John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


Shooting Moves to Pennsylvania

Friday, May 16, 2008

Since early March, Fox 2000 Pictures has been filming Marley & Me the movie in and around Miami. This past week shooting moved to my home state of Pennsylvania. On Thursday, Jenny and I spent the day back in my old newsroom at The Philadelphia Inquirer, where I worked as a columnist from 2002 to February 2007. The scene being shot there that day had Owen Wilson, who is playing me, settling in for his first day on the job. Actor Clarke Peters, who played Detective Lester Freamon on 'The Wire,' plays my editor at the Inquirer. Way cooler than my real editor, but then again, Owen's way cooler than me, too.

It was a fun day.

During a break, the Inquirer's Michael Klein interviewed both director David Frankel and me on video for the Inquirer's website. I really liked what David had to say about the Marley story and why he was attracted to it.

In part, he said: "It's a story of a family and their dog, which makes it sound much simpler than it really is. It's really a story of growing up and maturing and coming to terms with all the obligations and burdens and joys of life and confronting your own mortality. It's the story of a marriage as seen through the prism of life with a family dog." He added: "It's the mundane parts of life that make up most of the hours of the day, and what the book is about is savoring the everydayness of life, appreciating the present."

I like that description.

Here are the links to both our video interviews:



One warning: you'll have to sit through 15 seconds or so of obnoxious car-dealership advertising before the clips begin.

posted by John Grogan at 7:57 PM


Blogger Groundlings said...

Hello Mr. Grogan,

I'm a 13 year old South-Floridian and dog lover who has an undeniably Marley-ish dog named Alby. It would be dishonest to say that he is quite as mischievous or energetic (he has never expressed any real interest in jewelry or chicken droppings), but he does have a similar zest for life. Mr. Grogan, if you are reading this, I just wanted to say that I was very moved by Marley and Me, and my eleven year old sister was nearly in tears during the chapter in which Marley passed away. I will never forget Marley, just like I will always keep Alby close to my heart.

Though I doubt you will find him as interesting as Marley (when all is said and done, I would probably place my dog on the "Gracie/Shaun" end of the obedience spectrum), I thought you might enjoy this blog post about Alby, written be me! My real love is musical theatre, but I would love to be a journalist someday. You can actually browse through my blog to view some of my other postings by clicking on the "groundlings" nametag link that appears at the top of this comment (I haven't been updating quite as frequently these past few weeks, but there's much to come!).

I look forward to the Marley and Me movie this winter, and any other Marley-related projects you might be working on. Marley and Me has touched so many people: I think he would be very proud (and express his joy with much slobber and wet kisses).

Thank you for Marley,
Dara H.

1:45 AM  
Blogger ileiby said...

Mr. Grogan,
I was up last night past midnight, finishing your book, with rivers of tears flowing down my face! I haven't had near enough time to read in recent years, but after losing my 12 year old beagle, Apollo. to cancer in February, I needed to read about another "rotten" dog that had blessed someone's life. Whenever anyone said how cute he was, I felt obliged to respond, "Yes, he's cute, but very rotten!" He made me crazy and tested my patience. He stole steak off the table, barked incessantly at birds, licked the floor obsessively for hours each night, and whined when I left the room to comfort my newborn. He also laid his head on my shoulder when he knew I was sad, followed me everywhere, and was my constant companion. In his last weeks of life, when I never thought he'd make it up the stairs, I'd turn around and there he would be, as it seems was the case with Marley. I agonized over knowing when "the time" had come, but when it did, I knew it was here, in no uncertain terms. I could go on with a book of my own, but instead, I will just thank you for writing a book that has eased my pain, and given me some valuable perspective on the lessons we learn about life from our dogs. I plan to pick up a copy of Marley the Dog for my 8 yr old daughter. Thank you.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Not so little Woman said...

I also think that summary of the movie/book is accurate. That was the sense I got while reading the book. Can't wait to see the movie...

