MEET THE TWINS
While attempting to escape their pursuers, the Fosters "borrow" Holbrooke Grant's car, the much-too-powerful-for-Phil Audi R8. When Phil inadvertently smashes into a taxi cab, the two vehicles' bumpers become hopelessly locked together. Nonetheless, the chase continues, the conjoined twin automobiles smashing their way down Manhattan streets.
The complicated sequence came about when Levy and Klausner were brainstorming ideas for a chase scene. Concerned about repeating the oft-used, cliché urban car chase, Klausner recalls, "I remember sitting in a room with Shawn, telling him, 'You know, do we really have to do a car chase, because how many times have we seen a car chase in these movies? How interesting can that be?'"
Levy then related to his writer a story from his teenage years. "He was just learning to drive, and was trying to park, but he ended up smashing into another car in front of him and getting stuck on that car. His father just drove by and shook his head." Thus was born the idea of conjoined cars.
But just having two cars barreling down the street wasn't enough. "Shawn wanted to do something that nobody had ever seen before," says 2nd unit director and stunt coordinator Jack Gill, who planned and executed the sequence. "Once we got the basic idea of conjoining the cars, we began figuring out not only how to build the cars, but how to make it work comically. I then started adding eccentricities, like spinning them around in circles and having characters fire guns at them."
Besides having six different cars that, each of which handled a specific aspect of the chase stunts, Gill built a 40 foot frame, upon which the Audi and cab bodies were placed. "So there's just one rigid frame," he explains. The stunt driver was situated at the leading end of the conjoined vehicles. "So when the cab is facing forwards, with the Audi ahead of it facing the wrong way, the stunt driver is actually driving from inside the Audi's trunk, looking out the back so he can see where he's going and drive around corners." In addition, for most shots, the rig's rear wheels - those under the rear end of the conjoined vehicles - could also steer, in the same manner as those of a hook-and-ladder fire truck.
Needless to say, don't try this at home on your own Manhattan street.
New York City ordinances limited the production to the types of stunts that could be filmed on Manhattan streets. So following a week of night work in New York, the stunt team moved to downtown Los Angeles to complete the sequence.
"We had about six blocks to work with on Broadway, which was great," Gill recalls. "We needed a long stretch locked down, because when you conjoin two cars together, you've got a thing that's forty feet long - getting it up to speed and shutting it all down can be tough. You can't just do it in two blocks." The sequence was filmed with up to six cameras, including a special "balloon cam," with wheeled buoys on each corner, which allowed the camera to be sent into the path of the speeding car pair and getting hit head-on, without damaging expensive camera equipment.
Carell did actually drive the R8 himself for a number of shots. "We wanted the car to have way too much power for a guy like Phil to handle," says Gill. "So I asked Audi to disconnect the all-wheel drive, which meant putting all 560 horsepower into the rear wheels." So what was Carell's impression? "He said it felt like somebody hitting him in the back of the head with a shovel when he stepped on the gas."
In one shot, Phil must make his way to the cab while Claire is driving the Audi at high speed. "We did all the transfers across the hood with doubles - that was all real," notes Gill.
Close-ups of Carell and Fey were done against a green screen set at Twentieth Century Fox. Since the chase acrobatics had already been filmed, besides their scripted lines, Carell and Fey filled in the gaps with their gut-busting ad-libs. "I'd show them footage and explain to them, 'Here's what we did last week downtown with the real cars - what do you think?'" Gill says. "And we'd bounce off ideas until something really clicked. And then Shawn was always there to say, 'You're right on track here - that's really funny!' It really helps when you have a collaboration where everybody can talk ideas out."
Even with all the excitement, Levy kept the scene's theme on track. "Once we had the concept of having the two cars stuck together, then we could find a way to thematically tie it in to what the movie's about, which is this couple that has to learn to communicate to survive," he explains.
Indeed, even with all that happens to them on this fateful night, the Fosters achieve their goal: to reinvigorate their relationship and reconnect with the love and excitement that brought them together in the first place.
"DATE NIGHT is kind of like a fable," says Levy. "It takes place over a very short period of time, but in some way, it's timeless, because it's a story about a journey two people make in their relationship. And we leave the night feeling like they will go back to their lives and no one except for the people involved that night might ever know what happened. We've watched them experience this crazy night, but the real adventure of their married life, now that they've found each other again, is just about to begin."
"They're comfortable enough again with each other to be able to say 'Knock it off' and 'I love you' within the same five minutes," says Steve Carell.
Tina Fey has just one last piece of relationship advice: "Go on a date night and see DATE NIGHT."
