10 Heartwarming Facts About Father of the Bride

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The premise of 1991's Father of the Bride seems simple: George Banks’s (Steve Martin) 22-year-old daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), gets engaged to Bryan (George Newbern) after knowing him for three months. But George isn’t quite on board and quickly unravels, as his wife, Nina (Diane Keaton), and the rest of his family think he’s going insane. The film gave a peek into the 1990s return to family values, with the depiction of a normal, tightly-knit nuclear family. Former real-life couple Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers co-wrote the script, and Shyer directed.

The movie is a remake of Vincente Minnelli's Oscar-nominated film of the same name, which starred Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Bennett, and Spencer Tracy. (A TV version aired from 1961 to 1962.) That film was adapted from Edward Streeter's 1949 novel. Both films had sequels—Father’s Little Dividend was released in 1951, and Father of the Bride Part II in 1995—and the plots of both films saw the daughters having a baby.

The remake and its sequel were rather successful: Father of the Bride grossed $89 million and became the ninth highest-grossing film of 1991; Part II grossed $76 million and ranked in 17th place for the year. Here are 10 heartwarming facts about the wedding comedy.

1. STEVE MARTIN AGREED TO PLAY GEORGE BEFORE THE SCRIPT HAD BEEN WRITTEN.

In a unusual move, Steve Martin’s casting occurred before Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer wrote the screenplay. “It’s a gift because you know you’re writing for Steve Martin, so you know you can be funny and you can be loose and you can do all these twists and turns in the scene,” Meyers told IndieWire.

2. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT TO WORK WITH DIANE KEATON.

Father of the Bride was the second time Diane Keaton had worked with Meyers and Shyer; the first time was 1987’s Baby Boom, and Meyers would go on to direct Keaton in 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give. “Disney Studios—Jeffrey Katzenberg at the time—didn’t ever want to work with me,” Keaton told Film Scouts. “Charles Shyer and Nancy Myers, who’d worked with me before, had to beg to get me into Father of the Bride. I was very fortunate, because they were very staunchly for me.”

Keaton said the reason Disney/Touchstone passed on her was because her box office track record wasn’t good. “Just before Father of the Bride, I’d done a movie called The Good Mother, which was a big failure. Like, big failure. And that was it! And that was a Disney movie. So when Charles and Nancy wanted me for Father of the Bride, Disney didn’t want anything with me.”

3. IT WAS THE END TO THE “HIPPIE” WEDDING.

In an interview with The Morning Call, Martin said: “This movie represents the complete death of the hippie laurel-wreath standing-on-the-mountaintop marriage. Although it’s been dead a long time, this is the first movie to see it.” He furthered explained, “I mean, the big wedding is as much of a fad as the little wedding. So, [Father of the Bride] is a statement about something that’s probably going to be around for a long time.”

4. FRANCK EGGELHOFFER WAS BASED ON A REAL WEDDING PLANNER.

Martin Short portrayed the incomprehensible, over-the-top wedding planner Franck Eggelhoffer, who he based on Kevin Lee, who assisted with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston’s wedding, and makes regular appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. “We had a great time together,” Lee told Moviefone about working with Short.

5. A BRIDE HOUSE SOLD FOR ALMOST $2 MILLION.

The 4397-square-foot Colonial-style home, situated in Los Angeles's Alhambra neighborhood, sold for $1,998,000 in August 2016 after being on the market for only two months. The wedding reception and the basketball game were filmed at this location, but the exteriors were filmed at a Pasadena home. In 2004 the Alhambra house sold for $1.25 million, and when it sold in 2011, it increased to $1.275 million.

Owners of the Pasadena home, Sarah Bradley and Darrell Spence, told HGTV they held their wedding reception at the house. They also said couples have proposed outside of the home, and fans of the movie and house felt “protective” when the family replaced the white picket fence. “Neighbors would see the construction and panic,” Bradley said. “We had to convince them they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference once we were done.” The couple paid $950,000 for the house in 1999, but it’s now worth $2,764,841.

6. THE WEDDING COST A WHOPPING $249,323.

BeFrugal.com broke down the wedding costs of the weddings at the center of Father of the Bride, Bridesmaids, Sex and the City, and a few other movies. Because Annie and Bryan got hitched in her parents’ backyard, the venue was free. However, Annie’s dress cost $68,000. With 572 guests at $250 per head, George shelled out $143,000 on wedding reception food. The bridesmaid dresses tacked on an additional $10,000, and flying in nine relatives from Copenhagen smacked George with a $10,323 price tag. That’s a lot, considering the median American wedding costs about $15,000.