5:22 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Mr. Grogan,

I read your book some time ago, and just loved it. What's the cliche - I laughed, I cried? That actually holds true for Marley's tale. I've recommended the book to friends, and all have agreed that it resonates not only among dog owners, but with anyone with a heart.

You can then imagine my joy at learning that there would be a film adaptation, and I was all the more elated to find out that Jennifer Aniston, one of my favorite actresses, would play your beautiful wife - what great casting! In keeping up with the latest in Ms. Aniston's career on my blog Jennifer Aniston Watch, I have, interestingly enough, had nearly as much to say about Marley these days! It has been a joy to read your perspective on watching a time in your own life become captured on film, and I cannot wait to see it all on the big screen.


10:47 AM  
Blogger Luiza said...

Hello Mr. Grogan,

My name is Luiza and I am brazilian. A few months ago I read your book and only now had the courage to write to you. I just wanted to say that I loved Marley and Me and that I was very touched by it. I will never forget this adorable dog and I can´t wait to see the movie! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.


6:09 PM  
Blogger john said...

Hello Mr. Grogan. I am 55 years old, and I read Marley & Me yesterday, on a rainy Sunday afternoon with my dog Patsy laying across my lap. Patsy is a 2 year old Golden Retriever, and the first dog I have ever owned. Before I was a 'dog-person', I would laugh at how people treated their dogs, and would wonder about the feelings that they shared. Now, I see how a dog can come into your life, and change you forever. I can't imagine life without my Patsy.

I cried at parts of your book and I laughed at others that reminded me of my Patsy. I cannot imagine the grief that I am going to feel when one day the inevitable happens, but I dread it more than I can say. Already, I have been telling my wife that maybe we need to think about a buddy for Patsy, so that I will never be without the friendship of a dog. I hope that when Patsy leaves, I can be as strong as you were and I would love to be able to write such a beautiful tribute as you did for your Marley.

My wife and I can't wait to see your movie, although I am sure that we will both need a ton of tissues. Thank you for being such a gifted writer and sharing Marley with us.

John Sapienza
Potomac Falls, VA

12:07 PM  
Blogger cathie said...

Dear Grogans,
I just finished Marley and Me .I ordered it online on a thursday, recieved it on Saturday, and read it in 7 hrs. Could not put it down!!! What a wonderful book about a treasured dog and its family. I especially loved getting to know your family as they grew.
I too am an animal lover as is my husband. We also had dogs in our lives growing up. We adopted a wonderful dog (brandy) she also had some bad habits to start,(humping,food,thunderstorm afflictions) but she was also the most empathetic,caring and loving dog you could want. We were blessed with her presence for 5 yrs. She died of anal cancer when she was just six yrs old.
That was just 2 yrs ago. Reading about Marley has been a joy, we just haven't been able to open our hearts again to another dog but maybe its time,
God bless you and jenny,patrick,connor and colleen. Oh ang god bless Gracie and the cats and chickens!!!!

2:29 PM  
Blogger JuliaButz said...

Hi Mr. Grogan,
I wanted to email you, but I saw from your website I can't, so hopefully you'll read this. I am a fifth grade teacher and I was so excited to see your "Marley" (the kids' book). I've been reading it aloud to my students, and of course they love it, just like I loved "Marley and Me". Tomorrow I'll have to read the part when he dies, I don't know if I'm going to be able to make it through the chapter. Anyway, you're a great model for them for descriptive writing and I just wanted to tell you how much my class is enjoying hearing about Marley's antics. Your book is among my favorites, right up there with "Old Yeller".

8:39 PM  
Blogger LabLover said...