ABOUT THE CAST
STEVE CARELL (Phil Foster) has emerged as one of the most sought-after comedic actors in Hollywood. First gaining recognition for his contributions as a correspondent on Comedy Central's Emmy Award-winning "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Carell has successfully segued into primetime television and above-the-title status in the film world with equal aplomb.
Carell currently stars as Michael Scott, the pompous and deluded boss of a Pennsylvania paper company, in the Americanized adaptation of Ricky Gervais' acclaimed British television series "The Office." Now in its sixth season, the show continues to flourish in ratings and has earned Carell three Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe nominations for his work on the show, and earned the Golden Globe in 2006. In the last two years, the show has won the Screen Actors Guild Award® for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
Carell opened his first lead feature, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," which he co-wrote with director Judd Apatow, at #1, a spot it remained in for two straight weekends. The surprise hit of 2005 went on to gross more than $175 million worldwide and had #1 openings in 12 countries. The film generated over $100 million in DVD sales in North America alone. On an award level, the film was honored with an AFI Award named one of 10 Most Outstanding Motion Pictures of the Year and took home Best Comedy Movie at the 11th annual Critics' Choice Awards®. The film also earned Carell and Apatow a co-nomination for Best Original Screenplay by the Writers Guild Association.
In 2008, Carell starred as Maxwell Smart in the much-anticipated action-comedy "Get Smart," opposite Anne Hathaway and Alan Arkin. The film grossed over $230 million worldwide. A sequel is due in 2011. He also lent his voice as "The Mayor of Whoville" in Twentieth Century Fox's animated film "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!" based on the children's book written by Dr. Seuss. Directed by Jimmy Hayward ("Finding Nemo," "Monsters, Inc."), Carell played opposite Jim Carrey, and helped launch the film as an international success earning over $295 million worldwide.
In 2006, as part of an ensemble, he starred in "Little Miss Sunshine," which earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture and won the SAG Award™ for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The black comedy also starred Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette. Previous film credits for the actor include "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," "Bewitched, and "Dan in Real Life." Carell's feature film breakout role in "Bruce Almighty," opposite Jim Carrey, led to a sequel starring Carell in 2007, "Evan Almighty."
Carell recently announced the start of his new production company, Carousel Productions. Carell's endeavors and successes in acting, writing and producing were an organic segue in the creation of Carousel Productions. Born in Massachusetts, Carell now resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Nancy Walls (NBC's "Saturday Night Live"), whom he met while at the Second City Theater Group in Chicago, where both were members. He is the proud father of a daughter and a son.
TINA FEY (Claire Foster), one of the most visible and popular figures in television today, writes, executive produces and stars in NBC's three-time Emmy Award-winning comedy series "30 Rock," a workplace comedy which takes place behind-the-scenes of a live variety show. Her performance as head writer Liz Lemon on the fictional "TGS with Tracy Jordan" has earned Fey an Emmy, two Golden Globes, three SAG Awards, and a People's Choice Award. This year alone, "30 Rock" won five Emmy Awards and was nominated for many others.
Prior to creating "30 Rock," Fey completed nine seasons as head writer, cast member and co-anchor of the "Weekend Update" segment on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Fey is an Emmy winner and two-time Writers Guild Award winner for her writing on SNL, also receiving an Emmy for her spoof of vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Since her transition to being in front of the camera, Fey has won much acclaim, including being named one of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainers of the Year, People Magazine's Most Beautiful People (three times), and one of Time magazine's Prestigious Time 100.
Other awards include, in 2008, a Producers Guild Award and a Writers Guild Award for Outstanding Comedy Series for "30 Rock." She has also won two Gracie Awards and a Made in New York Award and has been nominated for a People's Choice Award for Choice Comedy Actress and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Fey expanded to feature films in spring 2004 as both a screenwriter and an actress opposite Lindsay Lohan in the hit comedy "Mean Girls," which earned her a nomination for a Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Most recently she starred alongside "Saturday Night Live's" Amy Poehler in the film "Baby Mama" for Universal Pictures, which exceed the $50 million dollar mark at the U.S. box office. Fey also starred in the Ricky Gervais comedy "The Invention of Lying," released in 2009.
MARK WAHLBERG ("Holbrooke Grant") earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his standout performance in Martin Scorsese's acclaimed drama "The Departed."
Wahlberg's remarkable film career began with Penny Marshall's "Renaissance Man" and "The Basketball Diaries" with Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by a star turn opposite Reese Witherspoon in the thriller "Fear." He has enjoyed playing diverse characters for visionary filmmakers such as David O. Russell, Tim Burton and Paul Thomas Anderson.
