Did You Hear About The Morgans?
2009. Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Color, Aspect Ratio 2.35 : 1, 103 minutes, Rated PG-13
Release Date: December 18, 2009
Did You Hear About The Morgans? is available at Amazon.com on DVD and Blu-ray.
Movie Synopsis: A New York power couple on the verge of divorce are forced into the witness protection program and relocated to the middle of nowhere, where they find a new outlook and a new life... together. ~Aimee
Cast: Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary Steenburgen, Sam Elliot, Natalia Klimas, Vincenzo Amato, Jesse Liebman, Elisabeth Moss, Michael Kelly, Seth Gilliam, Kevin Brown, Steven Boyer
Director: Marc Lawrence
Thoughts on the Movie:
Hugh Grant has been the king of romantic comedies for quite some time now, but Grant attempting to split wood and fight off bears isnt exactly what one might expect. And neither, I think, is his pairing with Sarah Jessica Parker. Its a match I was a little unsure of myself, but it works. She is a gifted comedienne, and the ultimate New Yorker.
But for me, the real charm of Did You Hear About The Morgans? comes from Sam Elliot and Mary Steenburgen, as the Wyoming Sheriff and spouse who put up, and up with, the Morgans. Mary Steenburgen is spot-on as a contemporary gun-totin' Annie Oakley, and Sam Elliot inhabits the modern-day West as easily and comfortably as he has the historic variety. As a (long ago) former New Yorker, and a now long-time New Mexican, I can really appreciate the unique comedic combination here. This movie gets panned a lot by folks who just dont seem to be able to appreciate simple entertainment. But its fluff after all, and pretty darn-tootin good fluff at that! ~Aimee
Val Kilmers Ranch, Pecos, New Mexico (see Map)
Located 22 miles northeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Val Kilmers Pecos River Ranch was one of the main locations for Did You Hear About The Morgans? The ranch is really impossible to find if you dont know its exact location, as there is only one tiny sign at the end of the twisty, hilly, drive that leads to it, to let you know that you have made it. The land around the house on the drive up is dotted with barns for the horses and cows. The ranch house is decorated in a clean Southwestern style and is perfectly situated to take in panoramic views of the river and more than 6,000 acres of lush wilderness belonging to the ranch that surround it on all sides. There is a full size tee pee across the shallow part of the river bed.
For Clay and Emmas cabin, the filmmakers found a beautiful exterior on Kilmers ranch, just outside of Santa Fe.
About Pecos, New Mexico:
Pecos, New Mexico (population 1,441, elevation 6,923 feet; 35° 34 51 N, 105° 40 43 W) is located about 20 miles east of Santa Fe at the junction of NM 50 and NM 63. The village is built along the Pecos River, which flows from the north out of the Santa Fe National Forest. Pecos lies between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, New Mexico, at the site of a mountain pass used by travelers for centuries. This pass was used by ancient nomadic Indian tribes and by travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. Pecos is a an ancient place with modern amenities, a village of small, family-owned lodges, restaurants, shops, and guiding services.
Right: Actor Val Kilmer walks along river front property on his Pecos River Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. His ranch served as a major location for the 2009 film Did You Hear About The Morgans?
About Santa Fe, New Mexico:
Santa Fe, New Mexico (population 75,764, elevation 7,000 feet; 35° 40 2 N, 105° 57 52 W) is located approximately 60 miles north of Albuquerque on I-25. The Santa Fe area, currently one of the top tourist destinations in the world, offers a wide variety of outdoor activities, skiing, river rafting, hiking, camping, cycling, and horseback riding, just to name a few.
This is high desert country, with four distinct seasons showing off the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the clear, blue New Mexican sky. The City Different is also the third largest art market in the United States, after New York and Los Angeles, boasting hundreds of galleries, with the majority located on picturesque Canyon Road, one of the areas largest tourist attractions.
To learn a lot more about Santa Fe, see our Santa Fe Information page.
