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‘Shotgun Wedding’ Director Jason Moore Chose Songs To ‘Get People on the Dance Floor’

Moore breaks down that viral ”I’ll Be“ singalong led by Jennifer Coolidge

There’s a moment in “Shotgun Wedding” where Jennifer Coolidge does what she does best — making a scene feel spontaneous when it’s intentional.

Coolidge plays Carol, mother of groom Tom Fowler (Josh Duhamel) who is getting married to Darcy (Jennifer Lopez) at a fancy destination wedding in the Philippines. Pirates disrupt the painfully planned ceremony, taking the wedding guests hostage to blackmail the father of the bride (Cheech Marin) into giving them a large sum of money. While the couple’s friends and family are corraled in the pool, Tom buys time by suggesting they get married right then and there.

As the hostages line up to create a wedding aisle in the pool, Carol starts belting out the opening lines of Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.” Director Jason Moore tells TheWrap why he picked the wedding staple.

“It’s like one of the top five wedding songs. I knew Jennifer Coolidge was going to sing it and I wanted something that felt out of left field,” Moore explained. “Then I wanted the surprise that Renata, Darcy’s mom, also knows the lyrics. ‘I’ll Be’ is one of those songs almost everyone recognizes the chorus but few people recognize the verse before.”

Harmonies were decided before the shoot, and the scene was shot 10 days into filming.

“We couldn’t really improv it. Everyone really had to know the words and there are some hard lyrics in that song. So we had to really work on it,” Moore continued. “I wanted it to have a fun easy casual sing-along feel so every day we would rehearse it — I told everyone to sing it like they were singing a song to a jukebox in a drunken bar.”

Renata (Sonja Braga) not only joins in after Tom’s midwestern parents start the song, but she has a great solo harmony too.

“Sonia originally said she was unsure about singing, but on the day she was belting it out and having a blast,” Moore wrote in an email. “I’m glad we were able to capture that on film — it’s a fun moment where the families are finally united on something.” 

Another memorable music moment comes later in the film when JLo and Duhamel run in slow motion while “No Ordinary” by Labrinth plays. Moore wanted to balance the acapella version of “I’ll Be” with a real needle-drop.

“I had loved Labrinth for all the music they had done for ‘Euphoria,’ They were really on my radar, and that was a song that actually was released around three years ago when we were starting really to prep in earnest,” Moore said. “I instantly thought of the slow-motion running scene, and the lyrics are really good. It’s a little bit haunting so it fit beautifully. We rehearsed to it a lot.”

“I love the sparseness of it and the deep chorus. It has depth and soul, and matches the visuals of explosions going off, but the lyric is in opposition to it,” Moore added. “Describing your love as “not ordinary” while running from explosions seemed a fun juxtaposition.”

The credits song, The Bengals’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” rounds out the trio of needle drops in the film. The wedding party performs the ’80s pop after the pirate threat is eliminated. Those performances were definitely more spontaneous.

“For the ‘I’ll Be’ spot as well as ending credits, I wanted to choose songs that people very often hear at weddings,” Moore said. “I wanted a fun song that gets people on the dance floor and all generations recognize — but more importantly, I wanted a song that people could be silly and funny with.  We shot that sequence in 4 hours.”

“I set up four cameras and everyone got one chance to get up and sing it live — whatever happened happened. It created kind of a fun competition and silly event — like at a wedding and everyone steps into the dance circle,” Moore continued. “I wanted it to feel like the afterparty, and for most of the cast, it was their last day of shooting so it did kind of feel like the afterparty!”