Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello, Nick Swardson, Taylor Lautner
Director: Dennis Dugan
Running Time: 101 minutes
Synopsis: The all-star comedy cast from Grown Ups returns (with some exciting new additions) for more summertime laughs. Lenny (Adam Sandler) has relocated his family back to the small town where he and his friends grew up. This time around, the grown ups are the ones learning lessons from their kids on a day notoriously full of surprises: the last day of school.
Grown Ups 2
Release Date: September 19th, 2013
They're back – Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade re-team for summer fun in Grown Ups 2.
Adam Sandler's most successful comedy in his long career, the 2010 film Grown Ups took the box office by storm as audiences laughed their way to more than $260 million worldwide. Remarkably for a comedy star, Adam Sandler has proven equally popular at home and abroad – the film took in over $100 million overseas.
So, after more than ten years of blockbuster comedies, Adam Sandler is doing something he's never done before: a sequel. Director Dennis Dugan, who helms his eighth Adam Sandler film with Grown Ups 2, says that there are several reasons why the time is right. 'It was just exciting to bring everybody back together," he says. 'All the characters and relationships were so rich and funny, we knew there were lots more stories to be told. It's like visiting old friends."
For Chris Rock, re-teaming with his fellow funnymen meant the chance to be an especially funny movie. 'It's a playful competition," he says. 'I wanted to be funnier than David Spade, David Spade wants to be funnier than Kevin James, and Kevin James wants to be funnier than Adam Sandler. You just can't help it, if you're a comedian. But the positive side is that I think we really do make each other funnier."
ADAM SANDLER returns as Lenny Feder. Once a Hollywood big-shot, his most recent trip back to his hometown – allowing him to reconnect with his old friends – opened his eyes to what's really important in life. It's a lesson he didn't forget. 'Lenny has quit his job as a Hollywood agent and moved the family back to his hometown," Dugan explains. 'He wants the kids to grow up in a normal place, rather than the craziness of Hollywood."
KEVIN JAMES plays Eric Lamonsoff, who has to face his ultimate fear in the movie. 'One of the things the movie is about is these guys re-living their youth a bit, and now that they're grown up, they're facing up to the things they never dealt with when they were young," says Kevin James. 'My guy is the one guy who never jumped off the huge cliff at the quarry back in the day. Lenny and the guys don't let me live it down… so when the challenge is put in front of me, I am forced to conquer the fears of my youth… or go to a diner, either one."
CHRIS ROCK returns as Kurt McKenzie. A househusband in the first film, he's gone back to work in Grown Ups 2 – not that you'd know it. 'He's supposed to be a cable repairman, but – like all cable repairmen – he's figured out how to do as little real work as possible," Chris Rock explains. 'He gives you the window – -I'll be there between noon and four' – and then he waits for that one moment when you can't answer the door. Knock, no answer, and boom – he leaves the note, reschedule."
DAVID SPADE's character, Marcus Higgins, gets a bit of a comeuppance in Grown Ups 2. 'In the first movie, he discovered that the life he thought he wanted, single and free, wasn't as fulfilling as his friends', even though they were tied down with wives and kids," says David Spade. 'Well, in the sequel, he finds out that the free-and-easy life wasn't as free or easy as he thought – he has a son that he never knew about, and he's coming up to the town to spend some time with the father he never knew. Oh, and the kid is about 18 and enormous and knows how to hold a grudge."
NICK SWARDSON brings the laughs as Nick. 'I was psyched to work with so many great people on this movie," he says. 'People I never thought I'd work with. This movie is really fun and crazy and I am glad I was a part of it."
SALMA HAYEK plays Lenny's wife, Roxanne. This very fashion-conscious woman leaves LA for the small-town, east-coast life. 'She's the only fish out of water," says Salma Hayek. 'The rest of the characters grew up together. So it takes her some time to find her place in her new home town."
