Where was the couple's retreat filmed? Eden East

Facts and background to the film "All Inclusive"

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Production: the beginning

In 1996, Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau hit the Hollywood radar with the comedy "Swingers". This film, written by Favreau, described the lives of two unemployed actors who impress the women and want to be successful in Los Angeles. The film immediately became a classic and was the starting shot for the two men's careers as well as for “All Inclusive”. In 2007, the popular and often cited film "Swingers" won the Guy Movie Hall of Fame Award at Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards. After the award ceremony was taped, Vaughn and Favreau returned to one of the locations where their film was set - The Dresden Room - to celebrate. And it was there that Vaughn presented the “All Inclusive” concept to Favreau.

"I got this idea through a group of friends who are married and have typical relationship problems - some being a bit more extreme than the others," says Vaughn. “One of them should be the catalyst that tells the others about his discovery: 'I have found this place, the Mecca for all marital issues.' His friends and couples have to come along because he and his wife can only afford it at a cheaper group rate . The couples think it will be a great vacation trip, but once they arrive in paradise, they find that everyone has to take part in the marriage counseling therapies. The funny thing is that you can see all relationships under the microscope. "

“It should be ordinary people with everyday problems who end up in a very special environment,” Vaughn continues. “You have to be able to identify with the story so that the audience can recognize something of themselves in the four couples and can also laugh at the situations and obstacles that have to be overcome there. In addition, the script should convey a lot of hope and the fulfillment of longings. Because even if things may be exhausting, it is better to love and work on a relationship than to have no relationship at all. "

Favreau was open to working with his longtime good friend. "Vince approached me for the first time in a number of years with the idea of ​​working together again," reports Favreau. "When he then presented the idea for" All Inclusive "to me, I found the concept very convincing."

Vaughn also reached out to Scott Stuber, the production partner with whom he had worked on the highly successful 2006 anti-romantic comedy “Separation with Obstacles”: “Vince and I are always talking about ideas for new projects together. When he told me about the “All Inclusive” concept, I found it a great way to explore relationship issues in a big comedy, ”says Stuber.

After Favreau agreed to co-write the script with Vaughn and comedy writer Dana Fox, they began developing the story. They focused on four couples from the American Midwest - the seemingly perfect couple Dave & Ronnie, the overanalytical Jason & Cynthia, the divorced Joey & Lucy, and the newly separated and newly in love Shane and Trudy - whose relationships are based on the paradise resort to be put to the test.

For Favreau, the premise of the film was that one should be able to identify with it; it was to be his most personal film since “Swingers”: “I've had experiences with marriage and as a father of small children, and there is a lot of humor in it. This is a topic that I had not yet examined carefully. "

Stuber adds: “What I particularly liked about the script is that it focuses on human behavior and relationship issues, but at the same time conveys a lot of hope and joy. I also knew that doing the film with a group of people who are all friends would be great. The more often you can make films with people with whom you have a lot in common, the more often you want to repeat this experience. "

Vaughn's search for a director began and ended with Peter Billingsley, who makes his directorial debut in "All Inclusive." Billingsley can look back on a considerable oeuvre as a producer, including in a production partnership with Vaughn on "Made", "Separation with Obstacles" and "My Sweetheart, Our Family and Me" as well as with Favreau on "Made", "Zathura - An Adventure in Space "," Iron Man "and the TV project" Dinner for Five ". But his desire to direct arose as a young actor when he was cast for the role of Ralphie in the holiday classic "A Christmas Story".

"When we did A Christmas Story, I spent a lot of time on set with director Bob Clark," says Billingsley. “I'd always been interested in these things over the years, and he also gave me the best advice when I told him I wanted to be a director. He said, 'Go to the editing room, because that's where you'll learn how to make movies.' So I started spending as much time as possible in post-production. I thought that if I was determined to direct, the right project would show up at some point. "

As a long-term partner in Vaughn's production company Wild West Picture Show Productions, Billingsley had such a close bond with Vaughn that it was an easy decision for him: "Vince and I get along almost blindly, because we've been business partners and friends for so long," he says Filmmakers. “The film“ All Inclusive ”is our fourth film together. Our previous projects helped me prepare to direct this film. I understand how Vince likes to develop the story and characters, and we both knew very well what we wanted to achieve with this film. "

With Billingsley on board as a director, the project took off at Universal Pictures under the flags of Vaughn's Wild West Picture Show Productions and Stuber Pictures.

Production: The cast

Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau and Faizon Love were on this project even before the script was written; the authors enjoyed the luxury of knowing the voices of the leading actors before filming began. “Now that Vince and I can make films, he was able to find and hire exactly the actors he wanted to cast for the leading male roles,” says Favreau. "That was wonderful because when I know the voice I'm writing a role for, it's a lot easier for me."