7. MARTIN SHORT “SOFTENED” FRANCK’S ACCENT FOR FATHER OF THE BRIDE PART II.

At first, Short didn’t want to do a sequel. During a 1995 interview with Charlie Rose, Short said, “Only because it seemed like the character was such an extreme spice in the first one and it kind of had been successful and you didn’t want to taint it with an appearance.” Upon reading the script, he changed his mind. “I soften the accent a little bit,” he said. “In the first one, the character really existed as a comedic bone of contention for Steve Martin,” because everyone could understand what Franck said except George. “In this one, that’s one joke,” Short continued. “In the sequel, no one at any point says, ‘What did he say?’ Because we’ve done that. So I softened the accent a little bit without losing the character.”

8. KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY WORE SNEAKERS TO HER OWN WEDDING.

George Banks produces athletic shoes for a living, so in the movie, he creates a special pair for Annie to wear on her wedding day. When Kimberly Williams married country star Brad Paisley in 2003, she also donned sneakers. “Down the aisle, I wore heels, but then the rest of it I wore sneakers with the heels,” she told Glamour. “It makes perfect sense to wear sneakers because it’s such a long night.”

9. FRANCK DOESN’T THINK MUCH OF KIM KARDASHIAN.

When Short appeared on the show The Talk in 2014, the hostesses asked Short, as Franck, what he thought about Kim Kardashian. “He would say, ‘She is not bright; I did her dress,’” Short said in Franck’s accent. “She thinks soy milk is Spanish for ‘I am milk.’”

10. MARTIN THINKS FATHER OF THE BRIDE IS A “PERFECT STORY.”

“Well, I tend to think there's movie families, and then there are families,” Martin told The Morning Call. “What I mean is—I’m not demeaning the movie at all—it’s kind of a wish family. It’s like the perfect statement of a beautiful problem: Your daughter’s getting married.” He said emotions swelled from the mundanity of getting married. “It’s a perfect story because what happens is so minor, and yet the emotions are so big. It’s like the birth of a baby. It’s so common, happening all the time, and yet it’s one of the most powerful, large things that can happen to you.”

11 Surprising Facts About George R.R. Martin

Kevin Winter, Getty Images
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Game of Thrones fans know the epic HBO series is based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, but beyond the TV show, how much do they really know about the author? Sure, they know it’s taking him a really long time to finish The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in the series, but what about him as a person? Here are a few things you might not know about the man who brought us the world of Westeros.

1. As a kid, he made money selling monster stories.

The famed author grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey, where his father was a longshoreman. "When I was living in Bayonne, I desperately wanted to get away," Martin told The Independent. "Not because Bayonne was a bad place, mind you. Bayonne was a very nice place in some ways. But we were poor. We had no money. We never went anywhere."

Though his family didn't have the means to travel outside of Bayonne, Martin began to develop a love of reading and writing at a very young age, which allowed him to imagine fantastical worlds beyond his New Jersey hometown. He also learned that writing could be a profitable endeavor: he began selling his stories to other kids in the neighborhood for a penny apiece. (He later raised his prices to a nickel.) Martin's entrepreneurial efforts came to an end when his stories began giving one of his kid customers nightmares, which eventually got back to Martin's mom.

2. He is obsessed with comic books.

In 2014, Martin sat down for a Q&A about his career at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. Though, given his love of fantasy worlds, it might not be surprising to learn that Martin is a comic book fan, he also credits the genre with inspiring him to begin writing in the first place.

"I’m so grateful for comic books because they were really the thing that made me a reader, which in return made me a writer," Martin said. "In the 1950s in America, we had these books that taught you to read, and they were all about Dick and Jane, who were the most boring family you ever wanted to meet ... I didn’t know anyone who lived like that, and it just seemed like a horrible thing. But Batman and Superman, they had a much more interesting life. Gotham City was much more interesting than wherever it was where Dick and Jane lived.”

3. He built a library tower in Santa Fe.

In 2009, Martin bought the home across the street from his house in Santa Fe, New Mexico and turned it into an office space with a library tower built inside. The tower is only two stories tall, because of city building restrictions, but it seems only fitting that the author/history buff would want to be surrounded with books while he writes.

4. A fan letter got his professional writing career started.

Martin's love of comic books is what got his professional career rolling, too. "I had a letter published in Fantastic Four, and because my address was in there I started getting these fanzines and I started writing stories for them," Martin said during the same Santa Fe Q&A. "Funny enough, people writing stories in these fanzines at the time were just awful. They were just really bad, which was good because I looked at these awful stories and knew I could do better than that. I may not have been Shakespeare or J.R.R. Tolkien, but I was certain I could write better than the crap in the fanzines, and indeed I could."

