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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.”

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15 Things You Might Not Know About Chewbacca
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Even if you don't know the name Peter Mayhew, you surely know about Chewbacca—the seven-foot tall Wookiee he has played onscreen for over three decades. In honor of Mayhew’s birthday, here are 15 things you might not know about Han Solo's BFF.

1. HE WAS INSPIRED BY GEORGE LUCAS'S DOG.

The character of Chewbacca was inspired by George Lucas’s big, hairy Alaskan malamute, Indiana. According to Lucas, the dog would always sit in the passenger seat of his car like a copilot, and people would confuse the dog for an actual person. And in case you're wondering: yes, that same dog was also the inspiration behind the name of one of Lucas’s other creations, Indiana Jones.

2. HIS NAME IS OF RUSSIAN ORIGIN.

The name “Chewbacca” was derived from the Russian word Sobaka (собака), meaning “dog.” The term “Wookiee” came from voice actor Terry McGovern; when he was doing voiceover tracks for Lucas's directorial debut, THX 1138, McGovern randomly improvised the line, “I think I just ran over a Wookiee” during one of the sessions.

3. HE'S REALLY, REALLY OLD.

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Chewbacca is 200 years old.

4. PETER MAYHEW'S HEIGHT HELPED HIM LAND THE ROLE.

Peter Mayhew
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Mayhew was chosen to play everyone’s favorite Wookiee primarily because of his tremendous height: He's 7 feet 3 inches tall.

5. HIS SUIT IS MADE FROM A MIX OF ANIMAL HAIRS, AND EVENTUALLY INCLUDED A COOLING SYSTEM.

For the original trilogy (and the infamous holiday special), the Chewbacca costume was made with a combination of real yak and rabbit hair knitted into a base of mohair. A slightly altered original Chewie costume was used in 1999's The Phantom Menace for the Wookiee senator character Yarua, and a new costume used during Episode III included a specially made water-cooling system so that Mayhew could wear the suit for long periods of time and not be overheated.

6. ONE OF STANLEY KUBRICK'S CLOSEST CREATORS DESIGNED THE COSTUME.

Chewbacca's costume
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To create the original costume for Chewbacca, Lucas hired legendary makeup supervisor Stuart Freeborn, who was recruited because of his work on the apes in the “Dawn of Man” sequence in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. (Freeborn had also previously worked with Kubrick on Dr. Strangelove to effectively disguise Peter Sellers in each of his three roles in that film.) Freeborn would go on to supervise the creation of Yoda in The Empire Strike Back and Jabba the Hutt and the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi.

Lucas originally wanted Freeborn’s costume for Chewie to be a combination of a monkey, a dog, and a cat. According to Freeborn, the biggest problem during production with the costume was with Mayhew’s eyes. The actor’s body heat in the mask caused his face to detach from the costume's eyes and made them look separate from the mask.

7. FINDING CHEWBACCA'S VOICE WAS BEN BURTT'S FIRST ASSIGNMENT.

The first sound effect that director George Lucas hired now-legendary sound designer Ben Burtt for on Star Wars was Chewbacca’s voice (this was all the way back during the script stage). During the year of preliminary sound recording, Burtt principally used the vocalization of a black bear named Tarik from Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, California for Chewbacca. He would eventually synchronize those sounds with further walrus, lion, and badger vocalizations for the complete voice. The name of the language Chewbacca speaks came to be known in the Star Wars universe as “Shyriiwook.”

8. ROGER EBERT WAS NOT A FAN.

Roger Ebert was not a fan of the big guy. In his 1997 review of the Special Edition of The Empire Strikes Back, Ebert basically called Chewbacca the worst character in the series. “This character was thrown into the first film as window dressing, was never thought through, and as a result has been saddled with one facial expression and one mournful yelp," the famed critic wrote. "Much more could have been done. How can you be a space pilot and not be able to communicate in any meaningful way? Does Han Solo really understand Chewie's monotonous noises? Do they have long chats sometimes? Never mind.”

9. HE WAS ORIGINALLY MUCH MORE SCANTILY CLAD.

In the summary for Lucas’s second draft (dated January 28, 1975, when the film was called “Adventures of the Starkiller, Episode I: The Star Wars”), Chewbacca is described as “an eight-foot tall, savage-looking creature resembling a huge gray bushbaby-monkey with fierce ‘baboon’-like fangs. His large yellow eyes dominate a fur-covered face … [and] over his matted, furry body he wears two chrome bandoliers, a flak jacket painted in a bizarre camouflage pattern, brown cloth shorts, and little else.”