For Salma Hayek, the chance to re-team with the cast of Grown Ups was the only invitation she needed. 'I was so excited to get back together with these wonderful actors and comedians," she says. 'We've stayed in touch and I love to work with them – they are so good. I especially love the girls, Maria and Maya – we really bonded last time and we're more relaxed this time. Maya is one of the best comediennes in America, and she actually gets better, year by year. And Maria just brings it – she was fierce."
Salma Hayek says that being on the set is an inspiration for all of the actors to do their best comedic work. 'I was really impressed by how funny everyone was – even actors that you wouldn't expect. Shaquille O'Neal was a revelation to me – he's hilarious, and in this one, he's the funniest he's ever been."
MAYA RUDOLPH plays Deanne McKenzie, the wife of the character played by Chris Rock. She says, 'Chris Rock is hands down one of the smartest, funniest people alive so getting to work with him is always a dream. He can seriously talk to you about anything and I guarantee it will be the most insightful, intelligent, most hilarious take on an issue that you've ever heard. He could read me the Chili's menu and I'd be happy."
MARIA BELLO plays Sally Lamonsoff. She says that a working on an Adam Sandler production is unlike any other. 'You have so much freedom," she says. 'Adam Sandler and the guys expect you to make improvisational choices with your character. Not every choice you make will make it into the movie, but that's OK – some will, and they'll be some of the biggest laughs you get."
'This time, when I got the call, I knew what to expect – I was going back to summer camp," she continues. 'Adam Sandler and Happy Madison create that atmosphere for all of us in Marblehead and Swampscott. It's a really fun production – I was thrilled."
Playing Marcus's son, Braden, is Alexander Ludwig, who recently starred in The Hunger Games. 'Braden is the son that Marcus didn't know he had – but Braden doesn't know that," says Alexander Ludwig. 'He's under the impression that Marcus knew all along, and was just ignoring his son. So theirs is a very strained relationship from the first meeting, because Braden has had years and years to build up anger toward his father. It was fun to play such a crazy, intimidating character."
Still, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. 'He's a huge version of Marcus," says Alexander Ludwig. 'He's got the crazy long hair, the goatee – but he completely overshadows his father."
Alexander Ludwig was especially gratified by the chance to join the comedy. 'After The Hunger Games, I'm glad to have the chance to do something different and keep people guessing. Besides, when Adam Sandler calls and says he's interested in you being in his next movie, you jump at the opportunity."
The film is also chock full of cameos and huge supporting performances. Heartthrob Taylor Lautner joins the fun as the lead frat boy in the pack that causes trouble for our heroes. 'My character and his friends aren't the nicest guys, but that's part of the fun of the movie," he says. 'I can't think of a better way to spend the summer than hanging out with Adam Sandler and his crew. I grew up watching his movies, I'm a big fan of his."
NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal takes on the role of Officer Fluzoo, protecting and serving the good citizens of Stanton, Connecticut. In proving to be a Superman equally skilled in comedy as on the court, Shaq O'Neal saw his role grow from a cameo to a true supporting role. 'It's great to know Adam Sandler, great to work with him," says the 15-time All-Star. 'In my first scene, I was actually kind of nervous – I had to put myself in basketball mode. I saw Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and David Spade, and I said to myself, -OK, there's Jordan, there's Bird, there's Magic. Just go do what you do, Shaq O'Neal.' And I did what I do, and I hope everyone enjoys the movie."
Shaq O'Neal is paired with Happy Madison regular Peter Dante, who plays, appropriately enough, Officer Dante. 'We met, and five minutes later, we were best friends," says Peter Dante. 'I can't believe I get Shaq O'Neal as my partner. He's just the most legitimate, cool, regular, modest, great guy – one of the greatest we've ever had join the party. Right from the first take, he just got it."
Peter Dante says that all of the film's cameos raise the comedic level of the film. 'You'll be in hair and makeup in the morning and look around, and there's Colin Quinn, there's Cheri Oteri, Chris Rock, David Spade, every actor you every laughed at on -Saturday Night Live' – they're all still friends, and they're all there because of Adam Sandler. It's his friendship and loyalty to them – and theirs to him – that is the most amazing thing."
