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Friday, May 16, 2014

Frank Coraci back to directing "Blended"


Frank Coraci, director of Warner Bros. Pictures' new comedy “Blended,” knows the undeniable onscreen chemistry between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore well, having watched it develop while directing the pair in “The Wedding Singer.”

“They clicked immediately,” he recounts. “We were all very young and having a great time and I think so much of what worked on that movie came from how easily the two of them played off each other and could joke around and make each other laugh. On ‘Blended,’ they were better than ever. It’s their familiarity and comfort with each other that makes them comedically fearless. And because of their mutual respect and affection for one another, no matter how far they push their feisty banter, there is always an undertone of sweetness that comes through.”

“Blended” not only offered the two stars the chance to recreate their magic on screen but to expand their romantic repertoire as single parents Jim and Lauren, in a scenario that many people can relate to. While struggling to make a living and raise their kids as best they can, looking for love is a more complicated proposition than it once was, involving after-school schedules, babysitters, curfews and tough questions. Priorities have shifted. No longer a matter of just finding that one special person, it’s now about finding that one special person who will also be good for your children. Very often, it’s the dreams and desires of the adults that are the last item on the list.

The timing for Sandler and Barrymore was ideal, Coraci notes. “What’s different about the two of them this time, which was really appropriate for the story, is that, like their characters, Drew and Adam are both parents now, with all these added responsibilities. Whereas those earlier movies were more about first love and just starting out, this is about two people who never lost that capacity for fun and romance but have also experienced more of life, and they definitely brought that wisdom and perspective to the roles.”

Screenwriters Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera took the essence of that idea and instead of securing the relationship first and then trying to rally the offspring, took a different approach. “We thought it could be more interesting for two people to have a disastrous blind date and then be forced together with their kids to share a family vacation,” says Menchell. On top of that, “They take over this package from someone else, with all the things those other people had put into play, whether a romantic dinner or what the kids were going to do, so these two are now living someone else’s dream, which is their nightmare.”

Additionally, says Sera, “We wanted to have a place where they would be confined and couldn’t leave, so, once they both committed to the package, there was no way out.”

Placing the story in such an exotic and expansive setting also goes a long way toward dragging Jim and Lauren out of their daily routines and comfort zones—as well as, maybe, their assumptions about each other—and toward a rush of experiences they couldn’t have imagined having, let alone enjoying, weeks ago. Even if it’s because they have no choice.

“In some ways,” Coraci suggests, “Dating with kids isn’t essentially that much different than dating without kids. Either way, it often starts with the most important element of all: a sense of humor.”

Opening across the Philippines on June 11, “Blended” is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation of a Gulfstream Pictures/Happy Madison Production and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

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