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- Made in Eleuthera
Why Did I Get Married Too - Producer Describes Experience in Eleuthera as Wonderful.
Reuben Cannon, the highly acclaimed Hollywood producer who is also producing with writer/director/producer/star, Tyler Perry, took the time to sit and talk with The Eleutheran on the final day of the on-island filming of scenes for Perry's, "Why Did I Get Married Too?" The cast and crew of the anticipated sequel flew into Eleuthera during the third week of July and for about ten days, commandeered the beautiful stretch of properties on the Bank's Road in Governor's Harbour from Cigatoo, on past the ‘special’ house chosen for the filming at the end of Club Med Beach, to Captain Jacks at the beginning of Palmetto Point.
According to Cannon, all major cast members including the original cast of Why Did I Get Married, were in Eleuthera for the week and unlike the typical visit to this island retreat, these stars were here for “more work than recreation”. Other Hollywood stars also joining the production for the first time were stalwarts in the business, Cicely Tyson and Louis Gossett Jr. Mr. Gossett, we learned, stayed at Sky Beach resort and it was said that he was thrilled with his accommodations.
Cannon described to The Eleutheran that the 150 member cast and crew who were imported to the island all had to be housed in accommodations around Governor's Harbour / Palmetto Point and were done so without any complaints.
He expressed thanks to Eleutherans for their hospitality, kind spirit and strong work ethic during filming.
It was the first time working in The Bahamas or the Caribbean for the producer and he summarized his experience exuberantly as "Wonderful".
"The cooperation we have received is equal to anything I have ever seen at any location" he said, adding, "The Character and Kindness, Generosity and Spirit of the people, equals the physical beauty of The Bahamas."
Reuben Cannon, the first African-American casting director in Hollywood, is an accomplished Producer credited with launching the film careers of the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Willis, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael J. Fox and others, including the cast of The Bernie Mac Show. A complete gentleman to speak with, he is most famous for his productions and collaborations with director and actor Tyler Perry. He is credited as a producer with such box office hits as “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” (2005), “Madea’s Family Reunion” (2006) and “Why Did I Get Married?” (2007). He also served as a casting director with director Steven Spielberg on the acclaimed film “The Color Purple” starring both Winfrey and Goldberg.
The cast and crew of “Why Did I Get Married Too?” began filming on the island on Saturday, July 18th. Many Eleutherans were thrilled with the large contingent in town, some of who were seen around town and out at the Governor’s Harbour Fish Fry on the Friday evening. Local persons involved with the work, couldn’t help but share much of the experience at the end of each of their absolutely intriguing days. “It has been hard work, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything,” one such local voiced to The Eleutheran.
For their work here in Eleuthera, Cannon said they were able to find an abundance of locals, to perform the roles of Stand Ins and to serve as Extras.
Bahamian workers with the film crew, including local stand ins and extras, pose with Producer Reuben Cannon 6th from right – second row.
The Stand Ins operated in non-speaking tasks primarily to assist the photography director in the lighting preparation for actors’ scenes. They were chosen based on physical characteristics including physical type, complexion and height, often being required to work long but, by several accounts, rewarding days. A few of the local extras were called upon by the movie director to speak a line during the movie, and though there is no guarantee, nor perhaps even a low probability, it is possible for an Eleutheran voice to make the final cut.
The on-island filming took place in a lovely home at the end of the Beach in front of The Beach House Tapas Restaurant, known as French Leave/Club Med. At The Eleutheran we were quite aware of the location prior to the start of filming, however, we were asked by local officials assisting with the project not to reveal it, primarily to not assist the paparazzi. According to the producer there was great cooperation from the local police and others in keeping uninvited persons away from the location. "We promised all the actors that they would have privacy to do their work and they would be protected. Thanks to the police and other officials we were able to deliver on our promise", he said.
The home featured in this Easter 2009 photo was chosen as the location for the movie scenes. Photo by Theresa Burrows Photography.
The location chosen for the scenes was described by Cannon as "Idyllic" with "Magnificent Beauty".
He passionately expressed, "The house in this movie is a character, so it had to stand out, it had to be a very upscale luxury home, where the four successful African American couples, would come to for their annual retreat. We wanted it to be...what Tyler Perry wrote was a home on an isolated beach, which is breathtakingly beautiful.”
“Tyler Perry always had the Bahamas in mind” he added.
Continuing, “He [Tyler Perry] has been to the Bahamas many times and loves the Bahamas. When Martina (Eleuthera based Location Manager, Martina Carroll) showed me this house, and production took some pictures, I sent a text to Tyler, 'we've found the perfect location'.”
Tyler Perry apparently viewed the home first in the form of pictures in an email and was said to be totally impressed.
In addition to the physical location, the July weather of Eleuthera, which since June has been a completely mixed bag, turned out to be great for them the producer explained. "Weather wise we knew we weren't coming at an ideal time but we were blessed", referring to the decision to do the filming here at this time of the year as a 'brave one'. He jokingly added, unlike the weather "the mosquitoes haven't been on our side, but, they did embrace us like we were locals and gave us just as many bites."
About Eleuthera, Cannon, himself a newlywed on a working honeymoon, said, "I truly love it here...the peace and the quiet, if you want to get away from the intensity and stress of the city and just calm down. Eleuthera is like a stress free zone.”
“I will spread the word when I return to my colleagues in Hollywood that if you want a beautiful location, go to Eleuthera” he quickly added.
Cannon returned with his wife to Atlanta on Tuesday, July 28th, where more filming will take place. As the executive Producer of House of Payne he quickly moves to that Set which starts taping on August 24th.
“Why Did I Get Married Too?” is scheduled to be released during the Easter weekend in April 2010 and Tyler Perry's next film “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” will be in theaters September 11th, 2009.