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LITTLE FOCKERS

Designing and Shooting
While Little Fockers is set in Greg and Pam's home base of Chicago, locations across Southern California once again provided the majority of the comedy's locations…just as they did with the previous film. Meet the Parents was lensed in Long Island, and Meet the Fockers, although set in Miami, was filmed entirely in Los Angeles.

Cast and crew spent the first week of principal photography on location in the Windy City to capture the town's unique landscape for several key exterior shots, including scenes between Jack and Greg that were shot on the city's aboveground subway train, the El. Upon its return to Los Angeles, the company hit the road to film on location in Century City, Encino, San Marino, South Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles.

The Universal Pictures back lot served as home for filming all of the interior scenes at Greg and Pam's apartment, as well as The Roz Focker Show and Jack's spy nook, which was originally used in Meet the Parents and exhumed from storage.

Despite the comedy's new surroundings, devotees of the franchise will recognize the hallmark of each chapter—the family dinner, the picture-perfect setup of domestic bliss. This time, it plays out in Greg and Pam's apartment. Of course, in the dysfunctional world of the Focker-Byrnes clan, it is elevated and embodies the adage "anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

For the Fockers' starter home, which is undergoing endless, major construction, South Pasadena's tree-lined streets offered a suburban idyll and provided what the team was looking for aesthetically and practically. Production designer William Arnold and his crew were able to transform the property to meet all the demands the script posed. This included creating an excavated pit in the backyard and building additions to the property for filming.

The sprawling five-acre expanse of the subtropical Australian Garden within the grounds of The Huntington Botanical Gardens provided the backdrop for one of the film's bigger set pieces: the elaborate fifth birthday party that Kevin throws for the Focker twins. Naturally, whenever Kevin is involved, the event will be over-the-top.

Any child would be thrilled with the Cirque du Soleil-themed party—replete with a myriad of exotic attractions, stilt walkers and magicians—Kevin insists upon having. But the sea of Moroccan tents and flags and an oversized entryway adorned with the likenesses of Tahan and Baiocchi took the pair by surprise, especially Baiocchi. The young actor admits he wasn't prepared for the odd décor and "seeing his face everywhere.”

The bouncy castle and the ball pit were incorporated into several sequences shot over the course of 10 days. These included a title fight that was truly a decade in the making. Ten years of pent-up frustration, distrust and resentment manifest themselves in a big way when Jack and Greg face off amidst their family and partygoers. The director notes: "After all these years, it's inevitable that Greg and Jack now have to kick the hell out of each other.”

While stunt doubles were used to protect the actors in many key scenes, there were a couple of close calls. "Raging Bull took nine weeks to shoot all the fight scenes and then another nine to shoot all the other scenes,” recalls De Niro. "It was more time-consuming, and there was a lot more fighting than in this film. But Ben was great about shooting our fight scene in Little Fockers. I punched him square in the face, and he just laughed.”

Filming the scene elicited many laughs from cast and crew as they watched De Niro and Stiller throw punches, race through the bouncy castle and terrorize each other throughout the party. Recalls Hamburg of watching them leave havoc in their wake: "I think Bob and Ben loved doing that scene. We were watching the video monitor and joking that Bob was genuinely laughing. He plays all these intense, often psychotic characters, and here he is jumping around in a children's bouncy castle, à la Raging Bull. It was a joy to behold.”

As the third installment of the popular franchise wrapped production, the team's hope is that global audiences embrace the new chapter of Greg Focker and Jack Byrnes and watch as, for the sake of their little Fockers, the men temporarily bury the hatchet.

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