Doing The Holidays Like A Mother
Cast: Susan Sarandon, Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell
Directors: Jon Lucas, Scott Moore
Running Time: 104 minutes
Synopsis: Amy, Carla and Kiki struggle to cope when their respective mothers visit for the holidays.
Bad Moms 2
Release Date: November 2nd, 2017
About The Production
WTAF Just Happened?
Something happened after the release of Bad Moms in the Summer of 2016. A Bad Moms movement was unleashed. Something we couldn't quite put our chipped finger nails on. The filmmakers felt confident that they had made a hilarious film, but were bowled over to see it go on to gross north of $180 million dollars worldwide. Gangs of moms of all generations hit the theatres to see Bad Moms and enjoy a night out on the town with their besties; free from responsibility and ready to party.
Whether your bottle of choice for these outings contained wine or nail polish, it was clear that there was safety in numbers. Moms needed other moms to get them through the day. The monotony of responsibilities of helming the home was tiresome and mamas everywhere needed to take a break and check out now and then. A camaraderie was forming among moms of all ages no matter what their situation, with Bad Moms as the catalyst for change. The film reverberated with moms around the globe and became a part of the zeitgeist, and a group of women banded together and a Bad Moms movement was unleashed.
What Bad Moms leading ladies Amy (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) represented was freedom. Freedom to fuck up. Freedom to do the best you can and still fuck up. It was a relief to see the honesty of being a mom portrayed on the big screen with Bad Moms, and now Bad Moms 2 is here to bring that same real mom spirit to the holidays. Bad Moms 2, reunites the dynamic team of Bad Moms: Writers/Directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, and Producer Suzanne Todd.
Returning as the stars of Bad Moms 2 are the triple threat cast of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as Amy, Kiki and Carla. This time around, our bad moms receive a holiday visit from their own mothers, in roles portrayed by Cheryl Hines (Kiki's mom), Christine Baranski (Amy's mom), and Susan Sarandon (Carla's mom).
Also starring are returning cast members Jay Hernandez, Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony and Wanda Sykes, alongside newcomers Peter Gallagher and Justin Hartley, who join these two generations of moms in the chaos of the holiday season.
Also returning members of the Bad Moms creative team: Director of Photography Mitchell Amundsen, Production Designer Marcia Hinds, Editor James Thomas, Costume Designer Julia Caston, and Composer Christopher Lennertz.
Bad Moms 2 follows our three underappreciated and overburdened moms as they rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. As if creating a more perfect holiday for their families wasn't hard enough, the moms have to juggle creating Christmas cheer while simultaneously hosting and entertaining their own mothers. By the end of the journey, Amy, Carla and Kiki will redefine how to make the holidays special for all and discover a closer relationship with their mothers.
Keep Calm And Jingle On
Writer/Directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and Producer Suzanne Todd sensed audiences wanted more of this titillating trifecta of women after the release of Bad Moms. Of diving into the sequel, Scott Moore says 'In the first movie the idea is -I love being a mom but sometimes its too much and it drives me crazy'. When we started looking at what to do with the sequel and started talking about Christmas, that felt very similar. It's like you don't hate Christmas, everybody likes Christmas, but sometimes it just gets to be too much."
Says Jon Lucas, 'Once we came across the Christmas idea, it was too big to ignore. Any time you have family together that you don't see very often, or that you don't want to see, and there's too much money and too much booze… it's all combustible and fodder for comedy."
The Jon Lucas and Scott Moore filmmaker duo have written their share of other Christmas movies such as Office Christmas Party and Four Christmases. Explaining their love"and semi-hate"relationship with Christmas, Jon Lucas says, 'We love it, we adore it, we love that time of year – at the same time we hate it, we are overwhelmed. This film is a new look at Christmas and everything moms endure for their families during the holidays."
Says Suzanne Todd, 'This idea, which I have certainly bought into as a mom, and assuming other people have too, is that it is sort of never enough. Not the right lunch for your kid, or in this case not the right Christmas present. This attitude is really not helping us, and not helping our children."
Adds Suzanne Todd, 'Like the first movie, the idea of Bad Moms 2 is to tear down some of these personal, societal, and cultural norms of both torturing ourselves for not being good enough moms and allowing other people to put us in a place of self doubt about how we mother our children. We want to express that it's okay to be yourself and not worry about the noise of Christmas cards, and dinner, and all the rest of it. At the end of the day, it's about enjoying the holidays more and stressing less. "
Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
So what about Christmas could audiences all relate to and laugh at as well? What really pushes someone's buttons at holiday time? There is one answer and one answer only. Your mom. Says Scott Moore, 'We knew we would have a fun lively movie again with the fantastic combo of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn, but we also wanted to have a subject that we felt interesting, and that is when we upped the ante by adding the mom's moms in this movie."