Lodging & Dining:
Val Kilmers Pecos River Lodge
Stay at the actual location. The Lodge is a grand log and Pueblo-style structure overlooking the Pecos River. There are also three private casitas for guests. You will need to contact the Lodge to make arrangments for a visit. Directions: Past Santa Fe about 25 miles, take exit 307 for Rowe/Pecos. At the off-ramp, veer right until you hit the frontage road (NM 34). Go left (headed northeast) and stay on the frontage road for approximately 2.4 miles. Slow down and look for the Pecos River Ranch, Pajarito Ranch, Los Trigos Ranch sign on the right side of the road. Turn left onto Camino Pajarito and go under the interstate, soon passing the entrances on your left to Pajarito and Los Trigos. The road will end at the gate to the Pecos River Ranch. Use the intercom to call for assistance.
Frankies at the Casanova. Main Street, Pecos, New Mexico
Have a breakfast or lunch of Southwestern or Old Mexican food at this historic location.
For Recommended Hotels, Motels and Lodges in Santa Fe, see: Santa Fe Lodging
Other Southwestern locations used for Did You Heard About The Morgans? are: Galisteo, Los Alamos, Roy, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The production hired about 75 local crew members and 1,000 extras.
Sarah Jessica Parker was nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress. Ouch!
Hugh Grant talked about Director and absolute New Yorker Marc Lawrence: Marc is a man who doesnt like to leave the Upper West Side of New York. For him, Central Park is too much nature, so to really have written this, set out here in the West, involving beasts, is for him a strange form of masochism. Says Lawrence of the experience: Its all rodeos and dust and manure and animals. I panicked at not being able to order Chinese food. I kissed the tarmac at Kennedy when we got back.
Right: The Morgans (Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant) try to act as though they fit in at a social gathering in the rural town of Roy.
When the time came to choose a shooting location, Director Marc Lawrence and Kevin Thompson (production designer) had their pick of the wide open spaces of the western United States. They discovered that the state of New Mexico had everything they would require: not least of which was the quaint but no-nonsense town of Roy, with a population of just 300 people. The town would become the inspiration for Lawrence to dub the scripted town of Roy and where the crew spent their last five shoot days in New Mexico, roughing it just as Paul and Meryl do in the script.
Sam Elliott already owned so much of his character Clays wardrobe that he simply brought some of it to the set. Its always nice to be able to wear your own hat, he says. I had one hat that worked for this. Its all about the hat.
Production Designer, Kevin Thompson, and the crew wanted to find a rodeo that would be the appropriate size for a small Western town. We found an amazing rodeo in Galisteo, this little rodeo thats open once a year, says co-producer, Melissa Wells. The rodeo was really run down, but it had the skeleton of what we wanted. It was the right scale. And it had sort of a nice feeling. We just walked around it and felt good being there. So we took that skeleton and we figured out how we could enliven it without making it too Hollywood and too big time, says Thompson.
Below Right: Mary Steenburgen and Sam Elliot in a scene from Did You Hear About The Morgans?
As the story of how they found Roy goes, New Mexico location manager David Manzanares wife was in Roy taking scouting pictures when a local woman named Tuda Crews came out of Annettes Restaurant and asked her what she was doing. Crews, whose family has been in Roy for seven generations, has been very active in trying to revitalize the town, which has been struggling in recent years. Crews became a sort of unofficial ambassador to the film for Roy. It would be townsfolk like Tuda, from the local ladies that baked cakes and brought them to the set to the countless other residents that served as extras, that most delighted Lawrence and the rest of the crew about using this town for the shoot. The next steps were for Thompson, Ballhaus, Wells, and Lawrence to make the journey to this remote town to scout for filming. We basically drove around and didnt know what we were looking for, Thompson explains, And you can stand at one end of town and see the other end of town. I think thats the thing that really made us love this town, was that you physically saw yourself arriving and leaving all within a couple of minutes. As a production designer, Thompson was drawn to Roys rustic charm. One of the things I love about Roy is that it has a water tower. And everywhere you are you see the water tower. So theres an identifying feature that makes it feel like a small town.
The question of where the cast and crew would live while shooting in Roy was answered by executive producer, Anthony Katagas: Well set up all the trailers in the parking lot of the high school and live there. And you can either shower in your trailer or you can shower in the high school gym. And thats what they did, setting up a summer-camp-like atmosphere that came to be called Camp Roy.
Character Quote: Luckily I called ahead and got us a table by the mayonnaise. ~Paul Morgan (Hugh Grant)