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And that's a wrap

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thursday night, the cast and crew of the Marley & Me movie filmed its final scene (John outside the vet's office, calling home to Jenny to tell her Marley's stomach had twisted again). Owen Wilson nailed the scene in four quick, heartfelt takes. And then the ensemble broke out into a huge cheer as director David Frankel lifted a megaphone to his mouth and pronounced, "Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes the principal photography." It was a wrap. Jenny and I, with our (very sleepy) daughter Colleen, were on hand to witness the end of shooting, at about 1 a.m., and it was something to behold.
The set had a festive, yet bittersweet, vibe to it. It felt like the last day of summer camp with everyone knowing a really special time was coming to an end and everyone would be going their separate ways. It's so clear these professionals, many of whom worked together on Frankel's previous movie, The Devil Wears Prada, have real respect and admiration for each other. The entire time I was present on the set -- several days since filming began in March -- not once did I observe a raised voice, bad attitude or tense exchange. Even Jennifer Aniston, whose scenes wrapped up last week and was not present Thursday night, commented on it; she told me last week that she had never worked on a movie with such great positive energy nor with a cast and crew that felt so much like a family. Marley's infectiously good karma, which has blessed my book from the day I submitted it for publication way back in 2004, apparently has continued to bless the film version of this story, as well. Good dog, Marley!

In impromptu farewell comments, Frankel acknowledged the same thing. He called the experience of filming Marley & Me the highlight of his career and said words could not express the affection he felt for everyone who worked on it. It was a very sweet moment. And then Owen Wilson fanned through the crew shaking hands and giving hugs. When he came to me, he said something that meant a lot to me, something close to this: "I keep thinking that all of this began with a single thought inside your head. It all came from you, and the words that came out of you and onto paper, and look what it's become." That has not been lost on me, and sometimes I can only stand and shake my head, wondering if it is all real.

The movie has a release date of Christmas Day.


Here's a story that ran in the local paper in West Chester:

‘Marley & Me’ filming wraps up
FANS YELLED TO OWEN WILSON ON LAST DAY OF SHOOTING IN WEST CHESTER
By ANNE PICKERING, Staff Writer
WEST CHESTER — “Marley & Me” wrapped up shooting in the borough Thursday night.
About 1 a.m., after shooting Owen Wilson all evening outside a makeshift veterinarian’s office on North Church Street, the director yelled, “Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes the principal photography,” and the crew erupted in spontaneous cheers.
Spectators standing behind the yellow crowd-control tape strung across Church Street at Chestnut Street looked on silently as crew members
who usually are serious whistled and hugged each other.

A crew member watching over the spectators said the three-month shoot that had started in Miami was over.
A black Suburban SUV pulled up to the curb, and the Wilson-watching spectators speculated that it was his car.
But moments after the director said, “Everybody, that is a wrap,” Wilson hurried across Chestnut Street in the direction of his trailer with his bodyguards trailing behind him.
Aggressive Wilson-watchers seemed to emerge from the shadows and pursued him, yelling his name.
Most of the spectators stayed behind the tape and frantically snapped his picture with their camera phones. It was completely dark, and Wilson was about 20 feet away.
The 20th Century Fox production has been shooting in Chester County for most of May. The film stars Wilson and Jennifer Aniston and is based on the best-selling novel by John Grogan about his family and their goofy Labrador retriever.
On May 20, hundreds of spectators stood in the cold for hours trying to get a glimpse of the two stars who were shooting a scene on West Gay Street.
On Thursday the crew was back to shoot a scene in which Wilson walks out of a veterinarian’s office after presumably leaving Marley.
Mireya Rengert, who lives on Church Street, started watching the shoot at 6:45 p.m. At midnight she was still there shivering in a short sleeve T-shirt.
“It’s cold, but it’s worth it. I love Owen. I got some good shots,” Rengert said.
At 1 a.m. nearly 100 people were still watching the shoot.
Three hours earlier, said Adrianne Senior, a real estate agent with ERA Excellence in West Chester, twice as many people were there. She was with her 9-year-old daughter, Rianna.
“She won’t let me leave,” said Senior, who had three cameras with her but the batteries had run down on each of them.
Senior said some girls had pursued Wilson earlier in the evening and the bodyguards and police had to chase them away.
At midnight, when Wilson emerged from his trailer to shoot the final scene, spectators yelled, “Hey, Owen, welcome to Philadelphia,” and others yelled, “Hey, Owen, do something.”
Presumably, they wanted the star to wave or better yet, come over and sign autographs or just get closer so they could get better shots. But Wilson was all business and ignored his screaming fans.
To contact staff writer Anne Pickering, send an e-mail to apickering@dailylocal.com.

posted by John Grogan at 6:07 AM

10 Comments:

Blogger Julie said...

