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Monday, 05 August 2013 19:19

Grown Ups Sequel Revisits Massachusetts

Written by  Dyana Carmella
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GrownUps 2Hollywood big-kid Adam Sandler’s new comedy Grown Ups 2 will grab the attention of anyone who loved the pro golfing hijinks in the hit Happy Gilmore. A sequel to the 2010 release Grown Ups, the film recast the same great ensemble, featuring Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Salma Hayek. Taking place three years after the first film, the story finds Lenny Feder (Sandler) and his family back in the small town where he and his friends grew up, and the grown-ups must learn lessons from their kids on the last day of school. Written by Adam Sandler, Fred Wolf and Tim Herlihy, the film was directed by Sandler’s longtime collaborator Dennis Dugan and produced by Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures and Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions.

Principal photography for Grown Ups 2 started in June 2012, and, as with the production for Grown Ups, the entire film was shot on location in Massachusetts. Veteran Location Manager Charlie Harrington (The Wolverine) has been in the business for over 28 years, and he’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to predict what will happen next on a comedy production. “With the comedy guys, you never know what they’re going to do, especially Adam [Sandler] and his buddies,” says Harrington. “They kept improvising, [so] you’ve got to be ready for everything. It’s great because all the Happy Madison people have done so many films together. It’s the same family so it’s a really good working atmosphere. Dennis Dugan is a total pleasure to work with. He’s directed almost every Adam movie since Happy Gilmore. He’s also an actor himself and just a funny guy.” 

GrownUps 1After reading the script for Grown Ups 2, Harrington made it his mission to find a sweet New England-style home in a perfect little town for Sandler’s character. “We picked an oceanfront colonial place in Marblehead, Massachusetts that was fantastic,” recalls Harrington. “All the locations were in Marblehead and Swampscott, Massachusetts. They’re two towns that are adjacent to each other so while shooting everything was close by. We basically linked the towns together. It was great.”

One of the biggest challenges in Swampscott was shooting a 1980s party scene. “We shot scenes at the real house but the party scene was going to take weeks to shoot,” explains Harrington. “We wanted to shoot at night and didn’t want to disturb the neighborhood. There’s a go-cart race in the scene so we knew there was going to be lots of noise.” Ultimately, the crew decided it would be better to build a soundstage. “We built a huge stage of 200 feet by 400 feet by piling containers really high in a big rectangle and then putting an 80-foot tent on top of that,” says Harrington. “Then we built Adam’s big house inside with a swimming pool in the ground. It was a big deal. As a location manager, it proved to be a challenge to get the things up in time, get set up, get all the permits needed to build something like that, and then shoot. No one had ever done it before.”

To do his job as well as he did, Harrington worked closely with the Massachusetts Film Office and its director Lisa Strout. “The town was a bit worried when they knew we would be closing storefronts, but, in the end, everything worked out,” says Harrington. “[Lisa Strout] was a big hero for us, especially when it came time to build that stage, because we had to bend a lot of building codes in order to get it built. She was instrumental in helping us. Whenever you take over a small village and a bunch of storefronts, you know you’re just going to take over, and she helped us coordinate with the local chamber of commerce.” 

GrownUps 3Over the years, Harrington has adopted various tech devices and gadgets to do his job as the industry evolves. “Technology has been a huge change in my life,” he says. “Before, when I had to figure out what state or country to make a film in, I would be flying all over the world, and I would be putting together pictures in my room at night then Fed Ex-ing them back to America. Now, you can basically take a photo of a house, send it to the director, and, if he doesn’t like it, I can move on and not sit and wait around and waste my time. When we do tech scouts and deal with the director, we used to bring a box of location files mounted in a legal-sized folder. Nowadays, you get in there with an iPad and flip through pictures, and then, if he likes something, you pull it up on your GPS, get the coordinates and go. [It’s] the worst feeling for any location manager to be in the car with a director and get lost. Often times you’ve only been to a location once and you have to bring him back there. [So having] new technology has reduced a lot of stress.”  

Grown Ups 2, featuring all of its Massachusetts locales, is being released in U.S. theaters and worldwide in July, August and September 2013. 

Photo Captions: 

Roxanne Feder (Salma Hayek), Eric Lamonsoff (Kevin James), Becky Feder (Alexys Nicole Sanchez), Kurt McKenzie (Chris Rock), Sally Lamonsoff (Maria Bello), Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) and Marcus Higgins (David Spade) at The Ice Cream House in Columbia Pictures' Grown Ups 2

Location Manger Charlie Harrington 

Frat Boy Andy (Taylor Lautner) fights Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) at the 80's party in Columbia Pictures' Grown Ups 2 

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