Suzanne Todd was pleased with the writers' direction, 'This films opens up a lot of new territory of dealing with the holidays, and how these grown up mother/daughter relationships evolve."
Adds Jon Lucas, 'The idea of Christmas is a classic example of something that is really fun but for some reason through society or whatever, we are told not to enjoy it. If you cut all that away it is really a wonderful time of year - your family is around and everyone is giving each other presents, but somehow we have sucked the joy out of it by making it so stressful." Scott Moore picks up where his partner left off, 'Also, in the mother daughter relationship if you get caught in -she did this' or -she was telling me to do that,' you could pick apart that relationship all day or you can just enjoy it a little more."
When I Think About You I Touch My Elf
A year later we find our original Bad Moms Amy, Kiki, and Carla in the throws of the Christmas season.
Mila Kunis once again plays the lovable and vivacious Amy, doing her best to keep it together at the holidays with the normal chaos of decorating, baking, tree trimming, buying and wrapping presents. Further complicating things, this Christmas she and her new(ish) boyfriend Jessie (Jay Hernandez) are blending their families, and Amy is determined to make the holidays a hit at any cost.
Says Mila Kunis, 'I think it took a minute for the men to go it's okay for them to see the movie. And when they did, they got it. Moms need to decompress. Moms are still women. Women who need to have a life outside of being a mom for their own sanity."
Kathryn Hahn returns as Carla, a single working mom whose nail art matches her mood. She is ready for a good time at a moment's notice…just make her a proposition. You never know what is going to come out of her mouth. Says Kathryn Hahn, 'Bad Moms struck a chord with a huge audience that was waiting to have a cathartic release watching a bunch of moms let loose on camera. In this film, you add to that the most complicated of all love stories which is between a mother and daughter."
Kristen Bell returns as Kiki. Four small children are enough to drive any mom crazy, and Kiki is no exception. Kiki is doing her best to find a balance between her child-rearing and spending 'special" time with her husband. Says Kristen Bell, 'Audiences can all relate to motherhood in some way. You either know a mom, are a mom, or have a mom. It's a universal theme and the stress of motherhood particularly in this day and age is a lot."
Three French Hens
On why their threesome has resonated with audiences worldwide Kathryn Hahn states,' I had never met Mila Kunis or Kristen Bell before Bad Moms. The only way I can describe it is that it is effortless. We each bring something to the band." Bell continues on why the relationship works, 'Kathryn Hahn, Mila Kunis and I are friends in real life, and we feel very safe with each other and are willing to try anything on screen."
Mila Kunis agrees, 'We all find ourselves talking about our kids. We share stories on set of what we did with our kids, comparing notes, and that's always a bonding moment."
Todd beams when she talks about her leading ladies, 'I think we lucked out with the magic between the three of them. They're all moms of little kids; they're all young moms themselves, and they love each other. I think that came through onscreen, how truly supportive they are and how genuine their friendship is."
Mila Kunis relates, 'These movies have so much empathy towards the women in the world, whether you are a working mom, a stay at home mom, or a struggling mom that has it all. These movies allow you to realise you are not alone."
Kathryn Hahn concludes, 'Christmas is such a perfect time of the year for this movie to happen as so many women are out there making magic."
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Cocktails
The filmmakers talked a lot with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn about casting their moms because they wanted their moms to share the same prototypes of each of their own personalities. Kristen Bell enjoyed the process, 'By introducing our mothers you see why we are who we are. And I think your parents can push your buttons because they installed your buttons."
Says Suzanne Todd, 'Amy's mom is very overbearing, Kiki's mom has no boundaries, and Carla's mom is pretty much the explanation for the way she is. We talked directly to our leading ladies about what actresses they thought may be a good fit to be their mom on this A Bad Moms 2 journey."
The filmmakers intentionally wanted moms from different generations, and mother-daughter relationships that had different age gaps. This gave the filmmakers an opportunity to choose from the best actresses in Hollywood. Suzanne Todd couldn't be happier and claims they hit the casting lottery, 'The nice thing for us is we had so many great actresses that wanted to be involved with Bad Moms 2, as they had seen Bad Moms and loved the message - stress less and enjoy motherhood more. When we started talking about who would actually play the roles, it was even more exciting because there are so many actresses in that age group and category and we felt like we had a wealth to pick from."
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh (Or, The Three Wise Women)
Christine Baranski plays Amy's mom, Ruth, a stickler and perfectionist who loves Christmastime and considers the holidays a competitive sport. Like everything else she does, she tackles the yuletide spirit with 100% enthusiasm, conviction, and intensity. Ruth's overbearing ways often overshadow her softer qualities, but at the core she loves and is proud of Amy. Ruth and her husband Hank, played by Peter Gallagher, have come from Palm Beach to be in Chicago with their daughter and grandkids for Christmas.