Just came back from the shooting in West Chester, PA. Jen and Owen didn't start filming until after 11pm. Finished around 12ish. Jen came out of the trailer in her wedding dress for the scene. She waved and smiled for all. Went with my 13 year old and my own yellow labby, Tucker. The crew was really nice to Tucky. They fed him from the buffet table and gave him water. Tucky worked for his treats by doing a few tricks. He repaid their kindness by not devouring the entire buffet table- he's a counter surfer. I was rather impressed by his restraint, but on the other hand, he's no dummy... there were hundreds of witnesses! Tucky was off leash and was having a great time with all of the attention. If you ever need another Marley (to borrow for the movie-not to keep of course- just let me know! He's only famous at the local bank, home improvement store, and post office. He works for lolly pops and kisses.

Mr. Grogan-I read Marley & Me when it first came out and loved it-You're not human if you didn't cry!Can't wait to see the movie.

Remember-dogs & children are the best judge of character!


11:09 PM  
Blogger Vivi said...

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7:52 PM  
Blogger Vivi said...

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7:52 PM  
Blogger Tica said...

Mr. Grogan,

My name is Anna and I’m writing all the way from Brazil to tell you that I got your book as a gift a year ago and have not yet had the courage to read it. I have a beautiful 3 years old cocker spaniel and I love him like a son. I guess I’m not ready to cope with the idea that he will pass away eventually.
Quoting Antoine Saint-Exupery: “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” This is exactly what I have learned with the unconditional love my dog Peppi has for me and my family. Perhaps you could use this quote some day.
I hope I have the courage to watch the movie. Knowing how funny Owen Wilson is, I expect to laugh more than cry.

9:46 AM  
Blogger fmarchand23 said...

I am about to cry... I came in to this web site to see the pictures of Marley & the fam. until I saw the last picture that says that he died. : ( I am reading the book (May 22, 08)and I am in the part that Jenny wanted him gone, the day he ripped off the fabric from the sofa. I love this book, I cann't stop reading it. I feel like I also have a Marley in here, it's my daughter' she is 4, but she is just like Marley, Hiper, free spirit, her Master cannot control her!!! When I read the book I laugh, and my husband looks at me, "like what its happening?". I only read the book while my husband is driving to his work, because I am in the passenger seat, its a 20 minute drive and I enjoy every minute of it reading the book. I just block all the kids noises in the backseat. The book is like therapy for me, I am going trough a very stressful time in my life with my kids (girl 4, boy 3)but this book is defenitely a good start of in my hectic day!!! I am really exited about the movie, which I found about it today.
Well, thanks for a great book Grogan!!! I love dogs I cannt wait to my have my own house to get me a white male lab, but of course I wont name him Marley, Because there is only one Marley. And all of us know who he is... not was... bacause he is still alive in our memories and The Book! Thanks, sincerely, Franchez

11:20 AM  
Blogger Gongading said...

Dear Mr.Grogan
The first time I read Marley and me I was ready for a book that was entertaining enough for a four hour flight from New Jeresy to Colorado. As I started to read the book I was so caught up in it by the time we landed I was still reading it and excited for the next chapter. I have only cried over one book in my whole entire life and so far Marley and Me has the gold. I hope that the movie will be as good as the book.

P.s Have you had any other dogs after Marley and if so what kind?

4:36 PM  
Blogger Marila said...

Yesterday, I finished reading the book of Marley, I found wonderful, the story is beautiful, is to be congratulated by the book and the whole story at the end of the book, cried soluçar, who has only dogs can understand the love we feel for them, I have 2 dogs, my beagle is called BAFO and my schnauzer is called FREDDO, are much confusion, and arteiros are very much like to play and have fun with us here at home. A hug you for your beautiful family! Marila Hoppe Brazil TORRES - RS

6:42 AM  
Blogger 'ley said...

hi.......i'm 11 and reading marley and me.
it is good!!!!!!
my cat clover is like marley.......
I'm sorry Marley was scared of thunder, there's a storm right now!!!!!!
Write more on Marley, he rocks!!!!!!!!

Haley :)

12:46 PM  
Blogger shivani said...

Dear Mr Grogan

I adore dogs a lot and have three of them myself. I got in love with Marley when i first read the book two years back and I am currenlty reading it again with my husband!! I hope the movie maker do full justice to Marley and to your love and affection for him. I am looking forward for the movie.