Wahlberg's breakout role in "Boogie Nights" established him as one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents. He later headlined "Three Kings" and "The Perfect Storm" with George Clooney, and "The Italian Job" with Charlize Theron. He followed those with "I ♥ Huckabees," "Four Brothers" and the football biography, "Invincible." He then appeared in "Shooter," based on the best-selling novel Point of Impact. Wahlberg reunited with "The Yards" director James Gray and co-star Joaquin Phoenix in "We Own the Night," which Wahlberg produced.
In 2008, Wahlberg starred in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening," and in "Max Payne." He recently appeared in director Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Lovely Bones." Due out this year is "The Fighter" for director David O. Russell and "The Other Guys," with Will Ferrell.
Wahlberg is an executive producer on "The Fighter" and "We Own the Night," as well as on the HBO series "Entourage" and "In Treatment," which have received six Golden Globe and three Emmy nominations.
Future projects include the new HBO series, "Boardwalk Empire," with Martin Scorsese and "How to Make it in America," along with other feature film projects. A committed philanthropist, he founded The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in 2001 to benefit inner city children and teens.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
SHAWN LEVY (Director/Producer) is one of the most commercially successful film directors of the past decade. To date, his films have grossed over 1.5 billion dollars worldwide. Levy has honed his craft, seamlessly weaving comedy and heart into captivating stories that resonate with audiences. His youthfully enthusiastic approach to filmmaking is evident in the storylines and characters he creates - reflecting his joyful intensity for each project at hand.
Levy is currently developing several films to produce through his production company, 21 Laps, which is housed at Twentieth Century Fox. These projects include "The Ten Best Days of My Life" (with Amy Adams), "Neighborhood Watch," "The Devil You Know" and "How to Talk to Girls" for Fox; "Factracker" for MGM; "The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp" and "The Cutlass Islands" for New Regency, "Men of Magic" for Universal; "The Berenstain Bears" for Walden; and "The Spectacular Now" and "Table 19" for Fox Searchlight.
Currently, Levy is in pre-production on the futuristic father-son boxing drama, "Real Steel," starring Hugh Jackman, for Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks.
Levy's 21 Laps recently produced the 2008 comedy «What Happens in Vegas,» starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, which went on to earn over $200 million worldwide.
Levy both produced and directed the blockbuster "Night at the Museum," starring Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais, Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney, which grossed over $580 million worldwide and "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," starring a wide array of today's most notable comedic talent including Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Hank Azaria, Owen Wilson, Ricky Gervais and Steve Coogan, which grossed over $400 million worldwide.
He directed the successful 2006 comedy, "The Pink Panther," starring Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyoncé Knowles, and Jean Reno and served as the executive producer of "Pink Panther 2." Levy also directed "Cheaper By The Dozen" starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Ashton Kutcher and Hilary Duff, which went on to gross more than $200 million worldwide.
In 2002, Levy directed both the hit romantic comedy "Just Married," starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy, which grossed over $100 million and the family comedy "Big Fat Liar," for Universal Pictures, with Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes.
Levy graduated at the age of 20 from the Drama Department of Yale University. He later studied film in the Masters Film Production Program at USC, where he produced and directed the short film Broken Record. This film won the Gold Plaque at the Chicago Film Festival, in addition to being selected to screen at the Director's Guild of America.
JOSH KLAUSNER (Screenwriter) attended Princeton University, where he was involved in the theater community as an actor, playwright and director, and studied theater luminaries Bobby Lewis and Albert Innaurato. Klausner's thesis play, "Scratch," received the Francis LeMoyne Page Prize for Excellence in Theater. After graduation, Klausner co-created the short "Season of the Lifterbees," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, and won the Time Warner Grand Prize at the Aspen Shortsfest and a regional AMPAS Student Academy Award for Best Dramatic Short.
In 1994, Klausner began working as an assistant to the Farrelly Brothers, on their first film, "Dumb & Dumber," moving on to work as 2nd unit director on the Farrellys' hit 1998 film, "There's Something About Mary" and again in 2001's "Shallow Hal."
In 2000, Klausner wrote and directed HBO's "The 4th Floor," starring William Hurt, Juliette Lewis, Austin Pendleton and Shelley Duvall. He did additional screenplay work on "Shrek the Third," and wrote the original screenplay and storyline for DreamWorks
Animation's upcoming "Shrek Forever After," to be released later this year.
Klausner is currently working on a number of feature film projects, including a live action adaptation of "Thomas the Tank Engine," and an adaptation of Adena Hapern's The Ten Best Days of My Life for Shawn Levy's 21 Laps, which will star Amy Adams. He is also collaborating with Sir Paul McCartney on "High in the Clouds," an upcoming animated feature film based on the former Beatle's children's book.