JUST GO WITH IT with Brooklyn Decker between Jennifer Aniston & Adam Sandler
On the Set with Maui’s Own Megan Edgar:
I started off a nervous wreck. I bought dresses. I bought make-up. I bought shoes. I curled my hair. I panicked. I felt sick. I wanted to back out. I couldn’t wait to start. All of a sudden it was 5 PM on March 23rd and everything was happening whether I was ready or not. Hair styled, make-up adjusted, wardrobe checked, and then I was whisked off to the set.
What a set it was; the most beautiful luau I’ve ever seen. Smoking volcanoes, Chinese lanterns, Hawaiian gods carved into totem poles, fire dancers, hula, pulled pork and poi. Brilliant stadium lights dimmed by huge white cloths. Small, bright lights angled just so with red, blue, and yellow filters. Cameras on wheels. Cameras on cranes. Cameras on tripods. Paparazzi cameras peeking out from behind the bushes. Cameras and lights and fire dancers. I was mesmerized and we hadn’t even started.
The crew lined us up and started pulling people out of the crowd of extras. I wasn’t picked. And I wasn’t picked again. I felt like I was in PE and no on wanted me on their team. I wasn’t going to be in the movie after all. They made a big mistake.
Then suddenly, miraculously, I was “the girl in the pink dress” and they seated me at a table with eight other people. The director introduced himself and told us to clap for the fire dancers, eat our food, and act like we were thoroughly enjoying our evening. Tough.
Words like reset, background, action, and cut became a regular part of my vocabulary and I knew exactly what to do when each one was yelled out. Make-up came by to “take off the shine.” Hair came by because I was “right in the shot.” Wardrobe took my picture so I would look exactly the same if they needed to reshoot the next day. I couldn’t believe my luck. I was “in the shot.” I couldn’t look up from my plate without staring at Jennifer Aniston. I could have leaned over and touched Adam Sandler. I felt beautiful and important. I was being paid to have fun. How was this even possible?
Three weeks prior to my first night shooting I needed to feed some fish. My school has a fish tank and my friend Greg and I went in on a Sunday to take care of its inhabitants. When we got to school hundreds of people were lined up to get in the door. We had no idea why they were there so we just walked to the front and went inside. Before we knew it we’d filled out a form, got a number (I was lucky 999), and had our pictures taken. 3,000 people were in line that day and we scooted right by without a wait. Fate? Good thing the fish were hungry.
After our first night on set with cameras in our faces, Greg and I (we were cast as a couple) were placed in “deep background” and spent all our time walking back and forth from one set place to a second set place. We weren’t right in the shot, but we were lucky enough to have the director use us to reset the scene. The leads would start their dialogue based on our position, and it made us feel like we were still in the movie even though the cameras were far away. And we could actually talk, which was a nice change from the first evening of pantomiming conversation because we were so close to the microphones.
Filming Just Go With It was amazing. I’ve never seen so many people doing so many different jobs all at the same time only to have it all come together just as the cameras start to roll. Lighting would move huge lamps and screens at a moments notice. Cameras would swing by on booms and roll through peoples and tables. Make-up artists, hair stylists, wardrobe crew, and sound people would zip past one another, all on a separate mission that ended with a single goal. Watching people work together like that was inspiring.
Then add the leads. Jennifer Aniston really is beautiful. Nicole Kidman really is elegant and lithe. Brooklyn Decker is gorgeous! Dave Matthews can act! Adam Sandler is very funny. (You try not to laugh when you can hear all of Adam and Nick Swardson‘s dialogue as they ad-lib and improvise their way through the 20th take of a scene. Even Jenn couldn’t hold it in.)
Movie making is fun. And the paparazzi love you even if you’re not famous!
With all the gloom and doom about tourism being slow, real estate being down, and other depressing non-productive talk going on in Hawaii, it’s nice to hear something positive. Hawaii is in better shape than any other state when it comes to the attractive appeal of shooting film. We have great tax breaks and the setting can’t be beat. Why aren’t we all working towards bringing more of the film industry to the islands? It’s a win win in every scenario!
In Hawaii we have very few major industries. When the economy slumps, it’s dangerous to have all of our eggs in 1 or 2 baskets. I like the idea of promoting film making and building a future for Hawaii that is diverse in revenue streams. Maybe then we can concentrate on building up our school system and developing more competitive children.