Says Suzanne Todd, 'If what you saw in the first movie is that Amy is a perfectionist, then Ruth is a super perfectionist. You'll see the origins of how that began, and how you grow into that role, and how the torture of that is a learned behavior."
Says Christine Baranski, 'There is nothing more real than a family in terms of relationships, and there is no richer terrain for comedy than with mothers and daughters."
About Mila Kunis, Christine Baranski says 'Mila Kunis is just the most easygoing young actress I have ever met. I mean she's unflappable."
The admiration is mutual as Mila Kunis says of Christine Baranski, 'I have yet to find a weakness in her. That woman is an animal. She's killer on the trampoline, and an incredible actress and more physically fit than any one of us. She's just so game for it all. I really admire her."
Cheryl Hines plays Sandy, Kiki's mom. Says Suzanne Todd, 'Kiki and her mom are a different story. Kiki's mom has lost her husband and since she became widowed has not really found her way. Sandy focuses all her love and adoration on Kiki, but hasn't been able to maintain healthy boundaries in doing that. She's clingy and overbearing. Kiki and her mother are at a crossroads in their lives when they have to endure a new conflict together to find new ground."
'Sandy can be a tad smothering,' says Cheryl Hines. 'But she and Kiki are cut from the same cloth, as they are very sweet, well-intentioned people. So it's hard for Kiki to tell her mom to stop her behavior."
About Kristen Bell, Cheryl Hines says, 'Kristen Bell is very intuitive. She has great comedic timing and doesn't break no matter how funny things get on set, and she always comes from a truthful place." Kristen Bell loved being reunited with Hines, 'I've known Cheryl for over ten years, and to be paired with her made me so excited as she is a super funny, outgoing lady. Sandy and Kiki are much closer in age than the other moms, as Sandy had Kiki when she was eighteen. Sandy can't loosen her grip on Kiki, so Kiki finally has to put her foot down and say that she needs space."
Susan Sarandon plays Isis, Carla's mom. Isis is a carefree stoner spirit like her daughter…and then some. Passing a joint or sharing high heeled boots, whatever the circumstance... the apple bong doesn't fall far from the tree with this mother-daughter pair.
Kathryn Hahn and a little help from email brought Susan Sarandon on board. The filmmakers and Kathryn Hahn both really wanted Susan Sarandon to play Isis but weren't sure she was available. Says Sarandon, 'Kathryn Hahn actually wrote me a letter that came with the offer and I'm a big fan of hers… I think she's enormously talented, big-hearted and brave as hell."
Kathryn Hahn wrote her an email stating, 'My ovaries really need you in this movie. I feel it." Jon Lucas says, 'And Susan Sarandon wrote an email back saying, -Who am I to argue with your ovaries?' Which is the greatest acceptance letter of all time."
Says Suzanne Todd, 'With Carla you get to see what her mother was like and understand what kind of environment she grew up in and why she makes the choices she makes. In the first film we see Carla really evolve by the end of the movie, and turn into a better mom. In this film you see the exploration of that as Carla changes, so does the relationship with her mom."
On Susan Sarandon playing her mother, or acting more like her sister in the film, Kathryn Hahn had to stop in her tracks often and pinch herself that it was really happening. 'I cannot believe I am in the same frame with Louise as in Thelma and Louise or from Bull Durham, or Dead Man Walking. Susan Sarandon is just so game and hilarious and just jumped into this madness with both feet. She is delicious."
'My character certainly doesn't suffer with trying to be perfect. She would be the one Antichrist in this narrative… It was hard because I think she has to be really unaware otherwise she's just despicable, so how do you make someone really unaware without making them an idiot? I think because she wasn't raised herself, she just has no clue and she had Carla very young. They kind of grew up together. She doesn't judge other people. She has adjusted to the problems of her life and to the fact that she has so little and such little stability. It is just that she's decided to be happy about it."
Says Jon Lucas, 'Its been really fun getting new blood in this film. I've never worked with Cheryl Hines, Christine Baranski, or Susan Sarandon before, but between all of them their experience with R-rated comedies has made it fun and unpredictable."
Round Young Virgin, Mother And Child (Who Are We Kidding?)
As Facebook says -it's complicated,' and Suzanne Todd agrees, 'Your relationship with your mother is always evolving. In the film this is a moment when Amy and her mom have to take a look at their relationship and decide how it is going to change based on the conflict. And it is so fitting that all our moms cast, and all our mom's moms cast, have daughters themselves in their real lives."
Says Scott Moore, 'There is no way your child is going to parent the same way you did, so there is friction. When your child parents differently than the way you did, you can't help but feel judged."
