Things You Might Not Know About Father Of The BridePublished on August 31, 2017. Updated December 16, 2019
The 1991 version of Father of the Bride is a comedy-drama based on the original 1950 film of the same name. Starring Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams and George Newbern, this movie tells the hilarious story of a father who has to come to grips with giving his daughter away after he finds out she is engaged to a man she’s only known for three months. Father of the Bride quickly became a major box office success and still has a strong following today. In fact, the movie was so successful, it spawned a spin-off in 1995 titled Father of the Bride Part II! It’s been nearly 30 years since the film was released, so here’s a look at 10 things you probably didn’t know about Father of the Bride!
10. Name Change
The film was written by Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers, who were at a couple at the time (they’ve since divorced). Shyer also directed the film and Meyers acted as a producer on set. In the remake, they changed Stanley’s name to George Banks but kept Stanley as his middle name. They wanted to name him after the apologetic dad in Mary Poppins.
9. First Choice for Bride
Phoebe Cates was actually the filmmakers first choice for the role of Annie, but she had to decline because she was pregnant at the time, so instead, they chose new actress Kimberly Williams. This role marked Williams debut in the film industry and now we couldn’t imagine the movie without her!
8. Why Steve Martin Took the Role
Steve Martin said this role marked a big change in his career. He was trying to make the switch from silly comedies to more serious roles like the conventional father because they reflected his age more realistically. “I’m not doing ‘wild and crazy,’ ‘Man with Two Brains’ comedy anymore. If I didn’t change, I’d be an idiot. I’d look really foolish if I were doing those kinds of comedies now. I’m not the same age as I was. I’m wiser than I was,” he said.
7. Reappearing Actor
Actor Tom Irish played the same character, a relative named Ben Banks, in both the original Father of the Bride film and the 1991 remake. Oddly enough, the 1950 version was his film debut and the 1991 remake marked his final on-screen appearance.
6. Banks Home is a Real House in California
The picture perfect home filmed as the Banks family home is a real house in Pasadena, California. The home was sold in 2016 for nearly $2 million. A lot of the interior and exterior shots were filmed here, but the backyard wedding was actually filmed at another house in Alhambra, California. The owners of the Pasadena home are Sarah Bradley and Darrell Spence. They told HGTV that fans of the film are extremely protective of the house, especially if they want to make any changes like when they replaced the white picket fence. “Neighbors would see the construction and panic. We had to convince them they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference once we were done,” said Bradley. In 1999 they bought the house for $950,000, but today it’s worth $2.7 million.
5. George Newbern Played Himself
George Newbern played the role of Bryan MacKenzie, the man who’s engaged to George Banks’ daughter after only knowing her for three months. Newbern said he didn’t have to dig too deep to figure out how to play his character because he’d recently gotten married in real life and went through the same process of winning over his future father-in-law, who also happened to be named George. “It’s just not fun. Girls don’t have to do that. I’m from the South, from Arkansas. My father had to do it. My grandfather was a federal judge, and my father had to go talk to him. He said that was just like descending into hell,” he joked.
4. Frank Eggelhoffer Based on a Real Person
Martin Short delivered an amazing performance as the over-the-top, incomprehensible wedding planner, Franck Eggelhoffer. This character was based on an actual person — Kevin Lee! Lee assisted with the planning of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s wedding and might be a familiar face to those who watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, a reality show where he makes regular appearances. “We had a great time together,” said Lee when asked about working with Short. What was funny about this character was that everyone could understand his accent except for George!
3. Studio Didn’t Want to Work with Diane Keaton
When Diane Keaton signed on to play Nina Banks in Father of the Bride, she was already familiar with Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyer because she’d worked with them in the 1987 film, Baby Boom. “Disney Studios — Jeffrey Katzenberg at the time — didn’t ever want to work with me,” said Keaton in an interview with Film Scouts. “Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers, who’d worked with me before, had to beg to get me into Father of the Bride. I was very fortunate, because they were very staunchly for me.” The reason Disney didn’t want to work with Keaton was because she’d just done The Good Mother which was a huge failure at the box office and a Disney movie. Because of the film’s lack of success, Disney wanted to cut ties with Keaton.
2. Steve Martin Accepted the Role Before Reading the Script
According to screenwriter Nancy Meyers, Steve Martin signed on for the lead role in Father of the Bride before she had even started writing the screenplay! “It’s a gift because you know you’re writing for Steve Martin, so you know you can be funny and you can be loose and you can do all these twists and turns in the scene,” she said at the BAFTA & BFI Screenwriters’ Lectures Series in 2015.
1. Steve Martin Thinks It’s the Perfect Story
In an interview with The Morning Call, Martin shared his view on the film. “Well, I tend to think there’s movie families, and then there are families. What I mean is — I’m not demeaning the movie at all — it’s kind of a wish family. It’s like the perfect statement of a beautiful problem: Your daughter’s getting married,” he said. “It’s a perfect story because what happens is so minor, and yet the emotions are so big. It’s like the birth of a baby. It’s so common, happening all the time, and yet it’s one of the most powerful, large things that can happen to you.”