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Wedding Crashers: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Making Of The Movie

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

It’s hard to remember a time when Vince Vaugh and Owen Wilson weren’t a great comedy duo, or when Rachel McAdams, Bradley Cooper and Isla Fisher weren’t recognizable stars, but that was the case before 2005’s Wedding Crashers. Movie fans quickly grew to love the comedy, and as cast members recall many behind-the-scenes stories you can tell they have a strong love for it as well.

This is why rumors and anticipation persist about a long-awaited sequel for Wedding Crashers. An August report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Wedding Crashers 2 was listed among active projects by the Georgia Film Office, but we may have to pump the brakes. While there does appear to be interest among former cast members, Owen Wilson denied reports that they were planning to begin shooting in August to Variety in June.

But while all we can do is speculate about a potential sequel, we’ll always have the original Wedding Crashers. Here’s some fun behind-the-scenes facts you may not have known about the classic comedy.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Producer Andrew Panay Conceived The Idea From His Own Wedding Crasher Experience

Usually what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but not if what happens inspires a great comedy. In retrospectives for Wedding Crashers’ 15th anniversary in 2020, producer Andrew Panay told Variety and Mel Magazine how his own experiences put the idea of Wedding Crashers in his head.

While in Vegas with a friend, Panay said on their way to the pool they ended up in a wedding reception just for a few minutes, but the fun experience stuck with him. Add in the excitement that he , and Panay thought there was a movie there.

Eventually, he teamed up with screenwriters Steve Faber and Bob Fisher to write a script, with the duo adding some of their own experiences crashing lobbyist events when they were D.C. interns.

Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Isla Fisher Gave One Of The Wildest Auditions Ever

One of the three breakout stars of Wedding Crashers along with Cooper and McAdams, Isla Fisher’s biggest credits prior to 2005 were Shaggy’s love interest in Scooby-Doo and a supporting role in David O. Russell’s I Heart Huckabees. So unsurprisingly, she needed to audition for her role as Gloria Cleary.

Fisher recalled to Mel Magazine that many well-known actresses were also up for the role of Gloria, including Shannon Elizabeth and Anna Paquin. She made sure that she stood out among the competition though.

In the mentioned Mel Magazine article, casting director Lisa Beach said:

Isla Fisher was the funniest audition ever. She came into the room and did the scene where she puts the make on [Vaughn’s character] in the bathroom and suddenly just goes out of her mind. And Isla, dare I say, spread her legs, flopped me down on my back and was just crawling all over me.

Needless to say, she got the part, and we've been able to enjoy Isla Fisher movies ever since.

Christopher Walken in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones Were Considered For Sec. Cleary Role

Christopher Walken memorably plays the patriarch of the Cleary family in Wedding Crashers, Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary. But there were a handful of other big name actors that director David Dobkin was considering for the role.

Dobkin explained to Variety that he wanted an actor in the role of Sec. Cleary that would be intimidating to Vaugh and Wilson’s characters without ever having to actually threaten them. Options he considered were Gene Hackman, Tommy Lee Jones and, according to a conversation with The Ringer, Burt Reynolds.

Walken was Dobkins' clear number one choice though, and he reached out to him first. The Oscar-winning actor accepted.

Jane Seymour in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Jane Seymour Worried About What Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Fans Would Think Of Her Role

The other half of the Cleary parents is played by Jane Seymour in the film. In the early 2000s, Seymour’s most recent claim to fame was her role on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, for which she had been nominated for two Primetime Emmys. When she first read the script for Wedding Crashers, she was immediately worried about what fans of Dr. Quinn would think of her in the film.

Speaking at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2015:

It was straight after I had stopped doing Dr. Quinn and I thought, oh my gosh, this thing is out there but hysterically funny. The Dr. Quinn fans will go nuts when they see this, this is R-rated, they’re not going to be happy about this, there’s nothing family about this. So I closed it up and then I thought well we’re not doing Dr. Quinn anymore and this is really funny.

However, Seymour still had to audition for the role, something that she had rarely done in her career. But it was during her audition that she found one of her character’s most iconic moments. Seymour revealed to Entertainment Weekly that the hiss that she adds when she tells Wilson’s character to call her Kitty Cat was an in-the-moment decision and what she credits for landing her the role.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Opening Wedding Crashing Montage Took A Week To Film

Wedding Crashers starts off with an extended montage of Vaughn and Wilson’s characters having the time of their lives at a series of weddings they crash. It’s a fantastic sequence that gets the energy of the movie rolling right off the bat. David Dobkin knew how important the montage would be for the film and devoted a lot of time to filming it.