Continues Scott Moore, 'As a parent, whether you are a mom or a dad, there is this point when your kids become adults and you go from having a parent/child relationship to being peers, and we found that dynamic really interesting."
The moms' moms had palpable chemistry from day one on set. Says Hines, 'The three moms' moms characters shared the realization that we have to figure out our own lives, that we can't just hope our daughters are going to put up with our shit, though it would be more fun for us if they did."
Inquiring minds want to know if Jon Lucas and Scott Moore ever based their Bad Moms characters on their own real life family members. Says Jon Lucas, 'We've seen certain patterns in other family relationships that we stole from, but the mom's moms are a pretty eclectic bunch, so I would never want to say they resemble anyone in our family. These are more things we have observed."
Says Scott Moore, 'We have heard that a lot of people were shocked that Bad Moms was written by two men, we like to think that -yes, we wrote it,' but a lot of it came from listening to our wives. We were less creating it than being documentary filmmakers." Lucas laughs, 'And that's as close as we are ever going to get to documentary filmmaking."
Lords A Leaping
Returning for Bad Moms 2 is Amy's boyfriend Jessie, played by Jay Hernandez. Jessie and Amy are further along in their relationship and spending Christmas as a blended family. Jessie however isn't prepared for Amy's mom's antics as the most wonderful time of the year escalates to chaos.
Jay Hernandez had many moments on the set when the dialogue would ring true. 'I kept looking over my shoulder wondering how did Jon Lucas and Scott Moore know that my own mother has said that same thing to me?" Continues Jay Hernandez, 'Real life mothers put their genetic imprint on their daughters. You can't avoid it, whether you like it or not."
Jay Hernandez gives credit to the all the moms out there who are raising their kids. 'They have a lot on their plate, and sometimes they just have to cut loose like in the first film and now in Bad Moms 2. It was a good reminder to everybody, including myself."
Peter Gallagher joins the cast as Hank, Amy's father and Ruth's husband. Peter Gallagher and Christine Baranski are old friends, as they starred together over thirty years ago in the Broadway hit The Real Thing, and many years later when Peter Gallagher had a role on 'The Good Wife." 'Ruth has control issues," says Peter Gallagher. 'She wears the pants in the family and sometimes she lets Hank wear the pants, but mostly he is wearing shorts." Adds Peter Gallagher, 'It's great to be a dad in Bad Moms 2 because sometimes you have to stand in the background and just watch. Jay Hernandez and I are perfectly happy to take a back seat to this extraordinarily funny female cast. For every mother or daughter who feels like their experience hasn't been recognized, this is your movie. You'll be howling."
North Pole Dancer
As fireman-moonlighting-as-seasonal-exotic-dancer Ty Swindell, Justin Hartley (-This Is Us') confesses shaking his moneymaker doesn't come naturally. 'People are afraid of heights or public speaking, I'm afraid of dancing. Taking on this role was fun and so different for me as -This Is Us' is on the serious side."
When the writers were asked if the idea was autobiographical Jon Lucas said, 'Well Scott Moore and I have done a lot of Sexy Santa competitions. We've never middled or even placed, we're usually dead last."
Christine Baranski was a bit smitten with Justin Hartley, 'He is so yummy and gifted. He obviously does a skilled sexy dance, but what really impressed me was how sweet he was." Christine Hines blushes, 'Justin was really great. He was the only one dancing, and the only one taking his clothes off while everyone watches. But he was really good at what he did. No complaints here."
Even Suzanne Todd who has worked with Hollywood's most talented and handsome men gets tongue tied, 'Justin Hartley is in this movie? Really? Is Justin Hartley naked in this movie? Oh wait, I think Justin Hartley is naked in this movie."
Justin Hartley was honored and so excited to get the call to be involved with this film. 'I just love the concept of this female led comedy about women and how mothers are so busy they literally don't have any time to take care of themselves, and instead do everything for their kids and spouses. They are the center of the universe, and deserve every bit of recognition they get."
…..Things Are Glistening
Justin Hartley's first day of work on the set of Bad Moms 2 found him in hot wax (literally) opposite cosmetician Carla, played by Kathryn Hahn.
Says Justin Hartley, 'There are days when you show up to work and you have to take your clothes off. I will probably never get the opportunity to do something this crazy again. Kathryn was so much fun to ad lib with. At one point they had to cool off the cameras because we were running and riffing too long."
Says Kathryn Hahn, 'Justin Hartley showed up on the set where everyone already has a short hand from the first movie and he just stole it. We really had a ball." Kathyrn Hahn likes puns.
We Wish You A Merry Kid-Mas
Actors Emjay Anthony and Oona Laurence return as Amy's kids Dylan and Jane in Bad Moms 2.
