No stone left unturned" is more than a nice cliché to describe UPM Garrett Grant’s approach to his job—it’s the crazy truth. Working on Bedtime Stories a couple of years ago, the script called for shooting in a castle. "We didn’t have the money to bring the whole crew over to Ireland, or to build one here in Hollywood," Grant recalls. "Our 1st AD, Danny Silverberg, was up in Napa Valley on a wine-tasting tour and saw an Old World-style castle, built out of stone, and said, 'Hey, you need to check this place out!'"
Grant hopped on a plane with the location manager and after some intense negotiating, managed to convince the castle’s owners to let the film shoot there, a cost-effective solution that the UPM says was also a great creative fit.
Part of Grant’s job is to ease the community's concerns on behalf of the production. "I’ve shot in many towns where we were one of their first film crews," he notes. "For Dumb & Dumber, we shot in Breckinridge, Colo., in May, and were planning to bring in snow machines, which the town was really concern-ed about. Luckily, we got a snowstorm just in time, and ended up employing lots of locals on the film."
The welcome may be less warm in film-heavy towns like New York where residents guard neighborhoods like castles on the hill. Grant’s most recent film, Going the Distance, shot in New York’s Upper East Side, which is hypersensitive to any kind of filming, any time of the year. Using a "kid gloves” approach that respected curfew mandates, Grant got the neighborhood to cooperate. “The important thing is to always be honest upfront, and tell them when your schedule may create problems.”
Grant has forged long-term partnerships with the Farrelly Brothers and Adam Shankman, both of whom, he notes, are as fun to work with as their movies. "I’ve learned from those guys that the behind-the-scenes process always reveals itself on the screen," he says. "You’ve got to enjoy your job for the sake of the movie."
Even when the star breaks his ankle three weeks into a fifteen-week shoot, as Adam Sandler did playing basketball during Bedtime Stories.
"Adam didn't want to hold up production," says Grant. "We had to figure out how to shoot without revealing his ankle cast or the physical limitations of not being able to walk. We had to redesign the work of the 2nd unit to cover the action pieces where Adam wasn’t able to perform." Of course, that wasn’t in the original budget. "Doing all this while dealing with a massive insurance claim from the injury made it a unique experience. You had to think fast and stay a few steps ahead, even though time wouldn’t allow it."