During the cast, the director and producers looked not just for comedy actors, but for actors who could also master dramatic twists and turns. "Three of the four couples have been married for a number of years, so they should have all of the nuances that are so common in a marriage," says Stuber. “All actors should appear extremely lovable and natural. Vince, Jon, Jason and Faizon have been friends for a long time, but Kristin, Kirsten, Malin and Kali have joined the group. All four got along really well straight away and looked like long-time friends. I am convinced that the audience will identify with each couple and will keep their fingers crossed for them to get their problems under control. "

For Vaughn, Vince was exactly the character he believed audiences would instantly connect with: "Dave is just a normal guy who leads a good life," explains Vaughn. “He's a great father and husband, but he never takes the time to take it easy and enjoy his life. When he comes to the island, however, he has to pause and think: 'Do my wife and I have problems or are the advisors really going too far here?' "

Billingsley liked his friend's approach to a role that could all too easily have become a cardboard mate. Says the director: “Vince has a great sense of the story, the characters and the overall development. You put people in a certain situation and look for interesting ways to develop it further. When he puts himself in the shoes of a character, he finds even better ways to convey its intentions than those given on paper. "

Jason Bateman plays Jason, an overly analytical husband whose power point presentation is ultimately crucial in convincing his friends to travel to Eden. "Jason sets the stone in motion for this movie," explains Vaughn. “He and his wife are having marital problems right now and believe that taking a trip to the ultimate couples paradise will make it easier for them to make decisions: divorce yes or no. Ultimately, however, all couples have their own reasons for wanting to go on this trip. "

“I got a call and I heard it was about a comedy with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. It was supposed to be playing in Bora Bora, and they gave the character my real first name. It couldn't be better, ”says actor Bateman. “They even gave this role my sense of humor, my way of talking, everything. I will probably have to repay part of my fee to Universal - but I hope to have made up for that with my performance. "

Favreau worked on two fronts, both as a co-writer and in the role of Joey, an unhappily married man on the verge of divorce: “My own experiences are more reflected in Dave played by Vince. The other roles are extreme examples of relationships that go wrong, ”admits Favreau. "Joey is what happens to you when you stop working on your marriage and everything just dies, but the process takes a good 20 years."

“A lot of people can identify with Lucy and Joey; their child is about to go to college and they suffer from 'empty nest syndrome', "says Stuber. “They soon ask themselves, 'Are we still a couple? Are we still close? ’Jon is a formidable writer and actor who can easily convey these feelings on screen. His friendship with Vince and the other actors brings that out even more. ”

Shane has just separated from his wife and is going through his own mid-life crisis; He is played by Faizon Love, also a colleague of Vaughn and Favreau. "When they offered me the role, it felt like a student project because Jon, Vince, Peter and I have been friends for a long time," says Love. "Shane is going through a difficult phase and has a 20-year-old girlfriend who makes him feel young again and tries to forget that he is about to get divorced."

“Faizon is the kind of person who always interests you no matter what they do,” says Vaughn. “His role is very funny, but still touching because you feel for him in his difficult times. Faizon was the perfect cast because he exudes this mixture of humor and commitment. "

When the female lead roles were cast with Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kristin Davis and Kali Hawk, the filmmakers found an ensemble of actresses who were convincing friends and who were able to hold their own as a strong antithesis to the men's group.

The role of Dave's wife Ronnie is played by the Swedish actress Malin Akerman, who recently starred as Silk Specter II in the action film “Watchmen”. Most viewers, however, know her from her comedic roles in “After 7 Days - Tilted Out” and “Itself is the Bride”. “What I really liked about the story is that all four couples are so different,” says Akerman. “I've been married two years and the story speaks to me too. Relationships are difficult and require a lot of work. Sometimes we take things so seriously that we forget that it's about the little things. "

Commenting on the cast, Billingsley said, “Ronnie and Dave are the eyes of the audience. So since they are the healthy people in a sick world, they must also be the most down to earth. We saw Malin in "After 7 Days - Flittered Out" and found her very funny, just the right cast for the role of Ronnie. In that movie, Malin had to cope with some extremely weird situations, and that took a lot of dedication from her. If someone can convey this so elegantly and at the same time so lovingly and devotedly, that is an indication of a talented actress for us. Also, Malin is so relaxed and that gives her role confidence, which ultimately tipped the balance for us. "

When casting Jason's also hyper-analytical wife, Cynthia, the filmmakers turned to Kristen Bell, leading actress on the hit song "Never Have Sex With Your Ex". "Cynthia was very important for a number of reasons," says Billingsley. “There is no escapade in her marriage, and she actually believes deeply and firmly that everything will always turn out well. For her role, we wanted an actress who was beautiful and Jason was a great wife. Kristen has exactly these qualities. I had never met her before, but after spending an hour with her at the general meeting, we were all convinced that she had to play Cynthia. "

"Cynthia isn't really much of myself, but it wasn't difficult to empathize with her," laughs Bell. “She is exactly the woman I would like to be sometimes: always on time, organized, determined and has everything under control. She focuses on the problem, but always strives for a solution. But you can't always live like this, and that's exactly why she and her husband have marital problems. "

For the role of Lucy, Joey's unfaithful better half, the filmmakers cast Kristin Davis, one of the stars from “Sex and the City”, completely contrary to her type: “Lucy is a whole new role for me,” says Davis. "That was funny because the first time I read the script, I asked myself, 'Are you really going to give me the role of Lucy?" But that's exactly why it was great fun. Sometimes it just takes other actors to see an actor in a completely different light. "

The filmmakers felt it would be ridiculous to make a film about couples without addressing the issue of infidelity. For the role of the married young mother who likes to let her gaze wander, Billingsley and the producers saw in Davis exactly the lovable energy that a potentially negative character needs. Vaughn says, “Kristin has been in the comedy genre for a long time. She's very funny and has great timing. There is also something very lovable about her by nature. Casting her as Lucy was exactly the right thing, because this role should sweep the audience away and get them excited. "

