By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Tom Everett Scott reunites onscreen with his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” co-star Alicia Silverstone to once again play a married couple dealing with family issues in “Sister of the Groom.”
Best known for 1996’s music-filled comedy “That Thing You Do” and more recently TruTV’s “I’m Sorry,” the still boyish-looking Scott was onboard with the wild wedding weekend comedy even before he read the script because Silverstone asked him to be in it. Once he did read the screenplay by writer/director Amy Miller Gross (“Accommodations”), he was sold.
“Sister of the Groom” is about a well-to-do couple attending the weekend festivities of the wife’s beloved brother and his young, French fiancée and her extended family, rang familiar at the family home in the Hamptons. Having served as the best man at his own brother-in-law’s first wedding, Scott reveals he had reservations about those pending nuptials and tried to offer support—and a way out—for the groom-to-be.
As the film’s title suggests, Silverstone, as Audrey, is at the center of the story—an unrepentant, boisterous yet irresistible New Yorker, whose efforts to convince her brother that he is making the biggest mistake of his life in marrying an aloof and much-younger woman, whom she loathes from the moment they meet. Over the course of the film, as her negative feelings toward the bride-to-be intensify, Audrey creates a series of disasters that nearly derail the big Jewish wedding. Meanwhile, Scott plays Audrey’s loyal and supportive husband Ethan, who despite joining her for the weekend event, would rather be back in the city dealing with a crisis at work. The film also stars Jake Hoffman (“The Irishman”) and Mathilde Ollivier (“Overlord”) as the betrothed couple.
Saban Films’ “Sister of the Groom” arrives in theaters and On Demand Friday Dec. 18.
From his home in Los Angeles, Scott spoke about his new film and enjoying some quality time with his real family time—wife, actress Jenni Gallagher, and their two children—this year, due to the health pandemic that curtailed so many Hollywood productions.
Front Row Features: You and Alicia Silverstone were a magical couple in this. Your character, Ethan, is so understanding and loyal, so tell me about getting involved in this project. This is the second time you and Alicia have worked together. What was it like being a couple with her again?
Tom Everett Scott: It’s wonderful and she’s wonderful. We did “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” together, and had a wonderful experience on that. We got along very well. We really enjoyed working together. She called me and said, “Will you be my husband again?” and I said, “Absolutely. Let’s do it.” So, I was ready to sign on even before reading the script. I found the script to be very relatable, very truthful and there were some real moments in there.
My wife’s brother got married years ago to a person who we were like, “What are you doing? This is going to upset everything. This person is so wrong for you and wrong for our family.” It was just this real crazy moment. Sure enough, that marriage didn’t work out. They were married for less than a year. When he told us they were getting divorced, my wife said to her brother, “I could have told you.” So, this script was really a relatable thing. Of course, my wife’s brother is married to a lovely woman now. They have a baby, and it’s all worked out. But in reading the script, I was thinking, “Man, I’ve been right there. I’ve been in that position. I’ve ridden shotgun to that wedding.”
What you have to do is love and support your significant other. They will do it for you and you will do it for them, and that’s how marriage works.
FRF: Should you speak up beforehand or keep your mouth shut?
Scott: It’s interesting because I was my brother-in-law’s best man for that first disastrous wedding. I remember saying to him, “Are you 100 percent sure you want to do this?” and he said, “Too late now.” I told him it wasn’t too late, but you know how those things go.
FRF: So, this movie is kind of instructional, right?
Scott: Yeah, sometimes you’ve got to wait for them to turn to you and ask, “Am I doing the right thing?” to which you respond, “Funny you should mention that, but I don’t think so.”
FRF: How long ago did you make this film?
Scott: It was September-October of 2018. My daughter was a freshman in college in New York at the time, so one of the deciding factors was that I was going to be in the Hamptons then to film the movie. On weekends I’d be able to see my daughter, which was nice. But also it was just this gorgeous location. I’d never been to the Hamptons before so this was an opportunity to enjoy it. It was after the summer crowds were gone but it was still warm enough to jump in the ocean and lay on the beach so it was kind of a perfect situation.
