18 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Wedding Crashers’ on Its 18th Anniversary

18 Trivia Tidbits About ‘Wedding Crashers’ on Its 18th Anniversary

Back in 2005, Bradley Cooper and Isla Fisher were pretty much unknown, while R-rated comedy was pretty much relegated to horny teen sex movies. Then Wedding Crashers happened. Not only would it open doors for both actors and revitalize the concept of adult comedies for actual adults, but it also cemented Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn’s on-screen bromance. 

On the 18th anniversary of the movie that somehow featured John McCain and unleashed the saucy side of Jane Seymour, we’ve rounded up a bunch of trivia about filming that bananas dinner scene and getting Will Ferrell on board at the last minute...

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It Was Director David Dobkin’s Idea to Put Wilson and Vaughn Together

One of the best comedy duos of modern cinema, Vaughn and Wilson were paired on screen thanks to Dobkin. “I was at my Shanghai Knights premiere, and Vince came because he had been in Clay Pigeons,” Dobkin told MEL Magazine. “We were at the after-party, and I’m talking with Vince and looking over at Owen. I swear to God, Abbott and Costello popped into my head. I remember grabbing my agent and saying, ‘I want to find something for Vince and Owen.’”

There Was a Lot of Improvisation During the Football Scene

Vaughn’s 25-second pre-snap play calling was all ad-libbing, as was Carson Elrod’s character Flip yelling, “Crabcakes and football! That’s what Maryland does!”

The Idea Came From One of the Producers’ Own Experience

“I was with a friend of mine, and we were in Las Vegas, and we were heading to the pool, and we ended up in a wedding reception, and everyone’s like, ‘Let’s do it!’ and it was only for a few minutes but that’s where the inspiration came from,” producer Andrew Panay told Variety. “It was inspired by that and also my male relationships, the friendships I had with my male friends in my 20s and how we were really close and had a lot of love for each other, and I just thought it would be really wonderful to see that on-screen.”

Congress Pulled Down the Fake Purple Hearts on the Movie’s Website

As part of a marketing stunt, the producers added printable Purple Hearts (see video clip above) on the movie’s website to jokingly use to try and score with the ladies. Rep. John Salazar, however, proposed a bill around the same time criminalizing the act of using fake medals to acquire any sort of advantage, forcing the producers to take it down. “If any moviegoers take the advice of the Wedding Crashers and try to use fake Purple Hearts to get girls, they may wind up picking up an FBI agent instead,” Salazar said. “I am pleased that New Line Cinema has agreed to take down offensive parts of the website. Our veterans and FBI agents are working hard to make sure that we honor our true heroes; no one should undermine their efforts.”

The ’10 Percent of Our Brains’ Line Was a Last-Minute Addition

The cheesy line in which Wilson’s character tells a bridesmaid, “You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts,” was a last-minute addition from Wilson. “We’d already finished that whole sequence when I came up with that line,” he told New York magazine. “At about the same age, as I was interested in petrified wood, I was just fascinated with this dumb idea that we only used 10 percent of our brains. I was always thinking, Man, if I could only use 20…” He said as much to Dobkin, and they filmed the bit using an impromptu backdrop.

The Director Explained the Movie’s Ending (15 Years Later)

New Line Cinema

The end of Wedding Crashers sees the two new couples, John and Claire (Wilson and McAdams) and Jeremy and Gloria (Vaughn and Fisher), ride off in a convertible to go crash some weddings as the camera settles on a shot of the Washington Monument. “After we made the movie, I was sure someone’s going to ask me about that ending, and I’m going to have to verbalize it because I’m the filmmaker,” Dobkin told USA Today. “And I remember afterward being like, ‘It’s amazing no one asked why I move off them and tilt to the Washington Monument.’”

The director revealed that the moment harked back to the Lincoln Memorial scene in the film’s opening, where Wilson and Vaughn sat on the steps, looking at the monument across the waters. “Owen is talking about putting down all this silliness and kind of getting beyond this,” Dobkin said, adding that the monument in the distance was a “goal on the horizon that they want to reach. The whole movie to me is a coming-of-age story of boys to men, where you go from your primary interests being sex to your primary interest being in love. They want to have a deeper connection. So that final symbol shows they have moved close to that goal.”

That Washington Monument Shot Was a Mission to Film

The police were brought in to help coordinate the shoot as all of Constitution Avenue had to be shut down during the capitol’s rush hour to best capture the view. “We had over 40 cops closing down almost every other street. It was just insane, a total mess,” Dobkin remembers. In the end, they got four takes using a crane to move the camera from tracking the convertible up to the shot of the monument.

New Line Cinema’s Marketing Department Thought the Script Was Too Misogynistic

“There was a fear from the marketing department at New Line at the time that these guys were misogynists and that they were (going to) weddings to get laid,” Dobkin remembers. “(Russell) Schwartz (New Line’s head of marketing) sat me down and said, ‘I don’t know how to sell this movie, it sounds so mean-spirited.’ I was like, ‘Oh, god, I’d never even read it that way.’ To me, they love weddings; the funny part is they love the food, they love the bands, they love the grandparents, they love the kids. They’re the life of the party; they make the weddings the best they could possibly be. And the byproduct of that is seduction. And a seduction means that you’re sold on something, that somebody gets you over the hoop. You wanna be seduced in life. When I pitched that to him, he’s kind of like, ‘Oh, that’s interesting; I hope you can pull that off.’”

It Was 2005’s Fifth Highest-Grossing Movie in the U.S.

The film was a critical and commercial success, slotting in at fifth in the domestic box office for 2005. This was no mean feat, as it was only surpassed by giant blockbusters like Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, War of the Worlds and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It even beat out titles like Batman Begins, King Kong and The Aviator.

