Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr and Siobhan Fallon Hogan had a great time working on the romantic comedy New in Town, but don't expect Zellweger and Connick to be packing up and moving to Winnipeg anytime soon. The trio froze their rears off there while shooting the film, but the discomfort they suffered paid off on the screen.
New in Town finds Zellweger playing Lucy Hill, an ambitious executive used to the gorgeous weather of Miami, Florida. But when she accepts a temporary position to help out a struggling manufacturing plant in Minnesota, she quickly finds herself outside of her comfort zone. But to her surprise, Lucy - in addition to learning the true meaning of cold - absorbs important life lessons and even finds time for a little romance, courtesy of a handsome, rugged stranger (played by Connick Jr.) while far away from home.
Renee Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., and Siobhan Fallon Hogan Press ConferenceRenee, could you talk a little bit about the weather while filming. What did you and Harry have to endure in the film with the cold and all?
Renee Zellweger: "It was highly entertaining and very educational. I didn't know cold like that; it was a whole different kind of experience. It was a marvelous exercise in developing new survival skills. It was a whole new language for the biological things that happen."
Harry Connick Jr: "Yes, nostricles being the first of many."
Renee Zellweger: "Who knew that panty hose could be so very important, three or four pairs at a time. I never imagined that I would rejoice at the pantyhose laid out on the bed by wardrobe every morning. They were essential. I would not be here today were it not for the Hanes - I promise this."
Siobhan is so funny on screen. Was she funny when you weren't shooting? Did you have any moments when you couldn't keep a straight face?
Renee Zellweger: "She got us in trouble. Look at her, she is trouble, trouble."
Siobhan Hogan: "It was great."
Renee Zellweger: "I'm telling you we got scolded because we needed to concentrate and focus. This girl is non-stop and they keep flying out. It's really difficult. I think the most challenging part of this experience was trying to focus, concentrate, and not laugh when she was coming up with whatever it was that was becoming this gorgeous character. We had a really good time. I don't think there was a day when we weren't laughing till our eyelids were frozen together from tears."
Were there any other aspects of working in the city that stuck with you? It's a pretty quiet place in January.
Renee Zellweger: "Not with us."
Harry Connick Jr: "It's not a question of sticking with you, it's a question of sticking on you. And it's so cold. Why you would live in that town? The people are amazing but let's just be real. It's not human to live in a town like that, that's just crazy cold. That's colder than you can even conceive. Don't go to Winnipeg between October and March."
Renee Zellweger: "Not without four parkas… There were so many things about that place that were so charming. I loved the ice sculpture downtown. That was great. Waiting for the snow to compile and harden I suppose, that took probably 30 minutes. That was fantastic. The tenacity of the people was just so impressive. To me you looked outside and think, 'Where is the road?' because you can't see the road. 'I guess there is no driving today.' But that's not the case. Everybody just gets up and they get on with it like it's normal. It's just commonplace that your face freezes within two seconds of stepping outside of the door."
Harry Connick Jr: "But again, for the record, it's not normal. There is no semblance of normalcy about that at all."
Siobhan Hogan: "Well, I'm from Syracuse so I didn't think it would be that much of a challenge. When they gave me the packet that said, 'How to prepare for Winnipeg,' I chucked it. But then they would give us these hand warmers and neck warmers and I'm not one for details. I put it on my neck and the camera was behind me on Renee and they said, 'We can see something on your neck.' I'm like, 'Oh, it's my neck warmer.' I peeled it off and I feel water trickling down the back of my neck because I had blisters all on my back. You're supposed to put them over your sweater. I went out all the time. I said, 'This is not going to stop me.' I learned that you have to bend your knees when you walk because it's so icy you don't want to fall and break something. I loved the people and it was great. It's a great city."
Harry Connick Jr: "Who walks with their knees not bent anyway?"
Harry, you are noted as being a real guy or a people’s guy. Was Ted close to you or did you have to research?
Harry Connick Jr: "I'm not even close to that guy. If I could be that guy, I would be a hero with my wife. That's the kind of guy who is a real guy. I don't have that kind of restraint or mystery. I'm much too emotive and spontaneous or impulsive. There are a lot of things about him I would like to be. I didn't really do any research. I know who that guy is, so it was a matter of building upon things that I thought about or fantasized about in my head."
How did the script start out?
Harry Connick Jr: [Laughing] "It was originally Jew in Town right? Jerry Seinfeld was supposed to star in it?"
Siobhan Hogan: "No, it was Nude in Town and that's why they wanted me."
Harry Connick Jr: "First I think it was Winnie the Pooh in Town. Then Jew in Town and then Nude in Town."