Read my special set visit report for the upcoming comedy “The Five Year Engagement,” starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Jim Piddock, Mimi Kennedy and David Paymer. Directed by Nicholas Stoller.
Normally on set visits I like to take a few days or a few weeks or a few months or the last possible minute to write up my reports before the embargo breaks. Journalists are being given a lot of information during these visits and it takes time to sort out your notes, transcribe your interviews, etc. Plus you have no idea when the embargo will break. It could happen when you're on vacation so it's always best to write them as quickly as possible.
For the Universal Pictures set visit of The Five Year Engagement, the brand new comedy starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, I wanted to do something different. I wanted to see if I could actually live blog my set visit. The good thing about this? I was able to write down things as they happened so my memory stayed fresh. The bad thing about this? We were in wine country.
First, let's start with the synopsis for The Five Year Engagement so you're caught up with what the film is all about: The director and writer/star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reteam for the irreverent comedy The Five-Year Engagement. Beginning where most romantic comedies end, the new film from director Nicholas Stoller, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Rodney Rothman (Get Him to the Greek) looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle. The film was written by Segel and Stoller.
The following is my live blogged set visit report for The Five Year Engagement. Interviews will be posted in separate articles. Ready? Set. Go!
Flying into Oakland airport from Burbank. At least I think this is Oakland. Yep, just saw a baby in a Raiders jersey. I'm definitely in Oakland. Now hanging out at the luggage pickup area waiting for some other journalists to arrive so we can all take the van to our hotel. Spotted Frosty from Collider, Silas Lesnick from Coming Soon, Eric Eisenberg from Cinema Blend and Jenna Busch from one of the 50 different sites she writes for. Should be a good time since I know these guys. Or we'll all argue and hate each other by tomorrow. Coin toss.
We've arrived at our hotel, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa in Sonoma. Wow, what a cool place. I checked into my room which was pretty nice but not as nice as some of my colleagues. Somehow Jenna managed to con her way into getting an upgraded room with a fireplace at no extra charge. Whatever. I'm totally wearing a blond wig next time I check into a hotel.
The hotel was great. Can I live here?
We're now about to grab some dinner in the hotel restaurant. It's a really nice restaurant. I'm not used to eating with actual silverware so this will be a pleasant surprise. Because we're in wine country, they had wine everywhere. I'm not kidding. You couldn't go to the bathroom without tripping over a bottle.
One of many.
And now it's time to actually try some of the wine! I'm going for the Pinot because I saw the movie “Sideways” and I'm easily influenced by the opinion of actors in movies, so I'm shying away from Merlot. One glass can't hurt, right? Ok, two glasses. Wow. Now I have a slight buzz. Being a total professional though, I won't drink anymore wine on this trip. After a great dinner followed by so-so conversation (it's a table filled with movie bloggers, so discussions about politics, news and actual relevant things rarely occurs.) it's time to hit the sack. I hope Jenna falls into her luxurious fireplace.
Eric was more aggressive in his wine selection for the evening.
We're all meeting at the front of the hotel. I had what some would consider a not so normal breakfast. They're nuts about wine at this place. I don't think they have milk up here because they just poured some Chardonnay into my bowl of Frosted Flakes.
So far it's a beautiful drive. I can see why John Lasseter has a winery around here. Who would want to live in the city when you're surrounded by awesome views all day? Makes me dislike Los Angeles that much more. The only time you get great scenery in that city is if you're staring at a painting. Some of the shoot is apparently taking place in San Francisco and some here in Sonoma. We're actually here for the first day of the California shoot which is pretty cool.
We arrive at the beautiful (I'm going to be saying this word a lot) Beltane Ranch www.beltaneranch.com in Glen Ellen. The place is pretty incredible. And big. You can tell a movie crew is here because there are production trucks all over the place, guys with massive tool belts and every other person is writing something on their Blackberry. We're getting right down to business and are being shuttled upstairs into a room at the built in 1892 ranch house where we'll conduct our interviews. I noticed a sign hanging called 'Drunken Pig' which is the movie name of the bed and breakfast. Kind of appropriate since we're at a vineyard.
Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. Look for more new images in my interviews with the cast and crew!
