This summer we had the good fortune to host the cast and crew of The Familymoon, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore’s new family romantic comedy. They filmed on location at the Summer House, the wave pool at LanierWorld and even had an entire set on Pine Island. We were excited to visit the set on their last day, where they were shooting an African day-care scene with warthogs, hedgehogs, bunnies, a lemur, a baby ostrich, and even a lion cub! During each take, the warthogs would squeal, the ostrich would flap his little wings, and the lion would growl his irritation at being woken up from his nap (hey, just like a human toddler!). The bunnies and hedgehogs were pretty much content to just chill with the kids.
Sandler came in and out of the room frequently to direct the kids, or change an angle, or just watch one of the takes in person. While he was busy finishing up the last few scenes, we got a chance to talk to Rob Frank, the location manager, about the movie and about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization Sandler is involved with.
Coming to theaters next year, The Familymoon is about a widowed father (Sandler) with 3 daughters and a widowed mother (Barrymore) with 2 sons who meet on a spectacularly disastrous blind date at Hooters. Of course they dislike each other at first, but naturally they win a trip to Africa and end up being forced to share a room. In the course of the movie, Sandler teaches Barrymore’s boys about sports and other manly pursuits, and Barrymore cleans up the girls from tomboys with rats’ nests haircuts to lovely young women.
The whole cast really enjoyed filming in Georgia, which is quickly becoming a favorite of many producers due to low costs associated with new film incentives introduced by the state legislature in 2008. In addition to the time they spent here at the resort, much of the cast also visited popular Atlanta tourist sites like the Georgia Aquarium and the Coca-Cola Museum. At the resort, they had a blast checking out all of our activities – fishing, boating, Wake The Lake Cable Park, horseback riding at the Stables, and especially LanierWorld, where they filmed a scene in the Wavepool. They were extra impressed with Beth Pedaggi, our Equestrian Center manager. “Beth was a superstar,” said Frank, “we love her!” Then he made sure to give a shout out to Fred the Horse.
Next Frank talked to us about Sandler’s charity. On every location where it’s an option, Sandler makes a point to contact the local Make-A-Wish Foundation chapter and request to grant a wish. This time he granted wishes to multiple kids with life-threatening diseases. For starters, he put them smack dab in the middle of a baseball scene in the movie. And if that wasn’t exciting enough, he paid for an entire week’s worth of adventures and fun times for the guys – LanierWorld, fishing, Lego Land, Medieval Times, the Georgia Aquarium, and horseback riding! They had a fantastic time, and Make-A-Wish knows that wishes make life better for kids with life-threatening medical conditions. In addition, they believe whole-heartedly that wishes are more than just a nice thing; they are far more than gifts, or singular events in time. Wishes impact everyone involved – wish kids, volunteers, donors, sponsors, medical professionals and communities. The impact varies. For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments. Parents might finally feel like they can be optimistic. And still others might realize all they have to offer the world through volunteer work or philanthropy. –from Make A Wish
Sandler’s Wish-kids got to spend the whole day on set on the last day, and then they got to be his special guests at a luau that night. We’re just glad we got to be a part of it.
The Familymoon comes out in May of 2014, production permitting, and we encourage everyone to go see it, and see if you can spot the places you’ve been at Lake Lanier Islands!