Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day on the set of LIFE OF THE PARTY (in theaters May 11) and now, I can finally share that lovely experience with you! My travel and accommodations were provided by Warner Bros. Pictures., all thoughts and opinions are of course, my own.
Having lived south of Atlanta for a spell during the early part of 2000, it was great to return to my favorite hot spots and have the added excitement of being on a movie set. If that wasn’t dreamy enough, it happened to be the set for LIFE OF THE PARTY, starring one of my all-time comedic favorites, Melissa McCarthy!
Contending with a little humidity and Georgia sunshine was well worth having the privilege of watching McCarthy perform live and having on-the-set interviews with the cast and crew.
We watched the beginning scene of the film, a roller-coaster of emotions and hilarity as devoted mom Deanna (McCarthy) says good-bye to her daughter, who is headed off to college. Minutes later, Deanna finds out her husband wants a divorce!
This scene certainly tugged my mom strings as I thought about how it felt when my daughter left home and how it will feel when my sons will soon be heading out on their college journeys. I instantly knew I’d love this film as McCarthy is so relate-able and her journey as a mid-life mom in LIFE OF THE PARTY is going to be a powerful and empowering one.
Take after take, we watched the scene unfold and how interesting the improvisational and re-write processes take place on set. Each take was slightly different and fascinating to view.
The day sort of went like this – quiet on the set, quiet, quiet, way cool watching Melissa improvise, hot sun, find shade, quiet, didn’t know they did so many takes on the same scene, quiet, quiet, hot sun, find water, quiet, quiet, awesome it’s interview time… and repeat!
In the mix of that, we also had a fun Director’s chair photo shoot, fabulous on-set lunch, and a whole lot of gorgeous scenery to enjoy as the part of the story we viewed is filmed at The Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast, an antebellum home built in 1836 in Covington, Georgia.
Check out more about THE LIFE OF THE PARTY below including some interesting tidbits and facts I learned while hanging on set. Also stayed tuned to Rural Mom as I’ll be bringing you an exclusive interview with Melissa McCarthy and more information on the film!
ABOUT the LIFE OF THE PARTY
When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (McCarthy) turns regret into re-set by going back to college…landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea. Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock—embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.
Alongside McCarthy, the film also stars Gillian Jacobs (“Don’t Think Twice,” Netflix’s “Love,” TV’s “Community”), Maya Rudolph (“Bridesmaids,” “Sisters”), Julie Bowen (ABC’s “Modern Family”), Matt Walsh (HBO’s “Veep,” “Ghostbusters”), Molly Gordon (“Love the Coopers,” TNT’s “Animal Kingdom”), with Stephen Root (“Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”), and Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “Animal Kingdom”), Jessie Ennis (AMC’s “Better Call Saul”), Adria Arjona (HBO’s “True Detective,” NBC’s upcoming “Emerald City”), Debby Ryan (Disney Channel’s “Jessie”) and Jimmy O. Yang (HBO’s “Silicon Valley”).
McCarthy and Falcone co-wrote the screenplay and produce through their production company, On the Day Production. Chris Henchy is also producing the film, with David Siegel serving as executive producer.
Falcone’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Julio Macat (“The Boss,” “Horrible Bosses 2,” “Daddy’s Home”); production designer Rusty Smith (“The Boss”); editor Brian Olds (“Central Intelligence”); and costume designer Louise Mingenbach (the “The Hangover” franchises) with music by Fil Eisler “How to Be Single,” TV’s “Empire”), A New Line Cinema production, “Life of the Party” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
It has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual material, drug content and partying.
Fun Facts about the filming of LIFE OF THE PARTY
- Adria Arjona (Amanda) enjoyed having her first college experience vicariously through her role. It was also her first time visiting Georgia and she enjoyed exploring Atlanta’s attractions like Ponce City Market and the Beltline.
- When chatting about filming the opening scene, Director Ben Falcone said he is truly having a blast and that the women on set were “a force of nature” and “the nicest people ever.”
- Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone celebrated their eleventh wedding anniversary during the filming of LIFE OF THE PARTY.
- Many years before filming LIFE OF THE PARTY, Gillian Jacobs (Helen) performed one night of improv with Melissa McCarthy at the Groundlings in Los Angeles. She though McCarthy was incredible and is not at all surprised that she went on to become an international movie star.
- “My character (in Life of the Party,) like all the other girls in this movie, just adores here (Melissa McCarthy’s character,) which is a reflection of, I think, how we all feel about her (Melissa McCarthy) in real life. She’s such a generous supportive cast member and producer, really brings out the best in everybody and wants everyone to be the funniest, best they can be.” – Gillian Jacobs
“She (Melissa McCarthy) makes you laugh so hard you cry and you’re trying not to ruin takes by breaking.” – Gillian Jacobs
- All of the cast members agreed the 80’s party scene from the film was one of their favorites.
- Jessie Ennis (Debbie) had such a great time filming LIFE OF THE PARTY that she would come on days that she wasn’t working just to hang out because she was having such a good time.
- Jessie Ennis and Molly Gordon (Maddie Miles) went to the same high school, but LIFE OF THE PARTY is their first time filming together.
- Matt Walsh (Dan Miles) previously worked with Melissa McCarthy in Ghostbusters (2016.) He received the “best call in the world” when Melissa McCarthy rang to ask him how he’d like to play her husband in LIFE OF THE PARTY. “Because she’s awesome and a friend, I said, yes, of course,” said Walsh.
- For Molly Gordon (Maddie Miles) her role in LIFE OF THE PARTY felt comfortable and close-to-home as she is also an only child who is very close with her mom. She immediately felt connect with Melissa McCarthy, who she deems as “amazing!”
“The one thing I’m really worried about on this movie is that I’ve laughed so many times,” said Gordon. “It was just such a joy! Melissa’s just such a kind person and incredible to work with. She gives you so much. I feel so incredibly lucky.”
- As a joke, Jessie Ennis and Molly Gordon decorated the producer’s trailer during filming with lights and streamers. It was a highlight for Gordon as she didn’t feel like she could do that on other sets, she loved that filming LIFE OF THE PARTY was relaxed and felt a bit like “summer camp”
- Both Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone’s fathers have cameo appearances in the LIFE OF THE PARTY. The couple’s daughters also appear in a scene in the film along with Writer Steve Mallory’s daughter.
- Writer Steve Mallory first met Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone at Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe and school based in Los Angeles.
- During filming, Ben Falcone gifted Steve Mallory a computer with Ben’s face silk-screened on the back of the monitor. The two long-time friends have a running joke of gifting each other presents with their faces on it. Mallory has previously gifted Falcone a set of wine glasses with his face etched into them and he has a bronze bust of Falcone’s face in his backyard.