Director Bill Holderman opens up about making Fifty Shades Of Grey inspired comedy Book Club
Even after the release of final Fifty Shades Of Grey movie Fifty Shades Freed, the legacy of the bestselling bonkbuster lives on.
Book Club stars Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as four friends who read Fifty Shades of Grey as part of their monthly book club. Initially sceptical, the four soon devour the book, but what they don't expect is the effect it will have on all their personal lives...
Andy García, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson and Richard Dreyfuss co-star in the movie, working for first-time writer-director Bill Holderman.
With the film now out on DVD, we spoke to Holderman about bringing this hit comedy to life...
When did you come with the idea for Book Club? Where did the inspiration come from?
"In 2012 when the Fifty Shades Trilogy had just come out, I heard what they were about and decided to send them to my mother for mother’s day. Erin (Simms, co-writer) and I were working together and she saw that I was fedexing these books and thought it was a crazy gift for a son to give his mother, but once we talked about it for a couple minutes she decided to send the books to her mother and stepmother as well."
"That led to a pretty fun conversation about our mothers reading these books and the next day, Erin came in and said what about a movie about women in their 60s in a book club who read 50 Shades of Grey. The rest is history..."
How did you decide who you would cast for the four leads? Was it an easy casting process?
"From the beginning, we wrote this specifically for Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda. We were such big fans of all of these actresses, and, for us, it was very fun to imagine them in these roles even in the early stages as we were trying to crack the story. We had worked with Mary Steenburgen on A Walk in the Woods and she was so great to work with, so funny, so charming, that we were thrilled to have the chance to work with her again. And as soon as the idea of Candice Bergen came up to play Sharon, we could think of no one else – she has the greatest dry delivery and what a gift to have these four together."
You shot the film on quite a tight budget, did that mean you had to make any difficult choices?
"Absolutely. As filmmakers, you always have to make difficult choices and educated compromises and this project was no different. But we had the greatest crew and Erin, myself and the cast were really on the same page throughout, so we were able to weather some of those financial storms together and keep focused on the movie we were making."
What was the most fun day on set?
"There were so many, there was something very special about the scenes where all four of our lead actresses were working together – but the entire cast was great and such a joy to work with – genuinely. I can honestly say from top to bottom this cast was amazing and I hope to work with any and all of them again as soon as possible. But maybe my favourite scene was when the women were dressing up Jane in her hotel room to run after Arthur. It was Diane Keaton’s first day and it just felt like we had something truly special happening right in front of us."
And what was the most challenging scene to shoot?
"The limited time and limited resources proved to be the biggest challenges. There were days where we had to race through a lot of pages and then there were the days where we had a little water work, whether that was Diane and Andy Garcia on a floating swan or Jane and Don Johnson in a fountain. Given our limited time, we had to be very strategic about when people would get their clothes wet. Once their clothes were dunked, the reset to shoot the scene again was quite a bit longer and we didn’t have much time."
EL James makes a small cameo in the film, was she involved in any other way in production? Did you have to run the idea for the film by her?
"She wrote the books that inspired the idea – and she’s been great throughout the process. She read the script and has been a great supporter of the movie; it was a lot of fun to have her and her husband do a sneaky little cameo – it’s a nice nod to all of her fans and to the global impact of her work."