Reprising their roles from Grown Ups are -SNL' alums Colin Quinn and Tim Meadows, as well as Steve Buscemi and Dan Patrick. 'These guys were the nemeses in the first movie," says Dennis Dugan. 'And of course, they all still live in the town – they'll always live in the town – so they're all back – eccentric as ever."
Also returning to the cast of Grown Ups 2 are the kids: Jake Goldberg, Cameron Boyce, and Alexys Nycole Sanchez as the Feder kids; Ada-Nicole Sanger and Frank and Morgan Gingerich as the Lamansoff kids; and Nadji Jeter and China Anne McClain as the McKenzie kids. 'It's great fun to see all the kids again – they've all grown up," says Dennis Dugan. 'The kids that were pre-teens last time have grown into teenagers – and you know teenagers and the last day of school. What are they gonna do? They're gonna sneak off to the quarry."
In real life, things have changed for the actors, too. 'When we cast all of these kids four years ago, they were all just kids, coming in with their moms and dads," says Dennis Dugan. 'Now, as we were scheduling Grown Ups 2, it was easy to get Salma Hayek and Kevin James… but Cameron is in the Disney Channel show -Jessie' and China has become a huge star with her show -A.N.T. Farm!' She's super famous now. And all of the other kids are on their way, too. They're more famous than our famous guys!"
About The Production, Sets and Locations
In filming Grown Ups 2, the crew returned to the north shore of Massachusetts, where they also shot the first film. Production Designer Aaron Osborne says that they sought to build off the look of the first film. 'Grown Ups 1 has an authentic Americana vibe to it," he says. 'I wanted to honour that while at the same time build it up and add to it."
Aaron Osborne says that the sets, locations, and designs are all about giving the comedians a setting to do what they do best. 'It is such a pleasure working with Adam Sandler, because he is so collaborative and riffs off everything you throw at him. Whether it is a design idea or a piece of set dressing, he takes any ball and runs with it."
Similarly, he says, Dennis Dugan brings it all together. 'Dennis Dugan is a fantastic director – he's open to everything," says Aaron Osborne. 'What is so inspiring about Dennis Dugan is that with him, everything is open, and brand new, and exciting. It's infectious – everybody around him falls into it and no one is immune."
The filmmakers found the picturesque and historical towns of Marblehead and Swampscott to serve as the perfect locales for the fictional town of Stanton, Connecticut.
Marblehead's historical district and surrounding areas, including the Old Town House, Abbot Hall, businesses along the scenic Washington Street, Atlantic and Ocean Ave and neighbourhood schools were transformed into the childhood hometown of Lenny Feder and his friends. The local toy store became the Red Arrow Diner (sharing its name with a favorite New Hampshire eatery), while the gallery down the block became Roxanne's Hermosa boutique. Meanwhile, at Gatchell Playground – an eight-acre park with baseball and football fields and a basketball court – the filmmakers were able to construct the ice cream shop. 'I took it as a compliment when people would drive up, ask for ice cream, and not understand why we would not serve it to them," remembers Aaron Osborne.
In Swampscott, the rail station, local school, and various residential homes and streets were used, while Marian College was transformed into a Brunson University fraternity house.
Perhaps most impressively, the filmmakers built a 45,000 sq ft soundstage in Swampscott, where Osborne created the Feder home back yard, including a tree house and pool. 'We just never could find the house with right back yard," says Dennis Dugan. 'And even if we could find it, we realised that we wanted to shoot a night-time party there – which would mean six weeks of night shooting, 9 PM to 6 AM. So we built a soundstage. We wouldn't be disturbing the community and we could shoot day-for-night – and it's much easier for the actors to be funny at 3 PM than at 3 AM."
The solution began with the filmmakers locating a house with a great front yard; they subsequently began designing a back yard to match. 'The back of the real house was right on the ocean," says Aaron Osborne. 'It had a beautiful front, but no back yard. Taking the design of that house, we just started building models of what the back yard might look like. I had a crack art department and we built scale models of how we would like it to be – and we played with hundreds of little figurines for the big fight scene. We went over it with Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler and we just modified and modified until we had a final design. While we did that, we also built models of the soundstage, so the two could be incorporated around each other."