Shivani and Sunil

12:21 PM  
Blogger loisln said...

Hi John -- from your former co-worker at the Sun-Sentinel: just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how happy I am for you and your family's success. I have e-mailed you several times at the Inquirer, but I am certain they were lost among the sea of hundreds of others you received daily. I saw the segment on one of the TV news magazines awhile back and you both are as humble and real as ever. I am so proud to say I had the pleasure of knowing you and Jenny way back when!

Take care,
Sandie P. (still in Boca Raton!) --

8:37 AM  
Blogger Aninha said...

This post has been removed by the author.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Aninha said...

My name is Ana, and I'm from Brazil.
I just read the book, today!
when I started, I could not stop until I've finish.
I laugh so much, and cried too.
Marley is incredible!
And now, visiting your web site and blog, found that are going to be a movie!!!! It's so cool... I can't wait to see, but, I always prefer books.
I always wanted a Labrador, but I already have a dog A 12 years old German shepherd with collie, named Max, dispite he's old, have much energy and healty yet. Well... one is good, two is to much!
I want to write so many, but, my english is not so good ( I've never had lessons...).
I'll always come here to visit.
Thanks for the book, e now the movie!

Marley rules!!!!

3:37 PM  
Blogger Carley said...

Mr. Grogan,

I'm a Mississippi girl who loved your book. It is almost midnight here and I just stayed up to finish your book. I too like many others had tears streaming down my face. I have a Jack Russell that would probably be as bad as Marley if she was his size. I laughed so hard when you got him fixed and the vet told you that it would settle him down because we were told the same about ours and had the same reaction...nothing. Marley seemed great with your kids and I have a one year old son and my dog Allie and him are best friends. Coleton also feeds her out of his high chair. Someone made the comment to us the other day that she was gaining weight and it is all because Coleton has learned to drop his food to her and thinks that it is the funniest thing ever.
I loved your book so much that I read parts of it to my husband because it was so similar to our story. We are newlyweds only 2 years and we have had her 3 years but I know when the time comes for her to go it will be awful. She has already made our lives so much more fun. She is really smart and just like Marley she hangs her head when she has done wrong. She is only about 8 pounds but you would be shocked what all she can get into! She had a big pet crate that she stays in when we are away because she can not be left out for ten minutes because she loves the trash. We call her crate her "box" and when we do leave her out once in a blue moon if she has been good she meets us at the door but when she has been bad we always find her in her "box". Dogs are almost always the same in some way or another despite their size!
I am so excited to see the movie I love to read and so I usually read the book before seeing the movie. I had no idea what I was buying when I bought the book and I had no idea how much of an impact it made on my life. Thank you for sharing your story with us it was a great one.


10:13 PM  
Blogger LakingCommonSense said...

Mr. Grogan,

As a fan of Marley and Me, I am so happy to see that it is being made into a movie. I'm thirteen, and live in CT. Your story is so touching and it showed me that even though I don't have a dog that would belong in the "Bad Dog Club" or a dog at all for that matter, that people can open their eyes to accept the flaws in their pets.

I have a pet, his name is Tiger, and he is a seven year old cat, who's mother was rescued a few hours before she would give birth to three kittens. Tiger is extremelly fat, and if he were more energetic, could probably pass for a large chihuahua. All in all though, the flaws that Tiger possesses such as eating with is paws, and spending long hours staring at walls, can be found in all pets.

Both my step sister and I have read your book, and I'm happy to say that I have lent it to more than a few of my classmates who also wanted to read it. I read this book after my parents got divorced, and it helped me. Laughter is the best medicine for problems, and I'm happy that I got to laugh along with Marley as he was portrayed in your book.

Toward the end of your book, you mentioned that you did not want to display Marley as some Lassie, or Old Yeller. I'm so happy that you didn't.

Thank you.
~Tiger, and his owner, Siobhan.

6:19 AM  

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