In her first major feature film role as Trudy, Shane's carefree 20 year old friend, we see Kali Hawk. "Trudy does what she wants and doesn't care a bit about other people's opinions," says Hawk. “I have a friend who is very similar to Trudy; she also says things in real life like what Trudy says best in the film. I'm much cautious, while Trudy falls through the door if something doesn't fit her. She doesn't really fit into Shane's circle of friends, but she's the only one among all those involved who still knows how to really have fun. "

The filmmakers auditioned a number of actresses for the role of Trudy and chose Hawk. Stuber explains: “Kali had a difficult task ahead of her when she was hired for the role of Trudy, and she did it really well. Again and again she could make us all laugh out loud, simply by a little look or a movement of the head. "

After Jason and Cynthia persuade their friends to come to Eden with them, the other couples discover that recreational activities like jet skiing or lounging on the beautiful beach can only be enjoyed after attending the couples therapies and programs that start at 6:00 a.m. start. The pale host and constant motivator Sctanley (pronounced Stanley), embodied by the British comedian Peter Serafinowick, ensures discipline and order at the resort. Sctanley is extremely conservative and strict, and thus a funny opponent for Dave.

Yoga teacher Salvadore, played by Puerto Rican-born Carlos Ponce, is one of the diverse characters who work at the Eden Resort. With his hardened astral body and long locks, his “energetic” teaching methods also help to exceed the personal boundaries of the couples he cares for.

All instructions in the Eden Resort are based on the ideas of the internationally renowned couple guru Monsieur Marcel, embodied by Jean Reno. “If there is one message that Marcel wants to pass on to the world, it is to show yourself naked in front of the people you like,” laughs Reno. “Be naked internally, emotionally, not just physically. Do not hide or lie. Even when it hurts, it's always better to tell the truth to the people you love. "

In the role of the sons of Dave and Ronnie, Gattlin Griffith ("The Strange Son") and newcomer Colin Baiocchi can be seen in unforgettable performances as eight-year-old Robert and five-year-old Kevin.

To round off the supporting cast, Tasha Smith ("Why Did I Get Married?") As Jennifer, Temuera Morrison ("Star Wars" series) as Marcel's right-hand man Briggs, newcomer Jonna Walsh as Lucy's and Joey's daughter Lacey and John Michael Higgins (“Separation with Obstacles”) and Ken Jeong (“Hangover”) as two of the unorthodox therapists at the Eden Resort.

After the casting of all roles was complete, the filmmakers set out to find the perfect location for the Eden Resort, the world's most impressive retreat for couples.

Production: Shooting on Bora Bora

Several tropical islands were shortlisted as locations for “All Inclusive”, including Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas and Bali. "I asked our production designer, Shepherd Frankel, 'If we could go anywhere in the world to do this film, where would we shoot?'" Recalls Billingsley. “So we looked at practically every tropical island on the planet.” But after the filmmakers saw the turquoise blue water that surrounds the sparkling white sandy beaches of the distant island of Bora Bora, they knew they had found the ideal location for the Eden Resort had.

"All Inclusive" is the first feature film to be shot in this region of the South Pacific since Jan Troell filmed the adventure epic "Hurricane" there in 1979. The filmmakers analyzed over a dozen resorts on these islands of French Polynesia, particularly looking for hotels that offered bungalows directly over the water and the very best in relaxation. “The key was to find a place where we would have the entire department alone,” explains Billingsley.

After scouring the island, the filmmakers made a deal with the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort that would become their Eden. The St. Regis is a five-star hotel and is located on Motu Piti Aau (which means "two hearts" in Tahitian). The almost 3,600 square meter area is surrounded by white sandy beaches, an idyllic lagoon extends over three separate pavilions, and Mont Otemanu rises as a backdrop in the background.

"The St. Regis is spectacular and a completely self-sufficient island, with no roads or cars," says the director. “You can only get there by boat, and the bungalows right over the water are breathtaking: they're over 500 square meters, so we had enough space in them for the filming. There is also a beautiful lagoon and the mountain of Bora Bora in the background; this was perfect for the yoga deck we wanted to build. They let us take over the entire department and dispose of all the facilities. "

While the island provided film production with wonderful landscapes, it also posed a number of special challenges: “The pre-production team had to sort out massive logistical problems,” says Billingsley. “Victoria Vaughn, Guy Riedel and Unit Production Manager Udi Nedivi sat down at a table with the President of French Polynesia and explained our plans. The government then paved the way for us. I don't think anyone really understood the full scope of the logistical challenges we had maneuvered ourselves into. But when you work in a group that is fully committed to a project, you can achieve incredible things. "

Film crews very seldom come to Bora Bora, so the filmmakers had to transport all their equipment there by ship or plane. The crew brought a total of 15 six-meter-long cargo containers and a couple of almost twelve-meter-long cargo containers with the necessary equipment. In addition, several tons of material were transported by plane, as well as around 120 people belonging to the staff and the cast.

“For a comedy, the logistics and production conditions were extremely complicated. Both our production team and the crew did a great job, ”praised Stuber. “They finished everything two weeks before the usual deadline to ensure that all of our cameras, lenses, films, etc. were on site on time. Everything that was transported was essential and was also used. "

Filming began on October 4th, 2008 at the welcome dock of the St. Regis Resort, where cinematographer Eric Edwards and director Billingsley were filming the arrival of the four couples by boat: “On the first day of shooting in Bora Bora, we filmed a beautiful, wide-open shot of our arrival Leading actor in the Eden Resort, ”reports Billingsley. “This place is so incredibly beautiful, it really looks like we've colored the water with food coloring. It's radiant turquoise, crystal clear, and everything is so clear that you might think we have manipulated the images - everything is there 100% nature! "

But soon after arriving on the island, the bond between the actors was to be put to the test. One of the first scenes to be shot was the encounter with Eden's relationship guru, Monsieur Marcel. Each of the couples has to face each other directly and remove them except for their underwear.

