‘Father of the Bride,’ the Pandemic and Me
The brief “Father of the Bride Half 3 (ish)” was set to be posted Friday on YouTube as a fund-raiser for World Central Kitchen.
LOS ANGELES — I believed I used to be retired. After 40 years of creating films, I felt finished. I used to be planning to journey extra, begin studying extra. I wished to purchase a hammock. You already know, all of the common stuff retired folks need to do. Then Covid-19 got here to America.
Once I heard it had reached Seattle, I feared life was about to vary. That’s after I began shopping for medical provides, cans of beans, containers of pasta and jars of almond butter.
It was on March 8 that I believed I had higher get that pneumonia shot my physician had been telling me to get for the previous 5 years. I requested the pharmacist if she’d meet me within the parking zone so I didn’t need to go inside and probably be close to sick folks. She kindly got here out with the shot on a tray. She wasn’t carrying a masks. However I used to be. Two of them. I held my breath, acquired the shot and drove residence. I haven’t ventured out a lot since.
My youngsters say I’m an individual who wants a mission. Unable to see associates and staying socially distant from my children and grandkids, I made my residence my mission. I turned a devoted home cleaner. In Might, after two months of mopping, wiping, washing, disinfecting and endlessly shopping for new cleansing instruments on Amazon, I knew I couldn’t go on like this. I wanted an escape. I wanted to return to work.
I acknowledged how fortunate I used to be to have the ability to keep residence whereas others couldn’t. On the information, there have been households ready in line for meals in 2020 America. It was heartbreaking. What might I do? What can I do? I questioned. That’s after I emailed Steve Martin and requested him if he had time to speak. He wrote again, “I’ve nothing however time.”
I instructed Steve I had an concept to jot down a brief Half 3 to “Father of the Bride,” a film my former associate, Charles Shyer, and I had made with Steve almost 30 years in the past (adopted by a sequel, “Father of the Bride Half II”). Steve performed the title position of a father who resisted letting go of his daughter and misplaced all of these troublesome feelings into combating the price and hullabaloo that goes into making a marriage. At the very least, that’s how I at all times noticed it. I instructed Steve I believed his character, George Banks, a self-admitted overreactor, was ripe to revisit through the pandemic. I defined I’d prefer to make the movie as a fund-raiser for World Central Kitchen to assist those that have been struggling.
I mentioned all of the actors would shoot from residence, and I might direct from my pc and we’d get it on-line someway. On the time, I wasn’t positive how you can do any of that, however I requested Steve if I might determine it out, would he do it? With out hesitation he mentioned sure. So did Martin Quick, Diane Keaton and the remainder of the solid.
I hadn’t written the “Father of the Bride” characters in many years. I used to be somewhat nervous. I watched each films, made some notes and acquired that excited feeling in my abdomen that I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
It was enjoyable and comforting to consider the Banks household and the place they is perhaps in the present day. George and his spouse, Nina (Keaton), would now be of their 70s. I questioned what they have been like 50 years into their marriage. Did they nonetheless reside within the huge white home? And the way did their son, Matty (Kieran Culkin), end up? We final noticed him at 12 years previous. Then I considered “Father of the Bride Half II” and the 2 infants born on the identical day — one to George and Nina and the opposite to their daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), and her husband (George Newbern). Once I realized these infants would now be 25, I believed I need to’ve finished the mathematics fallacious. It felt like once you see associates’ children you haven’t seen shortly, and you’ll’t imagine they’re grown-ups. I couldn’t wait to get began.
Serious about how George Banks would possibly reply to sheltering at residence saved me up at evening. I used to be now not awake at 4 a.m. as a result of the information was so horrifying, however as a result of I used to be pondering of all of the “what-ifs” I might write into this screenplay. The pandemic introduced me again to being a author.
I began to really feel grateful, then a bit responsible about feeling that. The work was giving me a way of calm and function. So long as I used to be within the Bankses’ world, I wasn’t on this one — despite the fact that the story was set in August 2020. After we shoot nighttime inside scenes, we name that type of lighting “film evening” as a result of you possibly can nonetheless see faces at nighttime. I used to be writing the pandemic like that. Not fairly as darkish.
I gave all of my worries and considerations in regards to the pandemic to Steve’s character, and by channeling myself into his naturally over-the-top character I might lastly chuckle at a few of what I used to be placing myself via. I imply, I used to be utilizing up 50 pairs of disposable gloves a month, and I by no means left my home. I used to be forwarding so many emails in regards to the virus to my children that they lastly stopped answering me. I made a decision this was how I used to be going to jot down George Banks. There could be a much bigger piece of me in him this time.
One other a part of my life made its approach into the plot when my daughter’s July marriage ceremony was postponed. Matty could be 37, and simply the appropriate age to be engaged and have his marriage ceremony canceled. I had my third act.
Now I had to determine how you can make a brief film with none of us leaving residence. In the summertime, I put collectively a small crew and stepped into the world of distant filmmaking.
There was Zoom location scouting with all of the actors displaying us round their houses. The rooms wanted to suit their characters but in addition needed to be appropriate for taking pictures. When one of many actors didn’t have an area that labored, we despatched them inexperienced screens and located applicable backgrounds to place in later. Kieran, for instance, lives in New York, however his character is meant to reside in Los Angeles, so we gave him a inexperienced display and used a photograph of my daughter’s eating room as his background.
The actors and I discovered their costumes principally from their very own closets. Steve and I believed he ought to be in sweats. I went on-line and despatched Steve a dozen totally different sweatshirts, which he tried on for me over FaceTime. None appeared precisely proper. Then Steve confirmed me an previous certainly one of his, and it was very George Banks. Steve later instructed me, “If you requested me to do that I believed, this can be a pleasing two hours. Then we shot for 4 days and tried on sweatshirts for six days.”
Our producer despatched a field of kit to every actor (lights, a mic and an iPhone). With assist from husbands, wives, important others and children, our units have been lit and we have been prepared for the July shoot. All of it felt a bit like these previous movies the place everybody on the town helps placed on a present, besides these have been film stars, and I couldn’t have been extra grateful for his or her efforts.
The actors recorded themselves whereas I watched their barely blurry iPhone photographs by way of Zoom. They couldn’t simply see each other, however they might hear one another. At one level, there have been 10 blurry actors on my pc display. I couldn’t inform if a hair was misplaced or if somebody had tears in her eyes, so I did sufficient takes to cowl the entire “simply in circumstances.”
It was difficult to say the least, but it surely was a enjoyable problem. I feel the actors would agree. We had not one of the ordinary crew or instruments at our disposal. Nobody was there to the touch up their make-up, repair their hair, transfer a lightweight, alter their mic or straighten their wardrobe. We had no monitor to play something again to see how one thing labored.
Even enhancing was a singular expertise. We had the identical quantity of footage as on a small movie. In any case, there have been 10 cameras rolling for nearly 4 days. My movie editor labored in his residence and shared his display with me in mine.
As I give it some thought, this uncommon course of decreased filmmaking to what it in the end comes all the way down to: efficiency and telling our story.
Regardless that we have been by no means in the identical room and even the identical time zone, the camaraderie was nonetheless there. When it was over, it felt like all films really feel when taking pictures ends — somewhat unhappy.
For me, I assume I at all times do want a mission. This one, with its optimistic themes and love of household, made me really feel entire at a time after I wanted it most. And if our efforts result in somewhat aid for another person, then it was a summer time nicely spent.
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