Though Emjay Anthony and Oona Laurence themselves are too young to see the R-rated comedy, they had a great time on the set joining in on the humor with the crazy talented cast of moms and mom's moms. Says Emjay Anthony, 'I watch what the cast does. They keep adding funny things, and sometimes dirty things to each take. It's hilarious every day." Adds Oona Laurence, 'I'm intimidated to be among all these stars. It's really cool. They are having the best time, and it feels like a dream."
Also returning to the franchise is Cade Cooksey as Jaxon, Carla's son, and says his movie mom is the opposite of his real life mom. 'Carla is so unpredictable. It's hilarious but not very stable. It's hard to not laugh during takes."
Ariana Greenblatt (Disney Channel's 'Stuck In the Middle") joins the cast as Lori, daughter to Jessie. She enjoys hanging out with Oona Laurence and Emjay Anthony, 'We have dinner together all the time, and it's like they are my real brother and sister."
Eat, Drink, and Go To Therapy
Wanda Sykes returns to the world of Bad Moms again as the impatient therapist Dr. Karl. This time in her chair seeking counseling is Kiki and her mother Sandy, as Dr. Karl tries to navigate and solve their all too familiar dysfunctional relationship with her own untraditional methods. Says Wanda Sykes, 'Your mom is the closest person to you. But at the same time you always hurt the one who's closest to you." Dr. Karl is a unique therapist in her approach. Dr. Karl tells it like it is.
Says Wanda Sykes, 'Dr. Karl is gonna tell you what's wrong with you, and then send you on your way. I don't even know how she stays in business. She thinks Kiki and Sandy are bat shit crazy." Wanda Sykes is clear on what it takes for moms to survive Christmas, 'Lots of alcohol. Spike the egg nog."
Rudolph The Deranged Deer
The filmmakers were surprised at how much the cast of Bad Moms 2 pushed the envelope of this R-rated comedy. 'They would do anything," says Moore. Continues Jon Lucas, 'Women in these kinds of R-rated comedies often are just standing there saying -tisk, tisk, tisk' while the men are having all of the fun, and now these women have changed that."
Says Scott Moore, 'In our movies the guys are the ones saying the right things and making the right choices, and the girls can be the ones who say the horrible things and get to behave like animals.
For our cast I have to believe it is kind of fun."
Scott Moore and Jon Lucas confess that it is always fun writing Carla. Says Scott Moore 'Just take everything you are not allowed to say everyday and write it down in CAPS." Continues Jon Lucas," The best stuff is when our amazing moms and mom's moms take it, tweak it, and make it organically their own. Certain actors love going by book, others like to improvise. It's sort of like parenting, you are trying to give people what they need."
Says Scott Moore, 'I think at the end of the day women are as raunchy as men they just don't express it as much. In Bad Moms the pink hoodie scene discussed in the bathroom was pitched by Suzanne Todd's deranged mind, and not from our deranged minds."
Jon Lucas and Scott Moore give a shout out to their wives who they say read everything they write, and also their collaborator, producer Suzanne Todd, who on the set is a great sounding board for what works for the Bad Moms fans.
Say Jon Lucas, 'There are a couple of big beats with a stripper in the film that we had an idea that we thought would be funny for the scene, then Suzanne Todd said -actually let's make him smoking hot.' Suzanne Todd said, -when he takes his shirt off, the audience wants the real deal.'" Laughs Suzanne Todd, 'Yes! Give us our moment. The audience shouldn't be laughing they should be saying -oh yeah.'"
Concludes Jon Lucas, 'The people who liked the first film want and expect a sort of R-rated comedy from this film too, and we are going to give it to them and then some."
Do You Wear What I Wear
Costume Designer, Julia Caston once again joins the Bad Moms team for Bad Moms 2. Caston wanted to make Bad Moms Amy relatable to every woman and mom. 'I used very simple lines and silhouettes on Amy, nothing to confuse the eye," says Julia Caston.
On Kiki, Julia Caston summed up Kiki's style as outdated, disheveled, and last on her to-do list. 'In the beginning of Bad Moms Kiki didn't have any time for herself, but that changed. So in this movie I have given her a bit more style, rather than an uptight kind of mess. She's very pink in this one, and also a whole lot of mint going on with her wardrobe palette."
Add Kristen Bell, 'Kiki still loves a good wool sweater, but I am wearing a little more eye makeup in this movie thanks to Carla."
Dressing Carla continues to be a hoot. 'She only wears heels, and always accessorises," says Julia Caston. 'Katherine Hahn is game for anything. We took her into a room where we pulled outfits we thought Carla would wear and went for it. Carla is that alter ego inside all of use that just wants to have fun and walk down the street and be like -look at me!'.
Katherine Hahn loved the choices Julia Caston gave her character, 'Carla has a real sense of style that is individual and authentic. When something speaks to her, she's just going to wear it. You can't stop her."
