A Mid-May Snow Scene
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Shooting of the Marley & Me movie, starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, has been taking place around suburban Philadelphia for the past couple weeks, and I have taken my family a few times to observe on set. On one visit, the set designers had the family home looking like autumn with dried leaves swirling around the yard. On another day, the entire property was covered in a fresh snowfall with more white stuff falling from the sky. Only when I reached down to touch it could I tell this "snow" was really a fluffy paper product, and what was falling was soap suds blown down from fans on cranes hovering over the set. I don't know who got stuck cleaning it all up, but someone owes them a big round of beers.
More snow of the artificial type fell in downtown West Chester, Pennsylvania -- a lovely, charming town if ever there was one -- last week for the John and Jenny wedding scene. (To keep my sanity, I'm now referring to ourselves, or at least our movie alter-egos, in the third person.) Marley & Me the book opens a little over a year into our marriage with us already in our first home on Churchill Road in Florida, but the film takes a slightly different tack, opening with John and Jenny's wedding in Michigan (where we were really married). And last week, onlookers in West Chester were able to glimpse Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston running joyfully hand-in-hand down a snow-filled street after tying the knot. As you can imagine, Jenny doesn't think it's too shabby to be portrayed by J.A. (Nor I by O.W.) Her big joke with Aniston is to say, "Can you rough yourself up a little? You're looking way too good to be playing Jenny." And the actress graciously and gamely answers: "It's all makeup and hairspray. That's all it is." Yeah, right, Jen. You keep saying that.
Meanwhile, without exception, every guy friend I know has had only one question about this entire movie odyssey: "So what's she like in person?" Well, that's easy. She's great in person. So is Owen. They're both warm and funny and self-deprecating. And both were really sweet to my kids, making a point to chat with them and make a fuss over them. Colleen, my 11 year old, even got to kick a soccer ball around with Owen for a few minutes during a shooting break, high-fiving as they walked off the field, a moment I can only imagine will give her schoolyard bragging rights that should last her through graduate school.
Shooting is scheduled to wrap up soon, which I anticipate with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I'll be able to get my life back to normal, which I've found is almost impossible to do when someone is making a movie about your life right down the road. It's just too damn exciting. On the other, I'm going to miss everyone associated with this production, from director David Frankel to the Fox 2000 executives and producers, the assistant directors, cameramen, grips, set designers, dog trainers and wranglers, publicists, security guards, makeup artists, and various other workers who have all been exceptionally kind and gracious to my whole family. What fun it has been to be able to be a fly on the set, taking it all in. I guess my kids aren't the only ones who will be talking about this for some time to come.
I'll close for now. Or as we movie-biz wannabes like to say, "That's a wrap."
posted by John Grogan at 7:58 PM