How do you build a soundstage on a football field? You get creative. 'We built it out of shipping containers," says Dennis Dugan. 'Three containers high, 175 feet wide, 250 feet long. Then we put a giant tent on top of the containers and lit it; we built the back of the house in there and put in a lawn, a swimming pool, and trees. It's a bigger space than the biggest stage in Hollywood, and it worked beautifully."
'I've been doing this a long time, and I have to say that the backyard set on Grown Ups 2 is the set I'm the most proud of in my whole career," says Aaron Osborne.
Other locations in Massachusetts were used including the streets in the towns of Saugus, Lexington and the Kmart in Tewksbury. 'Our Kmart set was built into a real Kmart," says Aaron Osborne. 'We worked with their corporate branding team, and they sent in a stylist to help us. I think they were really happy – they wanted to leave everything we did it! It's all about Adam and the cast – building them a great set where we could give them the stage to do their funny stuff."
In addition, the filmmakers found the perfect quarry needed for the film on the Westford/ Tyngsboro line.
About the Costumes
Costume Designer Ellen Lutter marks her 12th feature film with Adam Sandler with Grown Ups 2. Like most of the other 'repeat offenders" on Adam Sandler's crew, she likens the experience to being part of a family – and, she says, it's an experience that she never really saw coming. 'It's rare in the industry these days," she says, for a group of professionals to keep working together, project after project. 'None of us realised it, but I think Adam Sandler was very aware of this system of working – he was very keyed into creating a company, creating a family, that would repeatedly work together. The entire crew turns into a safety net – you care about the project and you care about each other. And it's very freeing – if you have a risky idea, you don't have to start tap dancing or freeze up with anxiety or worry that if it's not understood, you're going to get fired."
Grown Ups 2 represented one of Ellen Lutter's greatest challenges to date, as the climax of the film is an 80s party, with all the main cast, supporting cast, and extras dressed as celebrities from the decade. There are plenty of laughs in the climax of the film, and many of them come from the shock of recognition as sight gag piles on top of sight gag.
How to tackle such a scene? One costume at a time, says Ellen Lutter. 'You always know when you're responsible for the laugh – you don't have to be told," she says. 'I thought about the characters individually. It was more interesting to do costumes that had a little social commentary aspect – to do specific celebrities rather than just make everyone have big hair. We continued the theme in the extras as well – it was more interesting and challenging to have that moment when the audience recognizes a celebrity or idea, and because we had so many, it rewards repeated viewings. The trip down memory lane is what adds to the joke – and, in addition, in and of themselves, the costumes are funny. We had quite a few ways of getting a laugh out of it."
Many of the celebrity references were written into the script, but more came out of discussion with Adam Sandler and Dennis Dugan and research by the costume department. 'We did lists of possibilities," says Ellen Lutter. 'I love research – and because nothing beats a visual representation as a point of departure, we made our lists with the visuals so that we could plug them into our characters. Ultimately, Adam Sandler and Dennis Dugan are the final decision-makers."
Some of the 80s celebrities in the party scene include:
Adam Sandler as Bruce Springsteen
Kevin James as Meat Loaf
Chris Rock as Prince
Alexander Ludwig and David Spade as Hall and Oates
Maria Bello as Madonna
Maya Rudolph as Tina Turner
Nick Swardson as Boy George
Oliver Hudson as Indiana Jones
Shaquille O'Neal and Peter Dante as Miami Vice
Kevin Grady as Magnum PI
Dan Patrick as Larry Bird
Steve Buscemi as Flavor Flav
Ellen Lutter says that for the most part, the actors were happy to play dress-up. 'The one I was worried about was Jake Goldberg, playing Adam Sandler's son Greg, dressing up as Risky Business," she says. 'That costume, you know, is just a shirt, socks, underwear, and a pair of sunglasses, and I didn't know how a teenage boy was going to feel about that. So I thought, OK, I'll have a backup plan. Colin Quinn was set to play Top Gun, and I thought, he's got good legs, if I had to, I could swap them. So I went to Colin to talk to him about it, and he said, -Are you crazy? I'm not doing Risky Business!' Although, by the way, he had no problem being Lover Boy as a backup in a pair of tight red pants that left about as much to the imagination as the Risky Business underwear would have. But I got lucky – Jake was absolutely cool about it and looked great doing it."
