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Jennifer Lopez: Action rom-com Shotgun Wedding is ‘an adventure’

Shotgun Wedding blends romance, comedy and action for a hilarious thrill ride, as Rachael Davis discovers from its stars and director

One thing that no one ever imagines might ruin their nuptials, however, is a band of bloodthirsty larcenous pirates crashing a destination wedding on a private island, taking everyone hostage except for the bride and groom, who can’t stop arguing — but this exactly what happens to betrothed Darcy and Tom action-comedy Shotgun Wedding.

From Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore, Shotgun Wedding sees Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel play a not-so-happy couple whose exotic wedding day goes totally wrong, to say the least.

Lopez’s Darcy, far from being a demanding bride, actually wanted a very simple wedding, but her ‘groomzilla’ Tom, talked her into the extravagant tropical wedding and has caused a rift by wanting everything to be absolutely perfect.

The friction builds between the couple before they’ve even uttered the words “I do”, but their arguing is interrupted not by romantic vows or heartwarming displays of affection, but by machine gun-wielding pirates.

“It’s a big romantic comedy, but it’s more of a romantic action movie — it’s an adventure,” says Lopez (53).

“There’s so much that happens. But the core of it is it’s about these families coming together, and my character and Josh’s character really figuring out who they are and how they’re going to make this marriage work. And if they can make this marriage work.

“They start off at very different ends of the spectrum on what they want.

“Along the way, with all of the things that they have to go through — which is outrageous and crazy — they really do discover each other and what they want.”

As with any wedding, the mother and father of the bride and groom play central roles. Except here, the bride’s mother and father are veteran actress Sonia Braga and comedy legend Cheech Marin, and Jennifer Coolidge and Steve Coulter play the parents of the groom.

Coolidge (61) is very much the woman of the moment. At the beginning of the year she received a standing ovation as she collected a Golden Globe for her role in hit series The White Lotus, and she also recently starred in Netflix’s mystery thriller series The Watcher.

Of course, she’s best known for her performances in American Pie, Legally Blonde and A Cinderella Story, but has loved being involved in comedies that have a darker edge.

“I do like the combo of dark and comedy, I really do,” Coolidge says.

“I like when it’s incredibly real, it feels real… so it’s very sort of scary stuff and then comedy is sort of mixed in. Beverly Hills Cop was one of my favorite movies when I was growing up, so I like that combo.”

In Shotgun Wedding, Coolidge plays Tom’s mother Carol, who says she is “a very simple woman in the way she looks at life”.

“She is someone who only sees the good in people, and, the way she was written, I recognized that kind of innocent, glass-half-full person and knew how to play her,” she adds.

Steve Coulter as Larry Fowler and Jennifer Coolidge as Carol Fowler — © Press Association Images

Working alongside Coolidge is Coulter, who has previously had roles in The Conjuring and The Hunger Games.

“It’s very, very funny, but the violence in it’s… these people get in serious trouble!” he says of the film.

“It’s not like oh, wacky, lovable pirates. They’re like, murderous, it’s like, if you imagine the absolute worst possible thing to happen at a wedding, apart from the food, would be pirates.”

Duhamel, best known for starring in the Transformers film series, says he also loved the scale of Shotgun Wedding and how it blends the rom-com genre with riotous action.

“What I love about the movie, and what I think J Moore did such a great job on, is he wasn’t afraid to make this a big romp of a movie,” says the 50-year-old.

“We went there, and we knew it on the day. He always talked about squeezing a little lemon on that sugar,” he jokes of Moore’s approach to bringing the action into the romantic comedy.

“This movie felt totally and comedically different than anything I’ve done.”

Director Moore (52) says that when he first received the script by Mark Hammer, who also wrote the 2014 rom-com Two Night Stand, he was initially surprised because “it’s an unusual blend of genres, balancing romance, action and comedy in a way that felt new”.

“I had never done those kinds of big action sequences before, so that was appealing to me as well,” he adds.

That said, Moore points out that Shotgun Wedding isn’t such a far cry from his previous work, which includes 2012 musical comedy Pitch Perfect and 2015 comedy Sisters, as his approach to filming the lively action sequences are similar to crafting compelling choreography.

“With choreography, you want it to be physically exciting and surprising, you want it to escalate, you want it to tell a story,” he says.

“You can apply those same rules to action — you want it to have pace, to build and have surprises.

“And, for me, the best action is centered around character. You can have a thousand things blowing up and cars racing, but if you don’t care about who’s driving the car, then it’s not as fun.”

He adds: “I hope what audiences take away from this movie is it’s a total thrill ride with characters that you really love and care about but also laugh at the whole time.

“I think people will feel emotional, happy, laughing, a little bit exhausted, and maybe just a little bit spent, but in the best way. I want them to have a really rocking good time… just like a good wedding.”

“I think it’s a real sort of entertainment movie,” Coolidge agrees.

“And it actually has a really good love story going on in between all the scary stuff. When you do a lot of movies, you really hope that the two leads that are supposed to be in love have great chemistry, and sometimes it doesn’t happen, but I have to say Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel have amazing chemistry.

“You root for them and, you know, they’re two very sexy people being very sexy together. It’s a very sexy movie, too!”

Shotgun Wedding is available on Prime Video now

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