It takes a village to make a movie. Recently, you could see the evidence of this right near Stanwich School, where some 25 to 30 trailers and trucks -- including a hair and makeup truck, a wardrobe truck, a lighting truck, and trailers for some big name stars -- were stationed in preparation for the upcoming movie, "The Wedding," starring Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Katherine Heigl.
The movie makers' work day starts at 8 a.m. -- they work six hours, break for lunch, and then it's back to work for another six hours or more. The film crew is prepared to work all night until the shoot wraps up later this month.
A good time to catch some of the talent is lunch time.
"Diane Keaton was here yesterday at lunch," said the set's head chef, Ivan Kerum. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Kerum and his food truck travel across the country chasing movies -- up to five a year. "I love my job," he says, "I meet different people."
Arriving for lunch was Zackham, who looked like he was working hard. "Things are going amazingly well," he says, eyeing the ribeye steak, salmon and a local favorite, king-size Italian sausages, homemade from Scarpelli's Deli in Cos Cob.
Zackham, whose 2007 film "The Bucket List," grossed $170 million worldwide, was over the moon to be filming in his hometown. His script for "The Wedding" was placed in Greenwich -- but he never thought he'd get to film it here.
"I get to come home and go to work in Greenwich," he says with a big smile. "The crew is incredible. To shoot in Greenwich is nothing but lovely!"
Following closely on his heels to grab lunch was another hungry GHS grad, Rob Arnold, class of 2006, and a production assistant on the film. "I'm living the dream," says Arnold, who left college for a job working on a feature film. He now lives in Santa Barbara, Calif., to be near the epicenter of the movie-making world.
Coming up next was De Niro's on-set assistant, Mike with-no-last-name-given from Brooklyn. "Whatever he (De Niro) needs done, that's what I'm there for," he says. He was carrying lunch for De Niro, who was busy making phone calls in his trailer. So how did he land such a job? "I got it after lots of hard work over the years," he says.
Behind him stood De Niro's personal hair stylist, Sacha Quarles, from Manhattan, who'd spent some 20 minutes doing De Niro's hair. "It was just the way he wears it," he says.
Dressing De Niro and Keaton was Aude, an artfully garbed costume designer from Manhattan. "It's a story that takes place now, so there's no period clothing," she says. "It takes place actually in Greenwich in the summer, so we're doing the real thing -- today a sport jacket for De Niro, summer attire for Keaton."
"I play Madonna, the biological mother of the groom," says Patricia Rae, an actress from Los Angeles, who was standing on the lunch line with her daughter, Sage, who was visiting from New York City.
Sitting at a table in the lunch room, which was set up in the former St. Agnes Parish building located near the moveable village, was the crew that sets the stage for the filming.
"We're turning a garage into an artist's studio," says Helen Ripple, a set dresser from Manhattan. "De Niro is playing the part of a sculptor."
"We're bringing in big heavy sculptures and chunks of marble and wood," says set dresser Carl Ferrara. They've traveled from Staten Island, N.Y., to Fairfield and Bethel to collect art and material, including work from sculptor George Pissaro's studio. "We have to return it all at the end of August," says Ripple.
Another room they're dressing in the private house is the homeowner's craft room. "It's full of needlepoint," says Ripple. "We call it the embroidery room. The actress (Keaton) gags when she goes into it."
A third room they're dressing is a bedroom. "We've been steaming sheets from Italy," says Ripple, "to get the creases out to make them stage ready."
Ripple introduces the head of the dressers, David, the decorator. "He tells us where to put everything," she says.
"I've been in this business for 34 years," says David, who looks happy in his work, as do his colleagues.
Zackham, for instance, seems genuinely happy -- and is following the sage advice he once shared with students at Greenwich High School.
During a commencement speech he gave to GHS students back in 2008, Zackham had said, "Look for the thing that excites you, the thing you couldn't imagine not doing. Then, do it as furiously and with as much love as you can, and I promise your life will be extraordinary."
And so it seems that Zakham and the cast and crew of "The Wedding" are all living that extraordinary life -- each and every member of the village.
Postcript: The moveable village supporting the film, "The Wedding" has traveled to several locations around town for different shoots, including Gabriele's Italian Steakhouse on Church Street and at Christ Church Greenwich where, once upon a time, screenwriter-director Justin Zackham was a choir boy.