"For Marcel, this first exercise is a metaphor about getting to know your own body in the presence of other people, because only then can a good relationship begin because then you can't hide behind anything," explains Reno. "These are neither expensive clothes nor cars or houses to hide behind."

"It's strange to stand next to your best friends and their husbands and have to undress," says Malin Akerman. “Then there is a relationship guru in his swimming trunks who speaks encouraging words. And you just think: 'Who is this guy and why am I doing what he says?' "

"It's a very funny and disarming scene," adds Jason Bateman. “It's one of the first exercises we have to do as a group, and it's very uncomfortable - not just for the characters in the movie, but also for the actors themselves. Vince, Jon, Faizon and myself, we weren't exactly out of a magazine cover But it's a comedy, and we'd give anything for a laugh. The week the writers wrote this scene, they were probably mad at Faizon because he even has to take off his pants. "

Another wonderfully oppressive scene is the yoga class with teacher Salvadore. The idea for this came from Vaughn's experience in a yoga studio in Los Angeles: “I had a friend who took me to yoga, and during the exercises I asked myself, 'Is this really happening right now?' Everyone pretends to be he wouldn’t mind at all how the teacher teaches even though he’s fond of the girls. It was totally bizarre. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone - so I thought that made a funny movie scene. Anyone who has ventured into this world of spiritual calm has already met such a frightening yoga guy. "

For Ponce, the rehearsals were extremely helpful during preproduction. He was grateful that there were clothed exercises to try out the very intimate movements, which were then filmed in a hilarious but totally inappropriate manner. The rehearsals were good for breaking the ice so he didn't have to worry about whether the actors would say after the scene, "What the hell were you thinking?"

One of the many challenges of filming on Bora Bora was getting the actors, staff, and equipment to and from the set every day. Since there are no roads or cars on the island, the only mode of transport was a fleet of boats and rafts. Under the direction of stunt and marine coordinator Dan Malone, the crew transported both people and material from the airport, the ports and four different hotels on a daily basis.

“Everything happens by water in Bora Bora,” says Malone. “We had to equip the St. Regis with our own generators that came on large rafts. We moved the entire production back and forth in this way. The water around the "motus", these small coral islands, is very shallow, so we went ashore on the beach, loaded all the equipment for the day and then unloaded it again. "

Another challenge for the team was filming on the turquoise blue water. These scenes also include the actors diving into the sea with sharks and rays. “We chose an area about ten minutes away by boat, where the water is six meters deep, and we went with a fleet of 15 boats and rafts,” recalls Malone. “We had a technology raft with a crane assembly and an underwater diving support team. Between takes, the actors went into a green room swinging on the water; the whole thing was incredible. "

For Vaughn, acting alongside these creatures was a whole new experience: “I really went into the water and swam with the sharks; But since I come from the Midwest, a lake is a great thing for me. The ocean is a mystical place where I don't belong, ”he says. “When I was young I saw Jaws and then I was afraid of the swimming pool. Diving into the sea next to the sharks made me nervous, but after I got in I was happy about it. "

While the actors tend to be all too keen to improvise, it's not as easy as it looks. "Improvisation is an often misused term, like one actor trying to outdo the other," says Billingsley. “It's actually just another way of achieving the goal in a scene. As a director you have to have enough discipline not to shout 'Cut!' Too early in a scene - something could develop and give you a hit. Eric and I always had multiple cameras on to make sure everything was captured when there were great moments like this. Our job then is just to shut up, hold back and let it happen. "

Vaughn agrees: “When you give people the freedom to try their hand at things and play around, it feels more organic. I've always loved people who feel like everything on set is improvised. In reality, it's a constant process, and a lot has been written before it even starts shooting. As soon as you feel like you've hit the nail on the head, we treat ourselves to one or two free takes to try more things; everyone contributes something and offers ideas even before the shoot. "

This comedy style was very welcome to the actors, especially Vaughn's antagonist from "Separation With Obstacles," character actor John Michael Higgins. While filming the therapy session with Malin Akerman, both men tried to keep their poker faces. "Vince and I rarely have to drop our masks," Higgins admits. “It was one of those situations where we couldn't look each other in the eye or say anything without laughing. We were completely overwhelmed. "

Although this is Billingsley's first directorial work in a feature film, he always gave the actors and crew the feeling of being in the hands of an experienced filmmaker: "Every day Peter came to the set and knew exactly what he wanted," says Stuber. “He also knew that sometimes, because this is a comedy, things would go wrong. The actors would deviate from the text, and he wasn't afraid to give them that freedom. You trusted him. And if there was a problem, he also thinks like a producer and knows how to get exactly the attitudes that he needs. "

“As a producer, I had already worked with the heads of all departments and with 80% of the crew. So they were so kind to be with me on my first feature film direction, ”says Billingsley. “They helped me to make the communication channels uncomplicated. I try not to be too strenuous and still work quickly because a comedy takes energy. You ask people to be funny, so you should act briskly so that there is always a high, lively energy on the set. "

"The funny thing about this film is that we find everyday situations that everyone has to deal with on a day-to-day basis and put them in a fun environment, under extraordinary conditions, so that the situations can develop into comedy," adds Vaughn . “The film conveys a lot of hope and optimism, but it's not tacky about it. We also get our hands dirty, have fun and are not always polite. "

Production: The design of the comedy

Production designer Shepherd Frankel had the task of transforming the beautiful St. Regis into the different sets of the Eden Resort. Although no feature film has been shot on Bora Bora in decades, the locals gave the production team a warm welcome. One of the focal points of the Eden became the Community Center, which serves as the venue for the therapy sessions.

