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HALL PASS

Enter The Dragon
Set in suburban Rhode Island and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, "Hall Pass” was filmed on location in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Avondale High School in DeKalb County provided the baseball field at which Maggie and Grace unexpectedly find themselves back in the game.

Meanwhile, Coakley's playing field of choice is a pulsing club called Enter the Dragon, featuring $20 tequila shots and a resident snake dancer with his 20-foot Burmese python. Here, fully in his element, Coakley teaches Rick and Fred to seize the opportunities that surround them.

Enter the Dragon's exterior was a loft-style building in the downtown art district, but its interiors were captured in The Gold Room, a 4800-square foot space boasting two bars, a floating DJ booth, VIP banquet seating and a lot of history. Formerly The Gold Club, it was one of the country's most successful and high-profile strip clubs before being raided by the FBI for ties to the Gambino crime family and shut down in 1991. Re-opened under new management in 2009 and currently the hottest dance club in Atlanta, The Gold Room suspended business for a week while "Hall Pass” production designer Arlan Jay Vetter transformed it into one of the film's major sets.

"We brought in a lot of color, oranges and yellows, some interesting lighting elements and chandeliers to really make the atmosphere come alive and designed the whole dragon motif around Wannabe's perch,” says Vetter. "We wanted to make it a completely foreign environment for our heroes. They are obviously out of place even though they try their best to fit in.”

"Hall Pass” used numerous other practical locations in the Atlanta area to mark Rick and Fred's extramarital excursions, most notably the city's Druid Hills Golf Club, called upon to host likely the most unconventional game in its history. The Emory University campus provided the backdrop for an awkward encounter between Rick and his kids' babysitter, Paige, played by Alexandra Daddario; and Johnny's Hideaway served as the bar in which Rick and Fred unsuccessfully try to execute a list of supposedly surefire pick-up lines from the Internet and where Fred gets his clock cleaned by the biggest guy he has ever seen—a cameo by 7'8” Igor Vovkovinskiy, literally the Tallest Man in America. Mostly, though, Rick and Fred find themselves nursing their hangovers and carb comas, bruises and disappointments in side-by-side twin beds at the Days Inn Hotel where they have decamped for the week. While not bad, it's a far cry from the welcoming warmth and comparative luxury they shared with their wives.

"Rick's house, for example, typifies the American dream; a classic home that everybody would be comfortable in, a home for a family to grow up in and for a husband and wife to grow old in together,” says Vetter. "You look at where he's spent the past 15 years of his life and it makes him seem like the perfect family man. Which, really, he is.”

The designer, who has worked with the Farrellys on every one of their films since "Dumb and Dumber,” describes the strategy in contrasting these sets as "showing the difference between the lifestyle they have with the one they think they want.”

The Farrellys' approach, Peter offers, was "Neither pro- nor anti-hall pass. We just thought about where it might lead and tried to be fair to the concept, its pitfalls and rewards. It's not a story about being unhappily married; it's just about being married and questioning aloud the kinds of things that people sometimes wonder about, like what would happen if you went down that road.”

"The hall pass is a vacation from the various responsibilities and restraints of your regular life, a week off to live as you've dreamed about living. But in the end it's just one week and you have to come back to reality,” says Bobby. "Ultimately it's a story about love, about rediscovering love and appreciating your partner in life. In a way, we're playing with fire but, in the end, I don't think anybody really gets burned.”

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