The cast of four including the director conversed over the many things they experienced on the sets of the movie.
In 1997, Julia Roberts, Rupert Everett, Cameron Diaz, and Dermot Mulroney starred in one of Hollywood's most remembered rom-com: My Best Friend's Wedding. Nearly 24 years later, Entertainment Weekly has reunited the cast. With every cast member in their 40s and 50s — and having had successful careers — the reunion was a small break for them, one filled with laughter and togetherness as they rolled back the years in each other's company.
In case you haven't watched the movie (which you should do immediately), My Best Friend's Wedding features Julianne (Roberts) and Michael (Mulroney), two BFFs who make an unusual pact that they would marry each other if they haven't tied the knot by the age of 28. But three weeks shy of her 28th birthday, Julianne's world comes crashing down when Micheal is engaged to Kimmy (Diaz), and she goes on a jealousy-fueled attempt to break the wedding up so that she can be with her best friend.
As the four actors settled down for a lengthy conversation, Roberts stepped in with what she thought of the film.
"I just thought it was really clever and just funny. All the physical comedy I loved. Lots of falling down and falling through things, falling all over myself, falling over Dermot," she said. For Roberts, her favorite scene from the flick is when her character confesses her love for Michael. "The scene, for me, that made it feel so authentic and earnest is when I finally tell Dermot’s character, 'Pick me. Let me make you happy.' Just that line: That’s just so succinct and sweet and meaningful." Mulroney added, "I liked that he was the lead in the movie and Julia Roberts liked him. I liked those, like, obvious elements, but he had his own little story. He was a sportswriter and he was in love in ways that many people still argue with me about. I wouldn’t give this movie up for anything."
The reunion and the subsequent conversation threw up several interesting details we hadn't had the chance of hearing till now. For instance, Cameron Diaz stated that her sister-in-law (Nicole Richie) was obsessed with the film. Diaz said, "We went to Chicago, like, a year and a half ago, and she took me to every single [location]. She’s like, “Remember when you were walking down the street right here and then…" It was so much fun. I was like, "Yes, I think I do." She’s like, "I do, and it really means a lot to me, so I would like for you to pretend like you do."
Rupert Everett thought by taking on the role of George Downes would be the end of his career. He said, "When I got the part, it was literally two lines in the script. I thought it was kind of a career-icide move at first. P.J. Hogan made me test, like, three or four times for the film. I kept saying, 'P.J., what can I do? There’s nothing I can do.'" But he's glad he powered through because his role was just as memorable as the lead characters. "And so I came in with quite a bad attitude, in a way. What was the point, I thought. But it was a complete changing point for me," he noted. He also looked back fondly on how the cast got along immediately and likened it to be "magical."
Diaz had a moment at one point where she felt she was going to "die". Referring to the scene where she had to sing as part of live karaoke, she recalled: "I was terrified to do that scene, for real. I allowed the true terror of singing in front of people to be alive in me. I wanted to run and hide, and Dermot kept me there. He said, 'You can do it, you can do it.' In the scene, I’m just staring at him the whole time because he’s looking at me like, 'You’re okay. You’re not gonna die.' And I was like, 'But I’m dying.'"
In the final cut, the scene turned out better than Diaz had anticipated, and she even received actual applause for her singing beside the one written as part of the script. Everett added, "It’s an amazing scene because it turns around from being ridiculous to suddenly being incredibly moving. [Michael and Kimmy] fall in love more and [Julianne] becomes more isolated in her plotting."
Perhaps one of the most iconic scenes in the movie is when George bursts into Burt Bacharach’s "I Say a Little Prayer" at the seafood restaurant. Everett pointed out that this scene wasn't in the original script. Director P.J. Hogan said, "I really wanted to give George a lot more….I’d always wanted to do a scene at a restaurant. I was talking with my wife and I just said, 'What if he was to lead a big singalong — what would be a song that everybody knows?' We realized that everybody seems to know at least most of the lyrics to quite a few Bacharach songs." Diaz added, "And the best part of it was when they started handing out the bibs. And we were all like, 'What?' We were like, 'Is this happening?' They’re like, 'Yeah.'
Another moving scene involving Mulroney and Roberts is where they share the last dance together on a ferry ride after visiting the seafood restaurant. During the shooting, whilst going under many bridges, they were constantly interrupted by onlookers. Mulroney said, "We’re going under numerous bridges, so pretty much every bridge or maybe every other, somebody leans down and yells, 'Julia!' during the filming. We’d either pause or just blaze through like you do. Then, like the eighth trip down the river somebody yells, 'Hey, Dermot!' and I was like, 'Yes!' I look up and it’s, like, a friend from college, which didn’t really count. I go, 'Hi, John.'"
It was during the film's test screenings, that portions of the film had to be reshot. This was because the test audience didn't take kindly to Julianne finding love with a fellow wedding guest. With an additional $40 million at hand, Hogan decided to also reshoot the original bathroom scene between Roberts and Diaz. "Once I knew that the studio would pay [to reshoot] the last scene, I thought, 'There were a couple of other scenes I think sucked — we best do a better job.' The first bathroom scene just didn’t work at all. The way it originally played was Cameron’s character just forgave Julianne almost immediately. I remember on set, Cameron kept saying, 'I don’t know why I’m forgiving her, I just want to punch her. She almost ruined my life.'"
Everett added: When I read the [final scene] I couldn’t believe it. It’s beautiful. The whole end is so wonderful and tragic in a way. It’s very, very moving. And that’s another thing in the film: It’s a comedy, but it’s got things that are really, really touching and moving."
The yelp I just let out at this My Best Friend's Wedding reunion ... pic.twitter.com/1zsrruTvNg— Chris Hanna (@Chris_Hanna) February 7, 2019
My Best Friend’s Wedding opened on June 20, 1997, and raked in $127 million at the domestic box office.