"When we decided on Bora Bora, we decided to build sets that direct our gaze towards the mountain, the blue water, the green vegetation and the white sand, and then frame this landscape," explains Frankel. “The Community Center is the heart of Eden, where couples meet for therapy. When we got to know the St. Regis, we were looking for a place with the best possible view. There wasn't a suitable building on the site, but nearby is a motu that was dry and parched with black sand and a few palm trees. What it did have, however, was a breathtaking view of Mount Bora Bora. So we built the community center and brought white sand for the beach. "

The design of the 18 by 9 meter center looked fabulous on paper, but Billingsley, Vaughn, and Stuber wondered how to build it in such a short time. The director explains the solution: “Shepherd designed it so that it was based on local techniques and could be made from local materials. Our crew could not have made the roof in such a short time, but the Polynesians on site did it in just a week. It was impressive to watch them at work. Together with our crews they erected some concrete pillars and took part in some of the most difficult measurements as well as the scaffolding for the lighting. "

Frankel's inclusion of the local architecture was also useful for the lighting. “One of the things we did to match the look of the St. Regis with that of the center was the coral walls behind the structure,” says the designer. “These walls also served us as reflectors that were illuminated from the outside. The totems also had two functions. They show the iconography of the Eden program: earth, fire, air, water, man and woman. They were also the supports for a silk sail so that our actors didn't have to stand in the blazing sun all day. With this silk scarf we could also control the lighting better. "

One of the biggest challenges of all came when film production returned to Stage 12 at Universal. The largest set in the film had to be built there: Eden East, the hedonistic sister resort of Eden West. The set was full of cabana tents, torches, a show stage and a huge pool with a decadent floating bar and dance floor with interactive lighting that hung over the pool.

Explained, Billingsley said, “It just wasn't feasible to get 300 extras to Bora Bora. The whole movie moves towards Eden East like a pilgrimage site, so we knew this place had to be amazing. At the same time, however, we had to be able to reduce the dimensions of the set in order to block out the noise as soon as it came to the couple's central emotional moments. "

The director continues: “We shot the scenes in Eden East in Los Angeles in January. If we had used a villa with a heated pool for this purpose, people would have been standing in bikini in the freezing cold at four in the morning and the pool would have disappeared in the steam mist, and that would have looked strange. So we let Shepherd build the set; So we could shoot all day long, control the climate at the location and generate warm water without steam. "

Production designer Frankel admits that this was his toughest job: “When you create a cavity for water to be lifted out of the ground, the biggest problem is keeping the structure watertight. The pool was set up before the lighting and grip equipment were set up. Imagine building a pool at home and then around 100 people for 20 days and lifting heavy equipment into the air, with nuts and bolts raining all the time. The crew knew we had to secure the pool because if it was filled with water and then there was a leak, it would never fix it. ”Frankel and the production crew excelled, making Eden East a great location for some of the Offers final scenes of the film.

Interview with Jason Bateman and Kirsten Bell

Are you already doing the interview together? We heard that you've been doing everything together since the movie - except sex

K: Exactly! But where did you hear such a thing?

It was seen on YouTube.

J: Oh, you saw that on YouTube, so it has to be true - like that, doesn't it?

Not exactly. Because that's what you said, Jason, in a clip.

K: Well, unfortunately that's true too.

We notice that too. We actually expected that we would do two separate interviews!

J: Nah, it's true that we really make everything out of sex together. You're right about that.

K: Yes, and we get along very well. Actually.

Now that we have landed at the interface between your roles in film and real life: Jason, your character in the film is also called Jason. Are you very much like him? And if so, why is that so?

J: Hm, I don't know why that is either.

K: No, we know, sweetheart.

J: Yeah, that's right.

K: The fact is that Jason gets confused very quickly. You have to address him by his real name, otherwise he will not even notice you! He was supposed to be called Fred in the film

J: but after two weeks we noticed that it wasn't working. You could throw away the material. Then we started again with my name.

Delicious! But now seriously?

J: Well I really don't know. Perhaps John Favreau and Vince Vaughn thought I was overzealous, stuffy, and achievement-oriented like the Jason I play. In this case, however, the friends rated me incorrectly!

Yes, you are playing a character who is so stuffy that she also gives PowerPoint presentations privately. It's kind of hard to imagine - do you mean that such people exist?

K: I hope not!

J: I doubt it.

K: Yes, a couple like that can only exist in a comedy, right? Or at most in a lunatic asylum

Such an insane asylum would have been this island of Bora Bora

J: For the characters, of course! For us as actors it was a dream. We were allowed to go back the week before last to celebrate the premiere - and that was great! Such a beautiful place. Sometimes you wonder why you didn't just stay there.

K: I know why I came back: So that I could travel on to Australia, Asia and Germany. I definitely wanted to go to Hamburg.

J: Oh, Hamburg, yes, of course. I wanted to say too.

You're flattering us a little. But tell us what you've seen of the city.