Ellen Lutter's other big challenge in the production of Grown Ups 2 is the pair of encrusted, lit-up, blinged-out boots worn by Ada-Nicole Sanger as Donna Lamonsoff. 'Even though it looked like a silly little toy, it was a huge challenge and it took a long time to get it right," she says. 'We started with sketches and collages, and then we built a few prototypes – we didn't know what we wanted until we saw it live and on film in a camera test. When we finally were able to put together a combination of the elements that we liked, we started working on wiring the lights on them to blink – we collaborated with Theo Van de Sande, the director of photography, and the electric department in order to come up with the correct lights that we could control with a dimmer and do the whole thing remotely. The lights were controlled off-camera with a regular lighting cue, as if you had an actor walk in a room and turn on a light. It was fun to create a personality for the lights – they could blink, or chase, or dim down if they were too bright. It was super-fun to create a practical thing that worked flawlessly."
About the Stunts
Grown Ups 2 2nd Unit Director / Stunt Coordinator Scott Rogers says that he found his role changing from the beginning of the process until the film wrapped. 'When I first read the script, I thought, -Oh, this has some funny gags.' By the time we were done, I was amazed at how much we'd done – what started as a simple little comedy turned out to have huge cliff jumps, a rolling tire, and an epic battle royale fight sequence," he says.
Scott Rogers says that the jump off the cliff is standard stuff, if you're a professional stuntman. 'Basically, we were slamming into the water while wearing a very uncomfortable amount of clothing," he says.
Chris Rock says, slyly, 'I jumped off the quarry – in just the same way as Tom Cruise climbed that building in Mission Impossible. We know he did that, right?"
For Alexander Ludwig, it was a rare joy. 'It was one of the best scenes I've ever had the pleasure of filming. What other movie lets you jump off a 50-foot cliff in between takes?"
Another stunt involved David Spade and a rolling tire. 'That was a challenge – if you bury the actor in the tire, you can't see him," says Scott Rogers. 'So we had to purposely build a prop tire where David Spade wouldn't be fully buried inside it, but it still had to look just like a real tire. We also had to be able to mount a camera inside. Well, we actually rolled him inside the tire down the street. It's one of those scenes that's just so much funnier when you see it's really the actor doing it – it completely makes the scene. When David Spade was in it, we had complete control over the tire – we drove a cart that pulled the tire. But then, with a stunt double, we got it going up to 18 miles per hour. It was pretty funny."
Dennis Dugan says that David Spade was not entirely on board for the stunt at the outset. 'I had to do it first," he says. 'Only after he saw an old man had done it was he embarrassed enough to do it. I'm glad he did, because it's very funny and very cool."
For the final fight sequence at the party, many stunt men and free runners were brought in to choreograph the action. Scott Rogers explained, 'The actors were full tilt, it was pretty amazing to watch. Between the cast, the stunt people, and the extras, we had to be pushing 300 people on camera. We spent about a week working on all of the separate little fights in the sequence."
Dennis Dugan says that the party scene involved another memorable stunt. 'We wanted to have a guy skiing down a roof and doing a belly flop into the pool. Well, Peter Dante says, -I'll do it,'" he remembers. 'Of course, he wasn't really doing it – he was in a harness, tied to cables. Still, he smacked into that water, face down. My face and belly hurt just thinking about it. He got up and came out of the water, and he was mildly goofy for about three days – but Peter Dante's mildly goofy is way beyond what the rest of us are."
But even though Grown Ups 2 had so much more action than expected, Scott Rogers still sees a way to top it: 'If we do Grown Ups 3D, that'll be epic."
Grown Ups 2
Release Date: September 19th, 2013