Julia Caston was surprised at how many random emails she received from Bad Moms fans all over the world after the release of the first film. Fans would say how they could relate to what each of the Bad Moms was wearing, and thanked Julia Caston for her efforts. But what surprised her the most was that Carla's outfits had their own fan base and she received suggestions and pointers and where to find more Carla-esque outfits. 'It's really nice to hear that these individual characters looks ring true with different types of women from Israel to Alaska to Asia."
When Julia Caston heard the casting of the mom's mom of Baranski/Hines/Sarandon, she was super excited to create their individual onscreen looks. Says Julia Caston, 'For Isis/Susan Sarandon, I really wanted to give her a salt of the earth and gypsy traveler sort of feel. We repeat a lot of her clothes, and they are all very worn." And leather, a lot of leather. Julia Caston sourced pieces that reflected where Isis may have been. Morocco, Santa Fe, a circus, or maybe just on the road.
Says Julia Caston, 'Isis is a little bohemia, a little hippie, a little rocker all rolled up into awesomeness." As Julia Caston and her team came up with a look for Sandy/Cheryl Hines, it was clear the apple didn't fall far from the tree. 'There is no way not to notice that Sandy and Kiki share a lack of fashion sense. Comfort and practicality wins over style. And that Kiki-faced sweatshirt that Sandy wears is the icing on the cake." Julia Caston collected old childhood photos from Kristen Bell's real life mom to get the right shot to grace the front of the Kiki faced sweatshirt Sandy wears upon her arrival for Christmas.
Christine Baranski as Ruth was a costume designer's dream. 'Ruth comes to Chicago by way of Palm Beach. When you first see her she is a bit icy, like the evil queen. Then she switches to an over the top red dress at an otherwise icy-blue Christmas party. You get the impression this perfectionist is dressed to the nines no matter what the occasion." Ruth's cashmere and coats confirm that she has only the finest taste in clothes. Christine Baranski comments on her chic outfit, complete with fur collar, 'I'm Christmas Barbie in this movie."
Dressing extras for Christmas in May and June could be tough for the tireless wardrobe department. But Julia Caston, who has been called a hoarder, had over a hundred Christmas sweaters in her own possession along with dozens of pairs of Christmas pajamas. Says Julia Caston, 'We didn't just stick to a red, green, and gold for the wardrobe in the film. Jon and Scott wanted things to feel more realistic and not box us in with the usual Christmas palette. This gave us a lot of freedom."
The character of Ruth also initiates a caroling outing with her family, in which all have to dress up in costume as Dickensian characters. Julia Caston had fun creating for this scene from the choir's red robes, to the chimney sweep costume all the way to a hunchback costume.
In this caroling scene as various doors in the neighborhood are opened to the carolers, you may notice some familiar faces of filmmakers and crew making cameos including director Scott Moore and his real life wife and children, and also director of photography Mitchell Amundsen and his wife.
Julia Caston recalls having the pleasure of creating looks for the sexy Santa contest scene featuring eight male strippers, and specifically a costume for Ty Swindel, fireman by day, and stripper extraordinaire by night.
Says Julia Caston, 'Each of the gorgeous men had a full Santa suit, complete with hat, boots, and a huge belt, along with a version of a hot sexy g-string or sexy underpants underneath. You walk the line in these type of costume fittings, you don't want to be garish, but want to make it fun."
Baby It's Cold? Outside
Bad Moms 2 takes place in Chicago in the heart of winter. So when the filmmakers thought where can we shoot a Christmas movie with tons of snow and heavy parkas? What better place than Atlanta in the late Spring/Summer!
Atlanta was home to Bad Moms 2. Production began in early May 2017 and for two months the cast and crew parked themselves in interiors and exteriors all over the city. There was no stage work in the film. Only real locations were used.
The interior of Amy's house was on Mell Avenue, and the exterior of Amy's house on McClendon Avenue, both in the charming and friendly Atlanta suburb of Candler Park.
Says Baranski about enduring the heat in her winter wardrobe, 'We were filming a scene on a front lawn in Candler Park that was decked out in fake snow, and I was in fur and woolen gloves pretending that it's cold. It was hilarious."
Kiki's house took the cast and crew to Decatur, Georgia where Heatherwood Drive neighbors welcomed the production with open arms. Meehan's Irish Bar in downtown Atlanta became bustling during daylight hours on a weekend and doubled for the Strip Club scene.
The beautiful historic All Saints Episcopal Church, built in 1901, in midtown Atlanta became the back drop as we approached the end of the film when all three mom's moms gathered in the pews to reflect bluntly on their relationships with their daughters.
Sky Zone in Newnan, Georgia was closed for three days to the public as Bad Moms 2 cast and crew and a few hundred extras took over the trampolines and played dodge ball to film a key sequence. The entire cast worked in these scenes, and enjoyed getting physical with one another with somersaults and pugil sticks.
