, dancing in place and clapping our hands after the scenes," she says. "I cannot wait to go find something else to do with him."