How ‘Shotgun Wedding’ Became a Cinema Studies Summer Camp for the Ensemble Cast

Jennifer Coolidge, Cheech Marin, and Sônia Braga screened their classics for D'Arcy Carden, Lenny Kravitz, and more while living together in a Dominican Republic mansion.
Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel in "Shotgun Wedding"
Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel in "Shotgun Wedding"
Prime Video

The star-studded ensemble cast of “Shotgun Wedding” pulled the trigger on some R&R with their own movies.

Turns out, the best way to bond as a cast in a picturesque tropical setting is to experience a private theater together, complete with wine, popcorn, Q&As, and even some (implied) doobie. What, like you’re not going to smoke up with Cheech Marin?!

“Shotgun Wedding” stars Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel as a married couple-to-be whose wedding party is suddenly taken hostage by Balinese pirates. Marin and Sônia Braga play Lopez’s divorced parents; D’Arcy Carden is Marin’s girlfriend, while Jennifer Coolidge and Steve Coulter are Duhamel’s parents and Lopez’s in-laws. Lenny Kravitz is Lopez’s ex, with Selena Tan, Callie Hernandez, Desmin Borges, and Alberto Isaac rounding out the ensemble cast.

“That’s a big cast and a lot of big ‘ole iconic, legendary personalities, and you don’t know how that’s all going to go, but it was so flawless,” D’Arcy Carden told IndieWire in a recent interview. “We shot this a year into the pandemic and I think everyone was lonely, hadn’t made a new friend in a while, and it was a quick bonding situation. We were like, ‘Let’s go to dinner! Let’s spend time together! We’re in a bubble! Let’s take advantage of this bubble!’ We couldn’t get enough of each other. It was great.”

The COVID living situation made the “Shotgun Wedding” cast immediately feel like family. While executive producer and lead star Lopez did not live with the rest of the cast (her family was on location in the Dominican Republic for the duration of the production), Carden likened the filming experience to summer camp.

“J.Lo is J.Lo, she’s the king,” Carden said. “She and Josh are the movie, and the rest of us just pop in once in a while and say a funny thing and then went back to the house and drank wine all night. We all lived together in this big, beautiful beach house, and we would eat all of our meals together and spend our weekends in the pool. I know I’m bragging, but that’s just what it was! It was like a vacation that sprinkled work in every once in a while. It was really not fair. I was ashamed to tell my family.”

Those wine and movie nights were also filled with film history lessons from the acclaimed cast, who each have decades worth of Hollywood stories to share.

“Everyone was such fans of each other. You have legendary actress Sônia Braga, and she’s excited to be working with Jennifer Coolidge,” Carden said. “And no one is a bigger Cheech fan than Lenny Kravitz. He was so geeked out with getting to work with Cheech. Every day it was like the three of us and I would sit there listening to the two of them talk. Lenny is kind of obsessed with the ’70s, and they would talk about music and movies and people they both knew. I just felt like I was sitting there listening to the dads talk. It was so cute to see full-on rock god Lenny Kravitz being so sweet and geeky with Cheech. It was really awesome.”

D'Arcy Carden and Cheech Marin in "Shotgun Wedding"
D’Arcy Carden and Cheech Marin in “Shotgun Wedding”Prime Video

Carden continued, “There was also a screening room and we would watch each others’ movies and do these little Q&As. There was only eight or nine of us so it wasn’t a big auditorium or anything, but we would ask each other questions about the movies and the other actors and it was so fun and cute and special. It was such a dream come true. To be in a movie with that cast, even if none of them gave me the time of day, I would have been thrilled, let alone becoming real, true family vibes with everybody.”

Among the films screened were “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” Braga’s Oscar-winning film, and Coolidge’s classic turn in “Best in Show.”

“Sônia Braga is one of the most fascinating and amazing people I’ve ever met,” Carden said. “I am truly enamored and obsessed with her. I love her so much. She told us that her mom made the costumes, and Sônia made sure her sister was cast in the movie, and [was] telling us all these stories about [‘Kiss of the Spider Woman’ star] Raul Julia, like New York-y gritty stories that just made us all fall in love with him. She really had so many great things to say about him. That one was like a history lesson. Everyone was like, ‘Holy shit, we cannot believe we are hearing all of this!'”

She added, “We also watched ‘Up in Smoke’ for Cheech. He made us tacos and we maybe did other stuff that night, I don’t remember [laughs]. It was just cool. Everybody was just really happy to be there, and really enjoying every moment. Being deep in the pandemic and getting to have an experience like this, it was not lost on anybody.”

“Shotgun Wedding” premieres January 27 on Prime Video. 

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