J: I was walking a bit

K: where we also drove a car to see as much as possible

J: yes, although I got out of the car a few times to take a closer look at things and to talk to the local people. One of them didn't want that

K: yes, I'm sorry, I didn't have the right cobblestone shoes with me. But what we definitely did was try a lot of baked goods. I just can't get enough of this bread. Not even the delicious, sweet pastries.

What you can't tell

J: Well, wait for her to get up. You can see that around the back.

K: That's a little bit true. Although I burn very quickly - and I talk a lot

J: Yes!

K: which also consumes calories. But if I lived in Germany, it wouldn't work at all. I would be fat very quickly.

J: Yeah, we have the next Kathleen Turner here.

K: What, darling?

J: Nothing said. Tell me, do you write all this down?


J: Oh.

When the two of you quarrel, we remember: Every couple in the film needs a relationship therapist. Do you know this from your own experience in real life? Do many people do it like that?

J: A lot of people do that where we come from California.

K: Although I think that anyone who works with Jason can leave that behind with therapy and start with hard drugs. This is the only way to bear it.

J: It also costs less. Such a therapist is expensive.

K: But apart from our jokes, I've already done therapy - but not from that wacky L.A. hit with gurus and scandals etc., but a completely normal one in which I analyzed my feelings. It was a good experience for me and I've done it with my boyfriend (in real life - not Jason). I am not addicted to therapy, but I find it good where it helps and gives me a tool that I can use to better understand myself.

A very practical approach, so; not like in the movie or how you imagine it in California.

K: Exactly, although it's not that bad in California. At least not in my circle of acquaintances. These are stereotypes. Oh, like the old British joke about the Californians and the lightbulb?

J: I don't know him yet. Can you tell me

Of course: How many Californians does it take to replace a lightbulb?

K: How many? Two - a Californian and his therapist.

J: Delicious, I have to remember. Yes, but of course it's not there yet, even if a surprising number of them are now undergoing therapy. The Californian would say that this conversation is already a relationship in some ways.

Do we want to analyze that? We could start relationship therapy.

J: I would save your readers that.

K: I would find that very interesting. How we as actors empathize with our characters is to some extent therapy. I'm very open about that.

Especially since something very beautiful can emerge from a real relationship with the character being played. If you are very good at your role, you can improvise wonderfully

K: That's right, although the improvisations often served more to warm us up. Because, of course, all eight of us main actors already had great ideas off the cuff. The only thing that mattered was that the film told a story: So we had to refrain from a lot of things that would have been funny at the moment. Because such a film is not just a series of slogans and gags. The creative spirit behind it knows best.

Did you also have insight into the production of the film?

K: No, not really. I'll let Peter and Vince rule their wands - my job is to get them as much good material as I can.

Vince Vaughn already does both. He also wrote the script. Do you think he's mad?

K: Insanely creative, yes! But it is definitely insane to take on so much work. Again, he's doing great. He's one of the best filmmakers, actors, and writers there has ever been. He can do it all. He has good instincts and knows immediately which of the thousands of brilliant ideas that always come to mind, in which context, work best. Just sitting there and looking at it is a real pleasure. As I said, he can incorporate the joking around in such a way that the story doesn't suffer from it - that doesn't work at all in many other films.

J: You have to say that his energy drove the whole thing. He has a strong leader and pulls people away. We also had a lot of fun filming - not least because of him.

And which scene was the funniest for you when you were shooting?

J: That was probably that PowerPoint scene where my character tries to convince the other couples to go on this relationship therapy vacation with me. It was a question of timing: the pictures in the presentation, which were very funny, had to match exactly what we were talking about. Plus, it was just a pleasure for me to be in a scene that was so important to the whole film. We had to explain a few things to moviegoers and be funny at the same time: That was an interesting challenge.

K: "Explain" - darling, say it more simply. You don't always have to come up with something like that

J: Yeah, okay, let's say "explain".

K: Well, whatever. We had a lot of funny improvisations on the scene - unfortunately only a fraction of them could get into the film. But unfortunately that's the way it is. It was definitely a lot of fun and I think the audience will definitely notice that.

And what about the sharks? Was that just as fun?

J: Well, Kirsten is probably too young and therefore doesn't know Jaws, but I know the film. I was six when I saw the film and I've been really scared of sharks ever since. However, I was able to process that a little while shooting and now I'm much more relaxed in this regard. The sharks were really very big - that wasn't always easy! But the scene turned out great and it was worth overcoming for the film.

Interview with Vince Vaughn

You look a little tired: How was the premiere last night?

Yes Perfect! Although we weren't on the road that long afterwards - maybe the others. But I only had a short meal with my fiancée and then went to bed early.


Yes, honestly!

Well, we believe you for once. By the way: Congratulations! Now that you've got engaged, you've taken the first step in a direction that is now very familiar to you ...

Do you mean couples therapy?

Yes, that's what the film is about. But before we have to go to therapy, I would first like to have children with my wife. Or at least adopt, which would be even better: You could take in a child at the age of 17. Then you only have to support it for another year

Your little son in the film is far from ready, but you could adopt, right?

Yes, absolutely! Is not he cute? By the way, I think it's great to be in front of the camera with children. You are so direct, so honest. You just have to create the right framework conditions so that they feel comfortable and have fun, and then very nice things happen. As the uncle of two children, I have already gained experience there; and our director of Peter Billingsley was in front of the camera as a kid and knows how to do it to make them have fun.

Do you occasionally get inspiration from the children?

Definitely! Being an uncle is wonderful because I get this inspiration and can go home at the end of the day. But seriously: I love children. They like to laugh and want to have fun - just like me. I'm looking forward to my children.

