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Ken Kwapis on License to Wed

Published July 6, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Warner Bros.
License to Wed Poster License to Wed
Office fans can look forward to not only Ken Kwapis directing a movie starring John Krasinski, but many other cameos from The Office as well. Kwapis directed the American pilot, and for his subsequent movie gig, cast many Office regulars in small parts.

Ken Kwapis on License to Wed


"The scene with Angela Kinsey and John and Bob Balaban in the jewelry store frankly had nothing in it," said Kwapis. "There was almost no scene at all but I just knew this would be a great springboard for something. The scene was about a quarter of a page long, but I knew once I had people like Angela and Balaban and John together."

The wedding comedy stars Robin Williams as Reverend Frank, a local church stable who has an outrageous relationship course for all his prospective couples. Ben (John Krasinski) and Sadie (Mandy Moore) nearly break up over the antics. Though the film is full of Robin Williams lunacy, there are some moments of gravity too.

"I’m actually really am happy with the scene toward the end of the second act in which they break up at their wedding rehearsal because it was a scene that needed to be very dramatic and it was a scene that we shot early on in the schedule for various reasons before the actors had really had a chance to live inside these characters for a long time so it scared the hell out of me. You’ve set up the goal before you get their organically so I’m just thrilled with the way it [turns out] and it’s a long scene."

That was not the only lengthy scene in the script. "One of the things about this script is that there were many, many scenes that were just two and three times as long as an average comedy scene and so a lot of the challenges for me was how to sustain and create variety within a scene that often lasted ten pages long. That scene was easily ten pages long. It’ was like, 'Wow, how do we keep this thing alive? How do we create?' And it’s a scene, by the way, ten pages long where people don’t move. They’re standing in one spot."



Long comedy scenes provided equal challenges. "The scene I’m really proud of is the scene around the [table] at Carlisle’s loft where they’re doing the word association game. Probably for the same reasons, the only way to play this is for people to be kind of stuck there and yet it’s a long scene and how do you kind of shape it so that it really sustains, builds, has variety within it. And again, with the parameters being there’s going to be eight people standing around a table and not moving."

Of course, already stealing the trailers and indeed the movie, are the robot babies Reverend Frank forces the couple to care for. "Here’s what happened. I said to the model maker, we were trying to decide how realistic they should look, and I made a comment kind of offhanded that I felt that all newborn babies looked like Edward G. Robinson. And I saw the model maker write a note to himself and then the next thing I knew they brought in these babies and in fact they looked like little Edward G. Robinsons to me. And they were so odd and I think at first some members of the producing team thought, 'I don’t know if this is going to scare people or not' but they are quite, quite remarkable."

The models even emit simulated bodily functions for the film. "That was a case where we said let’s find out once we’ve shot it because there are some things you don’t really know. I’m always surprised if I read something and say, 'Oh, that’s … We can’t do that.' And then audiences totally embrace it. That was a case where many things you know are right for this story, but in terms of comedy sometimes many things you can’t really be sure of until you see them in context and with an audience."

License to Wed is out in theaters now.

For stills, trailer and more movie info, head over to the License to Wed Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Warner Bros.
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