10. HIS DESIGN WAS BASED ON RALPH MCQUARRIE'S CONCEPT ART.

Chewbacca’s character design was based on concept art drawn by Ralph McQuarrie. Lucas had originally given McQuarrie a photo of a lemur for inspiration, and McQuarrie proceeded to draw the character as a female—but Chewbacca was soon changed to a male. McQuarrie based his furry design on an illustration by artist John Schoenherr, which was commissioned for Game of Thrones scribe George R.R. Martin’s short story “And Seven Times Never Kill a Man.” Sharp-eyed Chewbacca fans will recognize that Schoenherr’s drawing even includes what resembles the Wookiee’s signature weapon, the Bowcaster.

11. HE WON A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.

Fans were angry for decades that Chewie didn’t receive a medal of valor like Luke and Han did at the end of A New Hope, so MTV gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 MTV Movie Awards. The medal was given to Mayhew—decked out in full costume—by Princess Leia herself, actress Carrie Fisher. His acceptance speech, made entirely in Wookiee grunts, lasted 16 seconds. When asked why Chewbacca didn’t receive a medal at the end of the first film, Lucas explained, “Medals really don’t mean much to Wookiees. They don’t really put too much credence in them. They have different kinds of ceremonies.”

12. HE HAS A FAMILY BACK HOME.

According to the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, Chewbacca had a wife named Mallatobuck, a son named Lumpawaroo (a.k.a. “Lumpy”), and a father named Attichitcuk (aka “Itchy”). In the special, Chewie and Han visit the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate “Life Day,” a celebration of the Wookiee home planet’s diverse ecosystem. The special featured appearances and musical numbers by Jefferson Starship, Diahann Carroll, Art Carney, Harvey Korman, and Bea Arthur, and marked the first appearance of Boba Fett. Lucas hated the special so much that he limited its availability following its original airdate on November 17, 1978.

13. MAYHEW'S BIG FEET ARE WHAT KICKSTARTED HIS CAREER.

Mayhew’s path to playing Chewbacca began with a string of lucky breaks—and his big feet. A local London reporter was doing a story on people with big feet and happened to profile Mayhew. A movie producer saw the article and cast him—in an uncredited role—as Minoton the minotaur in the film Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. One of the makeup men on Sinbad was also working on the Wookiee costume with Stuart Freeborn for Star Wars and suggested to the producers that they screen test Mayhew. The rest is Wookiee history.

14. MAYHEW KEPT HIS DAY JOB WHILE SHOOTING STAR WARS.

Peter Mayhew
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During the shooting of Star Wars, Mayhew kept working his day job as a deputy head porter in a London hospital. Though he was let go because of his sudden varying shooting schedule at Elstree Studios, he was eventually hired back after production wrapped.

15. DARTH VADER COULD HAVE BEEN CHEWBACCA.

Darth Vader
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David Prowse, the 6’5” actor who ended up portraying Darth Vader—in costume only—originally turned down the role of Chewbacca.  When given the choice between portraying the two characters, Prowse said, “I turned down the role of Chewbacca at once. I know that people remember villains longer than heroes. At the time I didn’t know I’d be wearing a mask, and throughout production I thought Vader’s voice would be mine.”

Additional Sources: Star Wars DVD special features
The Making of Star Wars: The definitive Story Behind the Original Film, J.W. Rinzler

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Shopping Malls Might be Dying, But Miami Is Planning to Build the Largest One in North America
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Shopping malls and the "American Dream" are two things that are often said to be dead or dying, but one developer sees it a little differently.

Part shopping outlet and part theme park, American Dream Miami is slated to become the largest mall in North America when it opens in Miami-Dade County, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Indeed, "mall" might not be the best word for this mega-complex. In addition to retail outlets, plans are in the works for an aquarium, water park, ski slope, live performing arts center, Ferris wheel, submarine ride, skating rink, and 2000 hotel rooms.

The project is being developed by Triple Five Group, which operates the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Canada—currently the two current largest shopping and entertainment centers on the continent. It also owns the American Dream Meadowlands in New Jersey.

This announcement comes at a time when shopping malls are being shuttered across the country. More than 6400 stores closed last year, and another 3600 are expected to go out of business this year, according to Business Insider.

American Dream Miami will cost $4 billion and cover 6.2 million square feet. Developers hope it will attract tourists as well as local thrill seekers who want a closer entertainment option than Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Developer Eskandar Ghermezian was reportedly inspired by a comment made by his daughter, who complained there was nothing to do in the area when it rained.

Critics of the project, however, called it "American Nightmare," arguing it would harm the environment and cause traffic congestion. The developer still needs to obtain several permits before construction can begin.

[h/t Sun-Sentinel]

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