Thank you so much for giving us an inside on this movie-making event. I've loved your book and can't wait to see the movie.

From one "Marley" owner to another

5:36 PM  
Blogger ionnewbee said...

Mr. Grogan,

I can't begin to tell you how touched I've been by your book, Marley and Me. Like many of your other readers, I laughed until my sides hurt (and I woke my sleeping husband on several occasions), and I cried until my puffy eyes couldn't stay open anymore.

My first experience with real love came from a 15 pound little maltese named Ernie. I had no idea that I could love something so completely and that he could love me back in the same, unconditional way. I tragically faced 'that dreadful day' when I had to make the worst decision of my life. But I look forward to being reunited with my loved one over the rainbow bridge!

Thank you for capturing and expressing so eloquently what love and family is all about. Our pets are important parts of our lives and your story has truly touched many hearts. I wait with anticipation for the opening of this movie! And I wish you, Jenny, and the children all God's blessings...

Thank you for sharing your story!!

8:04 PM  
Blogger Leonardo Araújo said...

Hey, Mr. Grogan,

Your story (and Marley's too :D)was a gift to us. Thanks for the good memories I had.

God bless you and your family!

6:39 AM  
Blogger Not so little Woman said...

Can't wait to see the movie! Thanks for sharing this process with us.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Nicole Ross said...

My twins (Delaney and Jake Patrick) had the amazing opportunity of playing baby Patrick in the movie Marley and Me. Thank you for writing such a great story and we are honored to be a part of it's film adaptation!

11:47 AM  
Blogger Nicole Ross said...

My twins (Delaney and Jake Patrick) had the amazing opportunity of playing baby Patrick in the movie Marley and Me. Thank you for writing such a great story and we are honored to be a part of it's film adaptation!

11:47 AM  
Blogger riccimd said...

I was then walking down the aisle of a bookstore and saw this cute little labrador pup pictured in a paperback book...which reminded me of my yellow lab who died a few years ago. This book has made memories of my dog alive and inspiring, the way you've written your story really did touched my life...and i'm now very excited to see the movie, and the movie teasers really made me want more of it!! I'm sure Marley is a big CELEBRITY now in Heaven, coz HE has touched and captured hearts of most people who have read your story. More Power Mr. Grogan!!! :D

8:57 PM  
Blogger riccimd said...

I was then walking down the aisle of a bookstore and saw this cute little labrador pup pictured in a paperback book...which reminded me of my yellow lab who died a few years ago. This book has made memories of my dog alive and inspiring, the way you've written your story really did touched my life...and i'm now very excited to see the movie, and the movie teasers really made me want more of it!! I'm sure Marley is a big CELEBRITY now in Heaven, coz HE has touched and captured hearts of most people who have read your story. More Power Mr. Grogan!!! :D

8:58 PM  
Blogger thalxx said...

I can't wait to watch the movie! I am such a big Jen Aniston fan. I finished reading the book a while ago and it touched my heart so much. John Grogan is an awesome author and Marley & Me is the best book I have ever read. I cried so much at the end and i convinced all of my classmates to read it.

xx

1:41 AM  
Blogger Joanna said...

Dear Mr.Grogan,

Your story really touched me,a lot.Its so sad that Marley died,there will never,ever be any dog like Marley.I laughed so hard and cried as well,through all the three times I read the story over and over again.

Sadly,I don't have any dogs of my own,but I understand how you feel,even though my pets are usually fish or my current pets,my hamsters,Tito and Tia.

They would scurry around trying to escape,once we even found Tito(male) climbing upside down from his cage!We laughed hard and call him the super hamster.Tia would rather gnaw on the bars until I let her out.

I also grieved when I lost my fish(laugh all you want,I loved him) named Reddy.Reddy was my red fighting fish,who managed to live about half a year or so.

I hope Marley is at peace right now,doing peaceful things...or maybe just crashing through all the screen doors he can find...I don't know,whichever.I just want to say,for short,that I loved your story and I hope you and your family are in total happiness.

Smile!From,Joanna

6:18 AM  

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