Tuesday, June 25, 2013

3 Men and a Baby (1987)

Michael Kellam: She did a doodle; your turn to change her.
Peter: I'll give you a thousand dollars if you'll do it.

Three bachelor friends share an apartment in Manhattan.  There's Peter who's an architect, Michael who's an artist, and Jack who's an actor.  Jack is also the father of a baby who happens to show up at their front door one day.  Their lives are turned upside-down not just because they're having to care for the baby (something none of them know anything about), but a question lingers: Who's the mother?

"3 Men and a Baby" cost an estimated $11 million to make.  After making its premiere in Los Angeles on November 23, 1987, it would go on to make almost $10.4 million during its first weekend in wide circulation, just shy of its estimated cost.  Within a few weeks, it would gross $167,780,960 in the U.S. alone.  It turned out to be the highest grossing film for that year.

Directed by Star Trek's very own Leonard Nimoy, who previously had directed "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home," Nimoy stepped away from the norm and filmed "3 Men and a Baby" in just a little over two months time.

In 1985, Paris-born Coline Serreau wrote a screenplay for what would become the french film, "Trois Hommes Et Un Couffin" (translated: "Three Men and a Cradle").  It goes without saying that  she, joined by fellow screenwriters James Orr and James Cruickshank, would write the screenplay for "3 Men and a Baby" (the word "Cradle" was swapped out).

The film is star-packed with actors the world had seen before on television and on the big screen.  Actors such as Tom Selleck (Peter Mitchell), Steve Guttenberg (Michael Kellam), and Ted Danson (Jack Holden).  Co-stars include Nancy Travis (Sylvia Bennington), Margaret Colin (Rebecca), and Alexandra Amini (Patty).  "3 Men and a Baby" was the first feature film for both Nancy Travis and Alexandra Amini.

Winner of both the ASCAP and People's Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture, here are some other bits of trivia for you to ponder...

Michael J. Fox and Tony Danza were considered for the title roles. 

Director Leonard Nimoy looked at videotape footage of about 200 hundred sets of twin girls for the part of Mary, before deciding on Lisa and Michelle Blair for the part. Four sets of twins were seen in person before the final choice was made. 

In the original screenplay, Jack was an airline pilot. Paul Millner had a larger role. The overall film was originally intended for adults as there was much more cursing, a big animosity between Peter and Michael. Also when Peter returns with the formula, originally Michael then went out to Safeway to get the diapers, which Peter forgot.

The party scene at the beginning of the movie was going to start differently. One of the extras was going to be on the phone in the lobby, hang up, and then be followed into the party. The extra was unable to get the shot right, and so that entry was scrapped. 

The "greatest clutch shot in basketball history" that Peter's guests are watching during the party is from Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals.

The Pampers company paid $50,000 for their brand of diapers to be used in the film. 

When Jack's mother comes to visit Mary (the baby), you can see in the background what appears to be a little boy standing in a doorway. There is a rumor that this is the ghost of a little boy who died in the apartment in which the film was shot. This rumour is false, as the interiors were all shot on a sound stage in a movie studio. The "ghost" is actually a cardboard cut-out of Jack wearing a tuxedo. This prop appears later in the film, when Mary's mother comes to collect her.

Toward the end of filming, the babies that play Mary, were less entranced by the actors around her, and became enticed by the microphone. She would start to follow it with her gaze, and not look at the actors. Leonard Nimoy and other crew members had to start hiding the microphone and disguising it from the baby's view.

The British Airways plane, in which the three men assume Sylvia has taken the baby to England, is called "City of Belfast".

The highest-grossing remake of a French film ($167,780,960) in North American box office history.

Even over 25 years later, PG-rated "3 Men and a Baby" is still considered a family-friendly movie.  Here are some picture stills for you to enjoy, including the alleged "ghost" at the window... 


Peter Mitchell: [reading a review of a boxing match in a hushed, storytelling way] The champ caught Smith with a savage left hook...
Michael Kellam: What are you reading her?
Peter Mitchell: [responding to Michael in same tone] It doesn't matter what I read, it's the tone you use. She doesn't understand the words anyway, now where were we?

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