FRF: You have a wonderful writer/director in Amy Miller Gross. What was it like working with her and did you have some input into your character?
Scott: I knew that it was drawn from her real-life experience. So, when I arrived (on location) my connection was through Alicia. Amy was wonderful. It’s her second film, and I knew someone who was in her first film so I had someone assuring me that it would be a good experience and that she was wonderful.
The first time I met Amy, we went on this four- or five-mile run together. We just jogged and talked it all out. Interestingly enough, the first day we shot was a scene where there’s this back and forth between Audrey (Silverstone) and Ethan (Scott), and Amy came up to me afterwards and said, “I don’t think we got that the way I perceived it.” I said, “OK. Do we have the luxury of going back and reshooting it?” And she said, “Yeah.” So, we were able to further explore that scene and Audrey and Ethan’s relationship, and I think it worked out well.
Amy’s husband was there so I was able to meet him and get to understand what he was like and what she was looking for and what’s specific to the plot. For example, my character is really concerned about what’s going on at work. He’s kind of unfulfilled in that way.
You don’t always have the opportunity to be living and working all together, and making the film. It really brings it to life. I know she did that with her first film. She shot her first film in her own apartment, and we shot this at her home. Yeah, that’s her home and almost the entire cast stayed in the house next door, which was this gorgeous “Architectural Digest”-type house that her neighbors just let us use.
FRF: What was Mathilde Ollivier, the actress who played Clemence the bridezilla, like? I’m sure she was nothing like her character.
Scott: She’s a dream, a really sweet person. She’s from Paris. She’s a very talented actor but also a really fun person. We would all cook together and travel around and explore Amagansett (the town where the film was shot in East Hampton) and Montauk, at the end of Long Island. As a group, we just all did that stuff.
FRF: You have one of the great lines in this movie toward the end where you say to Alicia, “What’s so great about being young, anyway?”
Scott: (He laughs.) I could definitely identify with that (line).
FRF: Now that you and Alicia have developed this connection as comedy scene partners in two films, would you like to work together again?
Scott: Yeah, I would love nothing more than to keep doing this and exploring material together. We really do work well together.
FRF: What have you been working on and what have you been able to work on this year?
Scott: Well, it’s been an interesting year. I’m very fortunate that before this pandemic I was very busy so even when things got shut down in March and I haven’t been able to go back onto a set yet, I’ve had a lot of things come out that I’ve been able to promote. So, that’s nice.
The last thing I was working on was the third season of “I’m Sorry.” Unfortunately, even though we were midway through production, that’s not going to get completed or come back. That was a really sad, disappointing turn of events. But the other stuff that came out during the pandemic that I was proud to promote was a film for Disney called “Clouds,” which is this really beautiful film. That is a full box of Kleenex movie, I guarantee you.
FRF: You and Neve Campbell are in that together, right?
Scott: Yeah. We’re playing real-life people.
FRF: What’s coming up in 2021 for you? Do you think some of these projects that have been on hold will get the go-ahead?
Scott: Stuff is shooting so the protocols are now in place. The unions and the government have aligned on what the protocols will be. In following the news, I’ve seen that with the handful of productions that have started back up, every once in a while one will shut down because of an outbreak. It’s just kind of standard now. Productions are back in L.A. There is still stuff shooting. I’m dying to get back on a set.
FRF: Have you gotten really good at something during the lockdown?
Scott: (He laughs.) One of my biggest regrets when I look back on 2020 is that I won’t be able to say I learned a new skill or did anything constructive. I’ve shirked all responsibility. I’ve gotten better at Fantasy Football. Does that count? I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family, which is amazing. Because I was so busy the past two years—I spent a lot of time on the road—I got to make up a lot of time back home this year, which has been great. I mean, dinner every night at the dining room table with my family—it’s incredible.