GROWN UPS 2
About the Production, Sets and Locations
In filming Grown Ups 2, the crew returned to the north shore of Massachusetts, where they also shot the first film. Production Designer Aaron Osborne says that they sought to build off the look of the first film. "Grown Ups 1 has an authentic Americana vibe to it," he says. "I wanted to honor that while at the same time build it up and add to it."
Osborne says that the sets, locations, and designs are all about giving the comedians a setting to do what they do best. "It is such a pleasure working with Adam, because he is so collaborative and riffs off everything you throw at him. Whether it is a design idea or a piece of set dressing, he takes any ball and runs with it."
Similarly, he says, Dennis Dugan brings it all together. "Dennis is a fantastic director -- he's open to everything," says Osborne. "What is so inspiring about Dennis is that with him, everything is open, and brand new, and exciting. It's infectious -- everybody around him falls into it and no one is immune."
The filmmakers found the picturesque and historical towns of Marblehead and Swampscott to serve as the perfect locales for the fictional town of Stanton, Connecticut.
Marblehead's historical district and surrounding areas, including the Old Town House, Abbot Hall, businesses along the scenic Washington Street, Atlantic and Ocean Ave and neighborhood schools were transformed into the childhood hometown of Lenny Feder and his friends. The local toy store became the Red Arrow Diner (sharing its name with a favorite New Hampshire eatery), while the gallery down the block became Roxanne's Hermosa boutique. Meanwhile, at Gatchell Playground -- an eight-acre park with baseball and football fields and a basketball court -- the filmmakers were able to construct the ice cream shop. "I took it as a compliment when people would drive up, ask for ice cream, and not understand why we would not serve it to them," remembers Osborne.
In Swampscott, the rail station, local school, and various residential homes and streets were used, while Marian College was transformed into a Brunson University fraternity house.
Perhaps most impressively, the filmmakers built a 45,000 sq ft soundstage in Swampscott, where Osborne created the Feder home back yard, including a tree house and pool. "We just never could find the house with right back yard," says Dugan. "And even if we could find it, we realized that we wanted to shoot a nighttime party there -- which would mean six weeks of night shooting, 9 PM to 6 AM. So we built a soundstage. We wouldn't be disturbing the community and we could shoot day-for-night -- and it's much easier for the actors to be funny at 3 PM than at 3 AM."
The solution began with the filmmakers locating a house with a great front yard; they subsequently began designing a back yard to match. "The back of the real house was right on the ocean," says Osborne. "It had a beautiful front, but no back yard. Taking the design of that house, we just started building models of what the back yard might look like. I had a crack art department and we built scale models of how we would like it to be -- and we played with hundreds of little figurines for the big fight scene. We went over it with Dennis and Adam and we just modified and modified until we had a final design. While we did that, we also built models of the soundstage, so the two could be incorporated around each other."
How do you build a soundstage on a football field? You get creative. "We built it out of shipping containers," says Dugan. "Three containers high, 175 feet wide, 250 feet long. Then we put a giant tent on top of the containers and lit it; we built the back of the house in there and put in a lawn, a swimming pool, and trees. It's a bigger space than the biggest stage in Hollywood, and it worked beautifully."
"I've been doing this a long time, and I have to say that the backyard set on Grown Ups 2is the set I'm the most proud of in my whole career," says Osborne.
Other locations in Massachusetts were used including the streets in the towns of Saugus, Lexington and the Kmart in Tewksbury. "Our Kmart set was built into a real Kmart," says Osborne. "We worked with their corporate branding team, and they sent in a stylist to help us. I think they were really happy -- they wanted to leave everything we did it! It's all about Adam and the cast -- building them a great set where we could give them the stage to do their funny stuff."
In addition, the filmmakers found the perfect quarry needed for the film on the Westford/ line.
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