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Ryan Bingham's journey really starts to tilt when he is invited to his sister's Wisconsin wedding – forcing him to confront the family he has largely ignored his whole adult life and spurring his unexpected hunger for something deeper.

Jason Reitman sees Ryan's encounter with his family as crucial to both the film's comedy and drama. "One element I always loved about Walter Kirn's book was the idea that Ryan needed to go to his sister's wedding. I hate weddings personally, so I really empathized with Ryan not wanting to go but, at the same time, I thought it was the perfect opportunity for Ryan to show that he had changed, that he wanted something more, and that he was ready to connect.”

The director especially enjoyed casting the Binghams. "I needed characters that were funny but very honest, and oddly heartbreaking. And I got that particularly in Melanie Lynskey, who plays Ryan's sister. She brings so much honesty, humor and sadness and sweetness. When Ryan asks her, 'do you need me to walk you down the aisle,' before she even says no, you can see it in her eyes. That breaks my heart every time I see it. And Danny McBride is a guy I've been wanting to work with ever since I saw him in All the Real Girls. He's so funny that people forget how good he is at just plain acting. So it was just a thrill to give him a role where his job wasn't to be funny.”

McBride, an actor and writer who most recently starred in his own HBO comedy series, "Eastbound and Down,” felt an immediate connection to the material. "I just loved the tone of the script. It was so mature. Jason has such a cool tone and style,” he says. "Both Thank You for Smoking and Juno are such fun and also have an incredible heart at the center and that's the kind of comedy I gravitate towards.”

He also enjoyed the surprise turn his happily engaged character takes. "Jim is your typical, small town, 30‐ish male who always assumed life is about getting married, buying a home and having a family. Then, on the morning of his wedding, he flips out,” McBride explains. "It becomes a crucial moment not only for Jim but for Ryan, because it turns out he's scared of the same things Jim is scared of. In trying to figure out the right things to say to Jim, Ryan sees another side to his own life.”

Lynskey, a New Zealand native who is well known for her role on television's "Two and a Half Men” and whose recent films include Sam Mendes' Away We Go and Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, also could not resist the film's characters. "I really, really wanted to be in this movie,” she recalls, "and the casting director said to me, ‘Don't let Jason know you have a New Zealand accent. If you say anything, do it in an American accent.' Unfortunately, I'm not very good at that when I'm talking as myself. So I ended up being completely silent unless I was doing a scene. He asked me to do an additional scene and I just nodded my head. In the end, though, it worked out.”

Hailing from a very big family, Lynskey says she could relate to Ryan barely knowing his sister, Julie. "That's what appealed to me because it was such an honest portrayal of what families are really like,” she explains. "I really responded to the awkwardness of when, even though you're related to someone, there's a feeling of great distance.”

Reitman decided early on that the way he wanted to film Julie and Jim's wedding and reception was to do it as though he'd been hired by the couple locally to document the happy day. The entire scene, including the reception, was shot not on film but on video. There was one rehearsal the night before with the cast in their own clothes and a real wedding coordinator and pastor advising Jason and the cast and crew on how it would proceed if real.

The result was surreal for Lynskey. "Danny was so funny and that da

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