Making an R-Rated Film Wasn’t Easy

The Farrelly Brothers’ 1998 comedy There’s Something About Mary ushered in a new era of R-rated rom-coms, with American Pie, Scary Movie and Old School soon to follow. This new wave of raunchy romps quickly irked the more conservative among us, leading to Congress to step in and argue that tighter regulations were needed and that R-rated films couldn’t be advertised to kids under the age of 17. 

Even though Wedding Crashers was, according to New Line Cinema chief Rolf Mittweg, conceived as an R-rated movie from the get-go, Dobkin has said that there were discussions around the possibility of tweaking the script to acquire a better rating. “At one point, we sent the script to someone who knew about the rating system,” Dobkin revealed, “and he sent back a list of R-rated elements. It was a massive list. The two funniest scenes in the movie would have had to go. I think if you’re dishonest and undercut the essence of the story for financial reasons, you’re always going to hurt the movie.”

Shannon Elizabeth Was Up for the Role of Gloria

Shannon Elizabeth was, at that point, considered the face of R-rated comedies after having starred in American Pie, Scary Movie and Tomcats. Isla Fisher, who ended up nabbing what would be her breakout role, said that she just got lucky. “Every girl that went in before me was famous,” Fisher said. “I remember sitting in the (waiting) room and thinking I shouldn’t really bother because usually they just pick a name. I was with Shannon Elizabeth and that girl that won the Oscar for The Piano (Anna Paquin).”

Wilson and Vaughn Had a Hand in Much of the Script

Wilson said that, initially, he wasn’t comfortable with the script. “It was a funny concept and story, but part (of it) felt corny,” he once said. “Vince and I did a lot of work, meeting with writers (Steve Faber and Bob Fisher).” According to him, they also got rid of a Graduate-like wedding scene involving his character and Claire.

Where Fisher Got Her Inspiration to Play Gloria

“My crazy eyes? She’s actually here in the hotel,” Fisher answered when asked about the inspiration. “I’ve got a friend, and I’m not going to name her, and when I started thinking about Gloria, just before the audition, I started watching like Fatal Attraction and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, and I just thought a bit about how I could make someone really psycho and funny and aggressive and sexual, but also make her sweet enough that you still like her and think that she’s endearing in some way — and not that she just needs to be institutionalized. So this friend of mine, who shall remain unnamed, has this shtick where she has a bit of a crazy eye, and I just thought that would be funny. And if I added that with a really bad laugh, that combination, that it might work.”

Former Senator John McCain Got Some Flak for His Cameo

McCain’s cameo in Wedding Crashers didn’t go down well with everyone — especially given that he was leading congressional hearings denouncing Hollywood’s R-rated revolution a few years prior. He went on to, uh, defend himself on The Tonight Show, saying, “In Washington, I work with boobs every day.”

Will Ferrell’s Cameo Almost Didn’t Happen

“This scene wasn’t in the movie,” Dobkins told Entertainment Weekly, referring to John and Jeremy visiting Chazz Reinhold at his (mom’s) house. “There was a moment when Owen was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we crashed funerals?’ It didn’t really fit in that opening montage, and then later, when I was looking for an all-is-lost moment, I said, ‘Owen, what if you go see Chazz? You mention this guy Chazz, and we never see him in the movie. What if you wanted to go see this guy to get some advice, and he was crashing funerals? And you think all of this sounds really dark, and you’re really at your bottom. But when you go with him, and you’re at the funeral, it feels all wrong, and you realize you should be by your friend’s side.’ And so Owen went and wrote that scene.”

With the scene down, it was still touch-and-go to get Ferrell to do the part. “I remember it was midnight the night before, and we were still trying to nail Will down,” the director said. “He got in in the morning, he read it, and he came out with his kimono on and the nunchucks, which was Owen’s idea that he have those around his neck. (Will) was like, ‘You want me to wear this?!’ He was very laid back in the first take, and I remember looking at him, and I just said, ‘I think he’s a little crazier. Which is bad direction by the way. He was like, ‘Oh, I know what you mean,’ and he did it again, and I was like, ‘Maybe more?’ I mean, I really believe that I directed him by just saying ‘more’ until he had that fifth take, and that is the whole take that is in the movie.”

Wilson Was Nervous Doing That Scene With Jane Seymour

New Line Cinema

While Wilson said he was star-struck doing a movie with a famous Bond girl, Dobkin revealed that the actor was both shy and also a gentleman when it came to the boob-touching sequence. “So to him, even in a movie scene, putting a hand on a breast was so uncomfortable, and it was so funny because Jane was so comfortable,” the director recalls. “Owen was very stiff in the scene. He didn’t really want to squeeze her breast when she was telling him to. And I was like, ‘Dude, you gotta do it. It doesn’t look right; your hands look like crab claws.’ And then he did it eventually, and that scene ended up being way funnier than I thought it was going to be.

It Was Keir O’Donnell’s Breakout Role, Too

The actor got his big break playing Todd Clearly, Claire and Gloria’s brother and son of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken)According to the filmmakers, he showed up in full costume for his audition, inspired by Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes.

The Dinner Table Scene Took Nearly Four Days to Shoot

O’Donnell said that while filming that famous dinner scene was fun, everyone was ready to walk away from it four days later. Editor Mark Livolsi also said they ended up having to reshoot the crotch shot under the table, explaining that originally “they had a prosthetic, and when I got the footage, I called David, and I was like, ‘Dude, you’ll never get an R-rating if you put this in. It’s too much for me, and it’ll be too much for everybody else.’”


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