Jon Lucas warns about the perils of trampoline parks, 'Don't do flips, by the way, if you are over the age of like fourteen, you can't do a flip. You're going to die. But those places are really fun, and it's fun to see grown ups who are all very professional instantly turn into children again the minute they walk through the door."
Harry Brooks Drive in Adams Crossing, Georgia became the exterior of Amy's street, complete with twelve house exteriors all decorated to the tee as a snowy Christmas. This is the set location where Amy and her family venture out to go caroling at Ruth's urging. In this very friendly neighborhood, local neighborhood moms enjoyed cocktails and wine in the streets during filming in the Bad Moms spirit, as their kids held up signs for the cast and crew that said 'Merry Xmas Bad Moms."
Carla's house interior and exterior was shot in Smyrna, Georgia on Lake Court SE as Susan Sarandon as Isis pulls up in a semi to visit her daughter, Carla for the holidays.
Ty Swindel gets an intimate waxing from Carla inside the fictitious Okole Spa, which in reality was the posh Mandarin Oriental Spa in Buckhead, who graciously welcomed in the cast and crew after hours to shoot.
Habitat For Humanity Restore in Reynoldstown became the grocery store where Carla and Isis renew their bond, and Oglethorpe University set the stage for the PTA scene where our three moms make gingerbread houses.
I Saw Mommy $%#*&*Ing Santa Claus
In the mall sequence in the film, our three original moms have a tad too much to drink at the food court and decide to take back Christmas.
This sequence took three nights to shoot and shot at three different malls in Atlanta, first at Phipps Plaza, then at Lenox Mall, and finishing up at Cumberland Mall.
Phipps Plaza Mall was chosen for its beautiful grand veranda and winding staircase. Production Designer Marcia Hinds worked with the team at Phipps and borrowed a few of their internal 30 foot to 40 foot Christmas trees. The 40 foot Christmas tree was the largest artificial Christmas tree used in the film. Storefronts and store windows at the high end Phipps Plaza Mall were decorated with Christmas décor as the Mall continued to stay open to the public.
Many patrons passing by were confused as to why this portion of the Phipps Mall was decked out for Christmas. But they went with the flow, many of them taking photos with one another in front of the large decorated trees to be used as their upcoming Christmas card.
Also shot in the wee hours of the night at Phipps Plaza was the Santa Lap dance with Amy, Kiki and Carla getting untraditional on Santa's lap.
Says Kristen Bell, 'We shot this scene at two in the morning and it was the the last shot after a really long work day. Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, and I were all wondering if we were crossing the line as we got our freak on, but honestly I don't think this is the first time Santa had a lap dance." After Phipps Plaza Mall, the crew moved to shoot at Lenox Mall. Lenox gave production the support of Williams-Sonoma where the threesome spikes the cider samples, and also Lady Foot Locker, from where the ladies 'borrow" a silver Christmas tree laden with footwear ornaments that becomes Amy's tree at home.
Cumberland Mall was all about shooting the Food Court after hours, where the indulgence of the three ladies is what gets them into trouble in the first place.
More than a thousand extras, described as everything from shoppers to elf helpers, were used over the course of the three days of shooting the Mall sequence. All extras came to work wearing their winter wardrobe, and then production topped it off with some hats, scarves, and shopping bags accessories.
Kiss Me Under The Cameltoe
Christine Hinds was thrilled to get the call to continue her collaboration with Jon Lucas and Scott Moore on Bad Moms 2 the wild ride they shared on Bad Moms.
Shooting a Christmas movie set in Chicago, but actually filming in Atlanta in the spring and summer would have its challenges. The art department work trucks on set were spewing with stockings, ornaments, Christmas lights, shopping bags, wreaths, wrapped presents, and garland. Everything you needed to celebrate Christmas right then and there.
At Amy's house interior, Hinds created three different looks for Christmas, redressing the set inside this practical house location several times in the middle of production shooting. The first being Amy's vision for Christmas before her mom, Ruth, arrives, the second being Ruth's vision of Christmas, and the third being the mixture of the mom and daughter décor.
Says Hinds, 'Amy's Christmas palette is warm, and green, and natural while her mothers is a blanket of frozen, silver, chilly, blue sparkle, and whites that is completely over the top. And then when they do Christmas together it is a little more natural and homemade. Ruth of course thinks her décor is elegant, and even comments that her Christmas tree is from Paris."
Ruth's version of a full blown Christmas party was decorated by Hinds and her team, including Set Decorator Kristie Thompson, down to the smallest of details. Champagne and champagne fountains mixed with passed hors d'oeuvres and swag bags by waiters in tuxedos. Ice sculptures glistened in the blue lights with white chiffon drapery and peacock feathers, surrounding a sushi chef.