The shooting of the montage scenes was the first thing that was shot during production, and would be the only thing they would shoot for a week for a scene that was just one page worth of script. As Dobkin told Entertainment Weekly, everyone wondered why they spent so long on the sequence, including Vaughn, but he says they used just about everything they shot to make the most of the montage.

One way that they did make things a bit easier for the sequence’s production was creating multiple weddings on a single set. Shooting in a conference room, Dobkin said that they would do one side up as an Indian wedding reception and the other as a Jewish wedding reception. This strategy was used with "about half a dozen rooms" to film the receptions.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Vince Vaughn And Owen Wilson Came Up With Most Of The Wedding Crashers Rules

Among the more memorable parts of Wedding Crashers is the list of rules Vaughn and Wilson’s characters cite throughout the film (I’ll cop to having a poster of the rules in my dorm room). However, these rules were not passed down by Chazz Reinhold or even the screenwriters.

In the 15th anniversary retrospectives in Variety and Mel Magazine, Dobkin, Vaughn and Wilson all say they actively worked together to get the script, written by Steve Faber and Bob Fishers, into its final form. In a separate interview with IGN, the two stars revealed that included most of the rules for crashing weddings.

According to the stars, there were only about two rules mentioned in the original script, but whenever they would work on a scene with some improvisation they would often create new rules to go along with their rants.

As far as abiding by the rules, Wilson says he always tries to stick to rule no. 17 when he’s at a wedding: “Blend in by sticking out.”

Vince Vaughn, Christopher Walken and Bradley Cooper in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Dobkin And His Editors Referred To NFL Broadcasts For Editing The Football Scene

Despite the audibles called by Vaughn’s Jeremy and the intensity that Bradley Cooper’s Sack brings to the game, the touch football sequence is far from an NFL game, but that didn’t stop Dobkin and his editors from treating it like one.

In an examination of the scene by The Ringer, Dobkin explained that when he was a film student at New York University a professor told him if you want to see how to edit a great scene, watch the NFL. The professor believed there were few better at knowing when to insert a cut and what emotion to go for in a particular moment.

Dobkin took the lesson and applied it almost literally for the touch football game. He said:

It’s always really guided me. I had that in mind when I went to go shoot this scene, because there are so many points of views, so many characters and so much movement.

Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Chazz Reinhold Was Not Originally In The Script

Another instance of Dobkin, Vaughn and Wilson's collaboration paid off with one of the best movie cameos ever.

Chazz Reinhold, the man who invented the rules of wedding crashing, is mentioned in an early scene, but in the original script his character does not appear. As told to Entertainment Weekly, Wilson thought it would be funny if at some point they crash a funeral, then Dobkin thought it could be a perfect opportunity to introduce the Chazz character in the flesh while Wilson’s John is at rock bottom. Wilson ran with it and wrote the scene.

Filming the scene was a bit more difficult. Everyone wanted to have Will Ferrell play the part, but up until midnight before they shot the scene, according to Dobkin, they still were trying to get a commitment from Ferrell (Nicolas Cage was plan B). The former Saturday Night Live star did ultimately arrive on set to play the role, but they only had him for one day. It was a rapid process, but it turned into comedy gold.

Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Wedding Crashers Shut Down D.C.’s Constitution Ave. During Rush Hour For Final Shots

As John and Jeremy ride off with Claire and Gloria, Dobkin and crew were able to pull off an incredible shot of the Washington Monument as the final image that both symbolizes a point of growth for the characters from earlier in the film when they watched the sunrise over the monument and as well as a bit of immature humor with a phallic-looking building. It’s a great shot, but required a lot of logistics to make it work.

Dobkin told The USA Today that they had more than 40 cop cars on set that day to shut down traffic along Constitution Ave. in D.C. during rush hour (as a D.C.-area native, I can assure you this certainly caused a lot of headaches for the production and daily commuters). Dobkin called it a total mess as they worked to get in four takes of the final shot.

Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Wedding Crashers Was The First R-Rated Comedy To Break $200M At The Domestic Box-Office

Nowadays it seems like every big comedy is R-rated. But before films like The Hangover, Deadpool or Judd Apatow’s biggest films made bank at the box-office, R-rate comedies weren’t guaranteed successes. In fact, Wedding Crashers was the first R-rated straight comedy to crack $200 million at the U.S. box-office (action-comedy Beverly Hills Cop did gross $234 million).

Wedding Crashers would hold that top spot for highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all-time for just four years until The Hangover topped it in 2009, per IMDb’s Box Office Mojo.

We may be getting a Wedding Crashers sequel in the future, but until then you can watch the original Wedding Crashers for free via the Peacock streaming service, or with subscriptions to Hulu or HBO Max.

Michael Balderston

D.C.-based cinephile. Will dabble in just about any movie genre, but passionate about discovering classic films/film history and tracking the Oscar race.