Mila Kunis & co. get rowdy on the set of Bad Moms
It’s February 26, 2016 and we are on the New Orleans set of STX Entertainment‘s R-rated comedy Bad Moms, which stars Mila Kunis (Ted), Kristen Bell (Frozen) and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers) as a trio of mommies who decide to cut loose from the status quo. When we arrived at the Breaux Mart (which had been renamed to the less-Creole-sounding “Declan’s Marketplace”), screenwriters (The Hangover) and directors (21 and Over) Jon Lucas and Scott Moore were in the home stretch of the shoot, with only three more days left until wrap.
The film is set in the Chicago suburbs, and is about the three main women becoming friends after realizing they all have children at the McKinley Elementary School and are fed up with the PTA domination of the so-called “supermoms,” played by Christina Applegate, Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumalo. Kunis’s character Amy is trying to be perfect, with a husband that doesn’t help and a Type-A daughter used to getting gourmet lunches. Amy bonds with Bell’s Kiki, who has a controlling husband and homeschools her children. Carla (Hahn) is the wild card, using a hairclip as a roach clip, driving a beater car, smoking, etc.
“This movie blankets the whole topic of motherhood in a way that the message is there are endless ways to do it, and whatever way your gut is telling you to do it is what’s right,” says Bell. “It’s a unifying message that we all feel less than, frazzled and overworked. We’re terrified we’re messing up our humans, but that’s the beauty of this entire movie, it’s moms in solidarity.”
For the scene in Declan’s Marketplace, all three girls are letting loose on a shopping spree in a montage of them enjoying the store with lots of gags. At video village we watch as rehearsals begin, and even though we can’t see anything, we hear the three women making a major ruckus. It stands to reason that this will be a fun day of mirth-making on set.
“Here we go!” shout the Assistant Director.
Mila is dressed in a smart silver business suit, Kristen is mom casual and Kathryn wears a brown cowgirl jacket. The three ladies go running down an aisle screaming and hollering in liberation. Hahn drops a banana on the floor and kisses an older, bespectacled stockboy, who looks shocked as she runs off.
“George, you’re a gentleman, thank you,” says Hahn after the take.
The second take is a more prolonged kiss, with Kathryn playfully slapping George at the end before running to the other two girls at the end of the aisle, who are now cheering her on. The third take will start on George as the filmmakers go with a 25mm lens. Kathryn asks George if something she’s gonna do in this take is okay.
The shot in question starts on George pricing and shelving pickles. This time when she plants the kiss he smiles. Kathryn shouts, “Cleanup on aisle 2!”
The fourth take is the fastest and has the biggest smile. Kathryn tells George it was really fun and to take care… except they have to do it again! This final take plays the same but the camera work might be sharper.
They move on to aisle 7. In this shot they are still yelling in the new aisle and then they stop to coo at a baby in a stroller.
“Oh my God, so cute!”
“I want to eat her face.”
Then they do the baby’s POV on the ladies. Their stand-ins come in while the fish-eye lens shot is set up.
In another shot, the girls binge on generic brand cereal, throwing it in the air, Kristen pouring it on her face. The cereal goes down their blouses, and after the take they try to clean it out of their crevices. Kathryn complains of a “crunchy crotch.”
“I’m gonna undo the bodysuit and seven cups of cereal are gonna pour out,” Kristen comments.
One of them asks the others if they will be puking in their trailers later.
In the second take, Kathryn offers Mila the chance to eat cereal off her cleavage, and Mila does not hesitate.
The directors quietly confer with each other before a take, smiling with the air of guys who make a great team. That next take is shot at 120 frames-per-second, and in super slow-mo the cereal eating is hilarious.
“We’re both married, we both have kids, so we spend a lot of time home writing, watching how hard it is for our wives to be moms and everything they put up with,” says co-director Lucas. “Making sure the lunches are made, taking them to soccer practice, treats for the bake sale, everything. Wouldn’t that be a great movie to explore what it would be like to take a break from that?”
“This has been the fastest shoot I have ever been on in my life, it really is,” Kunis told us. “At one point I was like, ‘We only have five days left?’ Like, I’m actually sad about it. I very rarely get sad when ending a movie. The crew is lovely, the cast.”
Hahn agrees, adding, “I don’t think I’ve had one talking scene with a male actor.”
“It’s been a clam jam,” adds Kristen.
In a new setup, the girls are running down the frozen food aisle giving people high-fives, yelling “You got this!” Kathryn even slaps someone’s butt. Kristen is drinking a tall-boy can of beer as she runs. At the end of the shot a disturbed mom covers her young son’s eyes. Another take is shot from the kid’s POV. On the new take they give the butt-pat honors to Mila.
The final setup of our day on set involved Mila and Kristen pouring vodka and Kahluha into a 2-liter milk jug and then Kathryn chugs it. The slow-mo playback is hypnotic and hilarious. They could put it in the film straight-through with no cuts and it would kill. Kathryn Hahn is a national treasure.
“It was disgusting,” Hahn told us later. “It wasn’t real milk. It was watered down soy milk. It’s not better.”
After the take, which soaked Kathryn head-to-toe in brown milk, Kristen tells her, “You need to get into a Bikram pose and wring yourself out.”
Bad Moms opens in theaters on July 29