In any case, in the film you play the air guitar with ease like a child

Correct! But a lot of adults do that - mainly because in a relationship you don't always go out on the weekend, but meet other couples and have a TV evening or a video game evening. I really like to play things like that - I'm totally into it and, although it's primarily about entertainment, I put a lot of effort into it. Of course you laugh at yourself afterwards, but it's definitely fun. It's embarrassing afterwards, but that's how we humans are.

But not so, do we have the impression?

That's true. Almost nothing is embarrassing to me. I've always been like that, always putting “having fun” before “being cool”. Only when you remove your make-up from your ironic demeanor and fully step in, these things are really fun.

What was your favorite game as a child?

Now as an adult already air guitar! I've reduced my video game consumption noticeably since I've been in a relationship. Play a lot with my nephews and nieces now, and then rather with old toys that challenge the imagination - that is, with traditional toys that have to be thought of as a story. Today, however, children are already on the Internet at the age of four or five. Perhaps that has changed since my youth!

You played with figurines and that sort of thing?

Yes sure! My father was a toy seller, so I had an excellent resource. He always had to drive around the country and introduce new toys - and I always got the copies afterwards. And he was traveling a lot!

In the film you also play a father who cannot always be there for his children because of his work. How did you research your role in everyday life?

I did a lot of research there. My films are always very close to the reality of everyday life of normal people: this was already the case with "Swingers". Not a film that was even noticed by the critics, but which is regarded as a cult after just a few years. Because the film was about what life is like as a young man: Nothing really exciting - partying, talking to women - but exactly what young men experience. Only slightly exaggerated and merrily raised by us.

And this film is about the reality of life ten years later.

Exactly. Back then we were like swingers, now I'm like many other people: You're married, you may have children and possibly a house that you have to pay off. Children want to be brought up, and a house like this needs to be looked after: You hardly have any more time for yourself or for your wife. You are rushed and never come to rest - it feels like being on a hamster wheel.

So does the relationship fall by the wayside?

Just. As I have observed with some friends, you are slowly growing apart. Then it starts with small differences of opinion - for example how or whether the children should be punished now because they have done something wrong - and the familiar home becomes a workplace where you have to assert yourself: against your wife or girlfriend! Most of the time you can do it, not all relationships fail because of it. But it's difficult sometimes. In this film, I wanted to ask the question whether this has to be the case? Isn't there more to a life together than arguments, coordination and compensation?

So is that the message of the film? That a relationship is more?

That's the message, exactly. Not every couple - like we in the film - will be lucky enough to be able to fly to Bora Bora and get help from couples therapists. But in the film we show that the therapy alone is not decisive. The couples have to find each other again - and it's very easy. For example, towards the end of the film, my character is having a beer with his wife again at night, outside, under the stars - just like they would have done in the past. You can't do that every day in a family, but you should leave the differences of opinion aside and just do what you used to like to do together every now and then. Maybe only once a week, but then definitely.

So couples have to learn to approach each other again?

Yes, and not only that. Learning at all! We all learn the fastest from our mistakes. So you have to be able to admit it and then move on. This mainly comes with age and experience.

You say mistakes and experience: But many people want to learn all this directly from the therapist - are we as a society too dependent on therapies and advice?

I can't tell anyone what is best for them. Everyone has to see what is good for them and what is not. But if therapy doesn’t help him, then he should break it off.

Have you had any experience there?

At school I had to go to therapy because I had learning difficulties. But that was all a long time ago and finished.

But you must have had therapy before you could swim with all these sharks for one scene

The film Jaws already traumatized me. I also grew up in Chicago - so far from the ocean - and that's why it was never important to me in L.A. to live close to the beach. The shoot already cost me a lot of effort. Just imagine: sharks! The mind says, “Don't jump in. Under no circumstances!"

But you did it after all.

Yes, we had to. And in the end it wasn't that bad. We were then on the island for a few more weeks and, because I was able to do that, I often went swimming next to the things. It was nice to have had this experience and to be in control of the situation.

Sitting in the director's chair would definitely be a new experience for you - your friend and director Peter Billingsley told us that he wants you to do it. Are you planning to try this out?

Perhaps. I know my way around because Peter discusses everything with us and values ​​our opinions very much.That's why I got to know it to some extent.

And is that the good way for you to make a film? Going to an island with friends and filming something there?

Of course there's a lot more to it, but basically I think that's good, yes. Especially when you have a connection to certain people, you want to work with them: Our therapist in the film, for example, Michael Higgins. It was also nice to work with other close friends of mine: Jason Batemen, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love But that wasn't a fun event. I chose my friends because I know they are good at it. We tried hard every day to make a good film: and the work was worth it, as the audience obviously accepted our film very well. People want to see how our characters' relationships develop - that's a huge compliment.

What was it that particularly interested you in the subject of relationships?

Well, life is made up of relationships: that's why all of my films are actually about relationships - even if they're not always love relationships. Because no comedy or action film only functions as a string of jokes or stunts - the moviegoer must also be interested in people and relationships.

And where did you get your material from, so that you can come up with relationships that will also sweep the audience away?

I have been an avid people watcher for a long time. I've learned that everyone can be right, that there is always more than one way to solve a problem. But it is definitely people, their mistakes, and their relationships that are key to any story.