Says Kristen Bell, 'In my real life we decorate our house for Christmas from toes to tits. I think I get that from my mother who keeps her Christmas tree up all year round. That's not a joke." The art department office had a craft room which any chef would envy where they handmade the authentic-looking family Christmas decorations. Says Thompson, 'Kiki's house in the film is all about handmade crafty things. We had a team of people that made little Xmas tree ornaments for a week, day and night, out of popsicle sticks, pipe cleaner, and construction paper, and all the things kids would use. Kiki loved plaid, so needless to say her Christmas tree decorations reflected that too."
Oh Come All Ye Wasted
One of the biggest challenges of the film for Hinds in conjunction with the Special Effects department was creating the exterior garish display of Ruth's vision of the Twelve Days of Christmas on the front lawn of Amy's house.
Lights, creatures, and mechanics made up a spectacle for all the neighbors to see. The Special Effects department for the film left no turtle dove unturned as they executed Hinds's vision of Ruth's 'cavalcade." The yard was jam packed with this bigger than life décor.
'We took an -It's a Small World' type of concept and spun it from there. We hand made and built from scratch multiple figurines from eight maids actually milking to eleven lords actually leaping to the ten drummer boys drumming. All of the figurines were mechanically rigged with motors by our Special Effects department and surrounded by fake snow. It was quite a sight in the middle of an Atlanta suburb in the heart of summer," says Hinds.
Continues set decorator Kristie Thompson, 'Marcia designed every inch of this cavalcade. She brought in sculptors, illustrators, and then Special Effects made it all go into motion. The mechanics of it were just brilliant."
Says Christine Baranski, 'It's Christmas on acid. Ruth pushes it to the extreme, and keeps telling her daughter this is how Christmas should be done."
The Third Noel
And if that wasn't enough, the cherry on top was the live dromedary in attendance at Ruth's Christmas bash. A one-thousand-pound female camel named Noel got the takes right, after her two male counterparts failed to do so. Scott Moore adds that having a female camel land the part was par for the course, 'On our crew we tried to hire as many women as possible; the producer, the production designer, the costume designer, an editor, the first Assistant Director, we had women in the camera crew and half our post production staff was female."
When it came to Carla's house, she doesn't really decorate for Christmas, but her house was a fun set to create as her living space showcased her true bohemian personality from different colorful prints and textures to candles and chimes. A turntable and rock album collection sat in an old bulky wooden wall unit, while a match collection, and possibly questionable paraphernalia sat on the coffee table.
Thompson hit the jackpot when she met someone on location in Atlanta who is a great collector of Christmas items. 'We had a fantastic resource that fell in our laps, and he happened to be selling his house so we just looked thru box after box of his of Christmas items right there on the spot."
Let's Get Flocked Up
What would Christmas be without snow? Special Effects Coordinator Pete Chesney made sure there was plenty of snow to go around for filming and then some. Creating snow during the production was the icing on the cake of Hinds's beautiful sets in all real locations, none of them built on stage.
Chesney and his team had the challenge of creating snow in the middle of the Atlanta summer. To do so they made a few different types of snow. Snow made from shredded 100% biodegradable recycled paper was used to cover large spaces. Around 1000 cubic feet of durable paper snow was blown onto and then vacuumed off of the location sets. Chesney flocked close to thirty trees during filming.
Snow that was seen close up on camera, often interacting with the cast, was made from ice. A local snow effects company came to help make 100 tons of ice snow for the filming, that would begin with block of ice that arrived in a freezer truck, exited thru a chipper, out a tube, and then shoveled onto set by a team of very strong and determined men and women. The result was flawless and often tempting for the cast and crew to throw a snowball or two at one another between takes.
Just The Tip
So how many Christmas trees were used all together during shooting? Both artificial and live trees were sourced by the art department totaling one hundred and twenty trees seen in the film.
The real trees were brought in from a Christmas tree farm in North Carolina. Because it was Spring/Summer during filming the trees had started developing little cones on the tips. The art department experts had to do a lot of cutting and trimming to give these trees the traditional Christmas shape. The biggest live tree in the film was featured inside the Sky Zone set, towering with pride at 18 feet.
The set decoration department had an in-house team in their warehouse just dedicated to decorating Christmas trees. This set dec team would wire the ornaments onto the tree, and wrap the whole tree in plastic to transport it to set. Because of the transport mostly plastic ornaments were used.
In the scene where Amy and Ruth fight over the Christmas tree after Ruth's party and the tree falls and the ornaments shatter on the floor, set decorators painted the inside of the plastic ornaments so they looked like glass. Usually the interior of plastic ornaments are black, but the set decorating team worked their magic and made them look reflective.
Bad Moms 2
Release Date: November 2nd, 2017