We're now going downstairs to check out the first scene being shot. I'm handed another glass of wine by someone. Not sure who. I can't turn it down because it would be rude at this point. We're watching a scene between Emily Blunt and another actor talking about the property for her wedding. The only problem is the guy keeps hitting on her while she's asking questions. Director Nick Stoller keeps yelling lines off camera for him to say. The actor, whose name I cannot locate or remember, keeps saying things to Emily like, “Is it your wedding? Too bad. You're gorgeous.” or “I love your face. You have a face type I really respond to.” and “Do you like the guy you're marrying?” He also threw in some 'R' rated material that I can't say in this report but we're laughing at it. It's a pretty funny improv scene.
Ok, we're going back upstairs to interview some of the celebs. Someone else just handed me a taster of another wine. Again, it would be rude of me to turn it down. None of the other guys seem to be drinking though...Shame, this stuff is really good. Hey, I'm in wine country, don't think bad of me. When in Rome and all that...
After interviewing some more stars of the film, I stepped outside to breathe in the fresh air. Living in Los Angeles, one has to breathe in some actual fresh air every six months or you'll be bidding for new lungs off of Ebay. Beltane Ranch really is a beautiful place and the perfect location to shoot parts of the movie. I'd like to tip the location scout.
The view just outside our interviewing room.
I just tripped walking back downstairs. Maybe I should lay off the wine for a bit. The next scene we watched was an engagement party. Lots of footage was shot as the principal characters all gave their own speeches to the soon to be bride and groom. Jason's parents gave a toast that rhymed. Emily's dad and his Asian girlfriend gave their toast, then he leans over and kisses her in front of everyone for an uncomfortably long time. Emily's mother's toast is about having children, considering their finances and starts giving a lecture about relationships, comparing them to “Saving Private Ryan” and “Philidephia,” ending with, “Good luck. God knows you'll need it.” Each one of these takes seems to be funnier than the last and you can hear the crew laughing during each take.
Alison Brie then makes her toast, but she just breaks down and starts crying, saying she doesn't believe in marriage before going into a profanity laced rant. Chris Pratt's character is up next and sets up a projection screen with a boombox, and begins singing his own version of Billy Joel's “We Didn't Start the Fire.”
Mimi Kennedy and David Paymer. Look for more new images in my interviews with the cast and crew!
Almost all of this seemed improv, as the actors did different takes. So who knows what will end up in the film or on the cutting room floor. All I know is I'm laughing the entire time watching it. And this 4th glass of wine is making the day seem that much brighter. I really enjoy watching Nicholas Stoller work. He's a great actor's director and lets them go for the funniest performances they can come up with for the scene.
Director Nicholas Stoller and producer Rodney Rothman
After a couple more interviews we headed back down to spend some time with the people who run Beltane Ranch and try out some of their 2010 Savinon...wait...Sauvignin...hey, how do you spell this? Ok, Sauvignon Blanc. It would of course be rude of me to say no, so I'll graciously accept another pour. Wow. This stuff is goood. I should probable stop having wine but I'll have another glass. We're all sitting in a circle talking about the movie and the actors. I'm going to walk around a bit and...why, yes. I would love another glass! Hahaha!
I don't know who you are but you are now my favorite person.
Hey! Here's some horses and a barn and fields and stuff. Boy, is my head buzzing. These horses are friendly and I ask Jenna to take a picture of me with with one. Hey, there's a horse! He's very approachable so I'll name him Mr. Segel.
So...where was I? Oh, ya. Um...ok, so after some more wine and stuff we walk back and say our goodbyes and head back to the hotel to change for dinner. So I change and meet a couple of the guys at the bar for a glass before we head out. They have a massage place here and I could totally use one right now. This pinot is awesome. I should buy, a bottle so now we're at dinner n it's a Mexican place and this is the greatest burrito ever!!!!!!! and they serve wine and I'm totally gonna have another glass.
These matt bee my last won...
And after dinner we head back and the cast actors is sitting in the lounge talking and as we walk by and say hi and head back to the bar. I will try a merLOt this time. I am so tired right now. And then we go outside and smake those marshmallow somemores things with chocolate at a fires pit and we talk to some guy and his wife (he smokes cigars but I don't take one) and man, marshamalloows are gooooooooodd! Hahahahahahahahaha!
So now I t's for me to sleeep. Where is my? room down this hall and I don't key. my way here is my key and I had fun for thanks universel for the trips and seeing the movies sets! with niK Steller n jaSon Segull and I know the muvee is gonna be a great ti...............................................................
The Five Year Engagement Opens at your local AMC Theatre on April 27th!
Special thanks to Lindsey and the entire Universal Pictures team for the wonderful set visit!
The great guys and gals on the Five Year Engagement set visit.