Interview with Peter Billingsley

You are currently on a premiere tour, yesterday you were at the German premiere in Hamburg. Your journey started on Bora Bora - not without reason, of course, because a large part of the film was shot there. Your recording was the first film project in a long time on these islands in the Pacific, wasn't it?

Yes, the first since the movie "Hurricane" with Mia Farrow. These islands really are at the end of the world - three hours south of Hawaii in the middle of the ocean. But that was exactly what we wanted, because the islands play their own role in the film. Usually it is shot in Hawaii, Mexico or - if you are lucky - maybe also in Florida. But we wanted to find a different, a new setting for the film. That was important to me because the plot is about normal city people being transferred to a totally strange place. The location was therefore not allowed to be known to either the actors or the audience.

But haven't you asked yourself beforehand why - if Bora Bora is such a beautiful, unknown place - when almost no shoots have taken place?

Yes, in any case! I wondered if they all knew something that I hadn't noticed?

Organizing such a shoot on small islands has to be difficult

Sometimes it's very difficult, yes. I was actually glad that I directed and wasn't a producer! But of course it was worth the effort. The colors alone - the turquoise blue sea - contributed significantly to the film. We didn't have to edit anything on the computer or anything like that.

And were you able to have a nice vacation after the shoot?

Clear! These are wonderful islands. It is no coincidence that many couples choose these islands for their honeymoon. The couples in our film then flew there for other reasons: They have all been together for so long that they need therapy.

Did you have to research all the therapies first? How did you do that?

All you have to do is type in couples therapy on Google and you'll be well informed! That is one of the film's strengths: Couples therapy is a completely normal topic. There are many relationships that both of you want it to work well.

You put a lot of effort into your relationship - and that sometimes includes outside therapy. It is good for us as authors that this has long been part of everyday life: because the best jokes come from everyday life. Then you just have to choose the more extreme cases.

After all, everyone understands jokes from everyday life. Just. For example, as in the yoga scene, where the teacher invokes his spiritual, mystical task, but only wants to attack beautiful women. Vince Vaughn - who not only acted but also wrote the script - experienced that in Los Angeles with a former girlfriend. But then we have just sharpened this experience from real life. This is how a comedy works.

But is yoga really everyday life for the common man?

Admittedly, that's more the case in California! But the core of the story is understandable for everyone: four couples want to save their relationship and use whatever solutions they can for this purpose.

The four couples are also designed in such a way that every viewer can find themselves there: there are the freelancers, the employees, the stressed business people ... Did you do that consciously?

Nice. And not only in terms of social class, but also that every couple has a different problem: one cheats on each other, the other leads power struggles, etc. I have heard that the audience goes to the cinema in groups and that they each other can identify each with different figures. Nonetheless, the four couples basically all have one and the same problem: Their relationship needs to be revised. Everyone can empathize with the figures.

The viewers not only identify themselves, they let themselves be carried away by the film

which is certainly due to the fact that we all know each other very well in the crew. Vince is a long-time friend of mine, and I was in front of the camera with Jason Bateman as a child. We got along very well as a team.

But it wasn’t always easy to work as a director with friends?

The mixture of colleague and friend can definitely lead to difficulties. But that wasn't an issue in this movie. We just all trust each other completely - and have worked together on a lot of projects. This is incredibly important for comedy, because it is only out of this trust that the kind of cooperation you need can come about. A script is written, I am a director, but a lot of good ideas arise from the situation - and everyone can contribute something.

But does it still work if your main actor is also a screenwriter and producer?

Another possible trap, that's true: But actually that was an advantage for the film because Vince was always there. Because he kept reminding me that the most important thing in any film is a good story. As a director you can otherwise tend to over-evaluate the costumes, the location and the organization.

But have you been an actor yourself before?

Exactly, that's why I got along very well with our actors. For example, we always left the cameras on in case something unexpectedly beautiful emerged from the improvisation. In this way, some good scenes were created.

Why did you switch to directing later?

As an actor, you can actually only influence a third of the film. I noticed that as a child, so I always stayed longer after the recordings, for example to be part of the editing. I gradually switched to behind the camera.

The film is her first own project as a director. Why did you choose the film for this step?

There were many reasons. Vince approached me with this idea and with the male cast I already knew well. And I loved the concept. What I like about the film is the simple, the everyday, the fact that everyone can hang in there. These are not “Hollywood problems” - these are questions that we all struggle to answer in the course of our lives. I could already understand what it was about from my relationships. And of course I thought the jokes were great. Besides, we were all allowed to go to Bora Bora! Seriously: It's a great project and I wanted to do it with Vince.

What was it like then to sit in the editing room as a director?

It was great! There is a saying in Hollywood: If you survive your first film, then you think about whether you want to make another one. And I more than survived: I really enjoyed every second. That will have been a good two years of work by the time the project is completed, so you have to enjoy the time and fully support the project. Otherwise you will ask yourself after a while, “what are you actually doing?”.

And what does your future look like? The film is currently number 1 in the USA - you can build on its success.

I want to do that too! I founded a production company with Vince, we want to continue to implement projects together. It is also important to me that I get Vince to work as a director: Because with his talent and creativity, something very good will certainly come out of it. I would like to continue producing films of this kind with Vince in the future.

In what way?

Films that are accessible to ordinary viewers, no matter where they live. Films where everyone can laugh and empathize. It is difficult to say before the premiere whether it will work that way, but we will always make an effort to make films for the audience - not for the critics, not for film buffs - for completely normal people. And as long as I still believe in myself, surround myself with good people and approach filmmaking with confidence, I'll be fine with it.

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