MARLEY & ME
About The Production (2-Legged Version)
The events John Grogan chronicled in his book take place largely in South Florida, where John and Jenny made their first home together, and in Pennsylvania, where the Grogan clan later resided, and where they live to this day. These settings are critical to Grogan's book and to the film, which shot on location in those two states. "We spent a lot of time trying to find the right location for the right story point," says production designer Stuart Wurtzel. "David Frankel wanted the film to have a bit of a messy quality; he didn't want [the locations and sets] to look perfect. John and Jenny's life is always in flux, always changing."
John and Jenny begin married life in a starter house in West Palm Beach. As their family grows, the Grogans move to a larger home in Boca Raton. The final move in the story took the production to Philadelphia, as well as to the Pennsylvania countryside and the towns of West Chester, Birmingham Township and Uniondale. "By the time they make the move to Pennsylvania, Marley and the Grogans have grown up together," says Wurtzel. "John is finally doing the kind of newspaper work he wants to do, Jenny is settled, and Marley has seen them all through the good times and bad."
To reflect the family's maturity and growth, Wurtzel wanted the Grogan's Pennsylvania home to have a warm, solid and inviting feel. The stone farmhouse found by Wurtzel and the production's locations team in Birmingham Township, so impressed the real John and Jenny Grogan, that the couple decided to purchase a similar home.
The parallels between real and "reel" life for the Grogans didn't end there. The Grogans make cameos in the film as participants in the obedience school sequence. It was art imitating life - and vice versa - to have the Grogans act in a scene that actually happened in their lives, and to have Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston re-enact this memory right in front of the Grogans. "It was a very funny moment - a 'wake-up' moment that this movie was really happening," says John Grogan. "That they were really making a movie about Jenny and me."
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