Breznican also shared that during his set visit he was struck by the sense that everyone was having a great time. He even took note of a sign outside one of the bedrooms in the home where the film was shot that read something to the effect of ‘Actor’s Clubhouse.’ The panel shared some memories from the 31-day shoot and the atmosphere that was enjoyed by all.
Though it was true that all of the trailers were a few miles off from the set, Bateman shared that the circumstances were not the only reasons there was such a sense of closeness on the set.
"You kind of hit it on the head that our trailers were really far away [laughs]. I mean no, but we would have all hung out in one trailer had the trailers been a little closer. It was a great thing that Shawn went to Tina first, because Tina is our lead and she sets a tone on set, as does Shawn, that really trickles down. I think people are genuinely nice, for the most part, and if they are working with people who lead with nice, than you feel safe to be nice, and then everything’s nice. It was a very smooth operation."
Fey added that the environment also had a positive effect on the work.
It sort of mirrored sitting shiva, it forced us to be together in a way that was good for everyone, I think. By a week into it, Kathryn Hahn and Corey were just napping in the bed together. There just was great camaraderie.
Levy recalled that having Jane Fonda on set was a particularly amusing.
"As you saw in the trailer, in the book Hilary has had a boob job ‘cause she’s got another book tour coming up. She just wants a touch up... So Jane early on, like the day after I cast Jane she said, ‘I want to see the top prosthetician in LA and get really big, fake boobs, so we can shoot this scene where I’m in a robe and go fully open if you want to,’ and I chose not to. But, we spent a day with Jane in these breasts that just look completely real. Jonathan just reminded me we’d be sitting at lunch and she’d just be like [flashes everyone] and you don’t know where to look. You look at your plate, you look up, because to Jane, she’s wearing like a chestplate of clothing. But to us it’s like Jane Fonda below the waist, Jane Fonda above the neck and just huge breasts just being flaunted. She’d flash passing by cars, it’s true, I’m not making that up."
Levy also noted that he had no problem pitting Fey and Bateman against each other for the good of the movie.
It helps when you give opposite direction to the two actors in the scene. So, I would go to Jason’s ear and I would say ‘Shut her up.’ And I would go to Tina and I would say ‘Make him confess. They didn’t know what I said to the other, so you have two people working at diametrically opposed agendas. The only note I remember giving was pull his hair hard.
The cast didn’t shy away from changing things up for the food of the film either. Levy recalled one great adjustment they made to ensure Adam Driver could be part of the project.
"We offered Adam Driver the movie and he couldn’t do it cause he was filming that show [‘Girls’], Phillip is a big part, it’s well over half the schedule and we tried, it failed. I was told forget Adam Driver, you’ve gotta move on and find someone else. So, I read 50, 70 different actors in that age range, and it just cemented my certainty that this Adam Driver was something truly singular. So, I asked both Jason and Tina, I said, ‘Look, I think there might be a way to get Adam in the movie, but it’s going to mean we shoot weekends, we shoot wonky hours, we shoot way out of sequence,’ and unhesitatingly they both said, absolutely, do it, because there’s no second choice to an actor who’s that unique. … It meant seeing our families less and our kids less, but in the end it was worth it because Adam Driver is Phillip."