How many takes on the church scene?
MAC: I want to say 28, or 29 times.
KM: That whole thing, inside and outside, car coming in. That was one sequence.
Michael, you enter that scene with the car coming into frame right on the dot. Was that luck? That’s such a specific blocking detail but the film is filled with them.
MAC: There were a lot of times when I didn’t hit the mark. It’s muscle memory! You just get it down to a science. You’re like, “OK, I need to hit the sign with the car at this speed in order to land at the exact mark.” But there were times when I would overshoot it and the camera would miss, and I would call “cut,” because I knew I over-shot it. Or we would just run out the rest of the scene and then we would dial it in.
But that was the challenge of this film, there were times when I missed that mark and it was like, “Do I use this take where I’m a little off here, or do I use one where the blocking in this section is better?”
When you were dreaming up this movie, were you intentionally thinking about how to use danger? Or using that a question of, “Are they going to pull it off?”, as part of the comedy?
KM: Not from a camera-technique viewpoint. But certainly from a … “Oh, OK, what are the hardest things to do? A baby. A dog. A big sign. Underwater.” And it’s like, “Great, let’s put a baby at the end of this scene that depends on a baby in a car and hopefully that baby is laughing at the right moment.” Or, “Oh, let’s put a crazy stunt seven minutes into a scene.”
MAC: Or the Thanksgiving scene was my dog, and it had to hit a mark. And at a certain point, it didn’t want to. “Come on, Grandpa, you can do this.” And she was like, “No, I’m good.”
KM: The thing is that the dog was so well-trained that when she was yelling “No, no, no,” the dog was like, “OK, I’m not gonna do it.”
MAC: So she wouldn’t eat the turkey!
KM: We were like, “This would make it exciting.” And maybe naively at first from a writing standpoint, it would be like, “Oh, this would be so much fun to go under a frozen lake and really do it,” and we really fought for it during all of pre-production, and when we got to it it was like, “Oh, this is a really f**king crazy choice, but here we are. Let’s do it.”
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