Sweet Home Alabama (film) New York fashion designer Melanie Carmichael suddenly finds herself engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. But Melanie’s past holds many secrets, including Jake, the redneck husband she married in high school, who refuses to divorce her. Bound and determined to end their contentious relationship once and for all, Melanie sneaks back home to Alabama to confront her past. A Touchstone Picture. Released on September 27, 2002. Directed by Andy Tennant. Stars Reese Witherspoon (Melanie Carmichael), Fred Ward (Earl), Mary Kay Place (Pearl), Patrick Dempsey (Andrew), Josh Lucas (Jake), Jean Smart (Stella Kay), Candice Bergen (Kate), Ethan Embry (Bobby Ray). 109 min. Ethan Embry, as Ethan Randall, starred with Reese Witherspoon years earlier in A Far Off Place. The film crew was one of the few ever allowed to film in Tiffany & Co. in New York City. Filmed in CinemaScope. Released on video in 2003.