5. A failed novel led to a television writing career.

More than 10 years before A Song of Ice and Fire debuted in 1996, Martin wrote a book called The Armageddon Rag in 1983. Though it was a critical disappointment, producer Phil DeGuere was interested in adapting the project with Martin's help. While that never came to fruition, DeGuere thought of Martin when they were rebooting The Twilight Zone in the mid-1980s and brought him on board to write a handful of episodes. He later did some writing for the live-action Beauty and the Beast series, starring Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton.

6. Network television standards were not a fit for Martin's style of writing.

Though Martin found success as a television writer, the constant back-and-forth about what they were or were not allowed to show proved to be too much for the writer. "[T]here were constant limitations. It wore me down," Martin told Rolling Stone. "There were battles over censorship, how sexual things could be, whether a scene was too 'politically charged,' how violent things could be. Don’t want to disturb anyone. We got into that fight on Beauty and the Beast. The Beast killed people. That was the point of the character. He was a beast. But CBS didn’t want blood, or for the beast to kill people ... The character had to remain likable."

7. He owns an independent movie theater.

In 2006, The Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe closed its doors, which saddened many locals who were regular patrons, Martin among them. Several years later, Martin decided to give the theater a second life and, after a slight makeover, reopened its doors in 2013. Today, in addition to independent films, the theater holds regular special events—including screenings of Game of Thrones episodes. There's also an onsite bar that serves Game of Thrones-themed cocktails, like the signature White Walker.

8. Martin credits HBO with changing the rules of television.

Network television standards may have been too tame and regimented for Martin's tastes, but all that changed with HBO and The Sopranos, which he credits as paving the way for a series like Game of Thrones to exist in its current form at all.

"I credit HBO with smashing the damn trope that everybody had to be likable on television," Martin told Rolling Stone. "The Sopranos turned it around. When you meet Tony Soprano, he’s in the psychiatrist office, he’s talking about the ducks, his depression and that stuff, and you like this guy. Then he gets in his car and he’s driving away and he sees someone who owes him money, and he jumps out and he starts stomping him. Now how likable was he? Well you didn’t care, because they already had you. A character like Walter White on Breaking Bad could never have existed before HBO."

9. Martin thinks it's important for writers to break the rules.

While he's an admitted fan of William Goldman, Martin has a very different opinion of noted screenplay expert Syd Field. "There is a book out there by Syd and it’s his guide to writing screenplays and it’s probably one of the most harmful things that has ever been done for the movie industry,” Martin said. “For some perverse reason, it has become the bible not for writers but for what we call 'the suits,' the guys at the studios whose job it is to develop properties and give notes to supervise screenplays. They take Syd Field’s course and they buy the book and they start criticizing screenplays like, ‘Well you know, the first turn is supposed to be on page 12 and yours is not until page 17, so obviously this won’t do!'"

"Syd just writes downs these ridiculous rules," Martin continued. "If there really was a formula as he says, then every movie would be a blockbuster. We would just connect A, B, and C and we would have a great movie and everyone would pack the theater to see it. But every movie is not a blockbuster. Many movies that follow his rules precisely actually go down the toilet."

10. He’s a skilled chess player.

"I started playing chess when I was quite young, in grade school," Martin told The Independent. "I played it through high school. In college, I founded the chess club. I was captain of the chess team." Eventually, Martin discovered that he could actually make some money off this skill.

"For two or three years, I had a pretty good situation. Most writers who have to have a day job work five days a week and then they have the weekend off to write. These chess tournaments were all on the weekend so I had to work on Saturday and Sunday, but then I had five days off to write. The chess generated enough money for me to pay my bills."

11. He has a very specific way of writing, which is why he hasn't finished the winds of winter.

Fans have been waiting for a while for the next book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and Martin has been honest about why it's taking him so long. "Writer’s block isn’t to blame here, it’s distraction," he said. "In recent years, all of the work I’ve been doing creates problems because it creates distraction. Because the books and the show are so popular I have interviews to do constantly. I have travel plans constantly. It’s like suddenly I get invited to travel to South Africa or Dubai, and who’s passing up a free trip to Dubai? I don’t write when I travel. I don’t write in hotel rooms. I don’t write on airplanes. I really have to be in my own house undisturbed to write. Through most of my life no body did bother me, but now everyone bothers me every day."

Can You Guess the Meaning of These Dothraki Words?

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