Father of the Bride 's Chloe Fineman shares advice she got from Gloria Estefan: 'Keep that ass up'

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·6 min read
Father of the Bride 's Chloe Fineman shares advice she got from Gloria Estefan: 'Keep that ass up'
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Saturday Night Live's Chloe Fineman is used to the pressure of putting together a comedy show in a matter of days, mastering tricky impressions within hours, and doing it all in front of an audience of millions. But in HBO Max's new Father of the Bride, set and shot in Florida, she faced a different challenge.

"When we got to Star Island, it was 100 degrees and there was no wind," Fineman recalls. "And I had to sit in a cop car because that had the best air conditioning."

Still, it didn't take Fineman long to fall in love, not just with her cast mates but with the Latino-centric city of Miami itself. "I want to live in Miami forever after that movie," she says.

(L-R) ANDY GARCIA as Billy and CHLOE FINEMAN as Natalie Vance in Warner Bros. Pictures' and HBO Max’s "FATHER OF THE BRIDE.” (PRESS KIT)
(L-R) ANDY GARCIA as Billy and CHLOE FINEMAN as Natalie Vance in Warner Bros. Pictures' and HBO Max’s "FATHER OF THE BRIDE.” (PRESS KIT)

Warner Bros.

Fineman takes on the role made famous by Martin Short in the 1991 version of the movie — that of the eccentric wedding planner who helps a stuffy father give his daughter the wedding of her dreams. (In HBO's new version, Andy García takes on the title role, while musical legend Gloria Estefan plays his modern-day wife, hoping to kick her husband into the 21st century.) For Fineman, it's only the beginning of a recent foray into big-screen work; later this year, she'll be seen in Damien Chazelle's golden-age-of-Hollywood epic Babylon.

EW spoke with Fineman about updating the character, what it was like working with Andy García and Gloria Estefan, and some particularly shrewd advice she got from the latter.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Father of the Bride is one of those classics that everyone knows, whether it's the Elizabeth Taylor version from 1950 or the Steve Martin and Diane Keaton remake. Was it intimidating taking on Martin Short's Francke?

CHLOE FINEMAN: Obviously, I'm a huge fan of Nancy Meyers [co-screenwriter on the 1991 version], but I really felt like this was such a modern, relatable interpretation of it. I felt free to make my wedding planner younger — she's this wayward millennial. And I thought that was really fun, in contrast with Andy García's stubborn, traditional father. They're huge shoes to fill, but I feel like this is a modern take and I feel really excited by that.

Did you approach the character similarly to how you would form an impression, or was it a whole different method for you?

I always like to think of an impression as a character, but I did do the classic Chloe move of watching a ton of Netflix and taking notes. And some YouTube videos and whatever I can on Instagram. Who are these modern wedding planners? And I definitely was obsessed with The Home Edit at the time, and tried to use that somehow, with planning and organizing. Like a wanna-be organized person.

What was it like working with Andy García? He's known for more serious roles.

It was an absolute blast. I call him "love-of-my-life Andy García" to everyone I talk to. I know a lot of mom friends, and they were all like: "Andy García? Wow, wow, wow!" But he was hilarious. Shooting still in a pandemic, we really did become a family, and I laughed and laughed. And he taught me how to smoke a Cuban cigar. So, that was a personal highlight. Nothing like Andy García telling you, "Don't inhale."

(L-R) CASEY THOMAS BROWN as Kyler and CHLOE FINEMAN as Natalie Vance in Warner Bros. Pictures' and HBO Max’s "FATHER OF THE BRIDE.” (PRESS KIT)
(L-R) CASEY THOMAS BROWN as Kyler and CHLOE FINEMAN as Natalie Vance in Warner Bros. Pictures' and HBO Max’s "FATHER OF THE BRIDE.” (PRESS KIT)

Claudette Barius/Warner Bros.

What about Gloria? She's an icon and she's got such great comedic timing.

Obviously an icon and you're like, Holy cow, I'm with Gloria Estefan. But she's the most down-to-earth, lovely, hilarious person. She really had me howling. Especially when we got to Miami, we were in Gloria's town and she couldn't be more welcoming and wonderful, and taught us to dance and gave me my favorite life advice ever. We were like, "Gloria, what's the one piece of advice you would give us?" And it was, "Keep that ass up." And that's just who Gloria is.

"Keep that ass up"?

"Keep that ass up." I was like, "What do you mean?" And she's like, "Well, as you get older, it falls." And she was telling me to squat. And she's not wrong, but that's Gloria. I'm going to make it on a T-shirt, or a pillow.

Usually when I'm interviewing someone Latino, they're the only Latino in the cast. This time it's different: You were one of the few non-Latinos cast in Father of the Bride. What was that like? Was it a learning experience?

Totally. I was an honorary member and it was heaven. I definitely felt like there was an overlap with Jewish culture and Cuban culture, where it's a big family, a lot of eating and drinking and laughing. And so that felt really familiar. But it was really special to be brought into this family. And we'd have these big dinners every night and someone would cover the bill and I was like, "What the heck?" And then, the next person would cover the bill. And it was a lot of dancing and music and it was just the best. It's something I'll cherish forever.

Who was the one teaching you salsa dancing?

Honey, of course it was Gloria. And Andy had some moves too. It was crazy to be working on a movie and then, the night before shooting, you're just learning to smoke a cigar and dance.

Because you're such a great impressionist, I have to ask, do you have impressions of Andy and Gloria?

You know me, I always have little impressions up my sleeve when the time is ready.

Ooh. So maybe we'll see some of them on SNL?

Maybe. I don't know about SNL. But maybe after some tequila or what have you, I'll do my little thing.

Speaking of SNL, you do that really fantastic sketch, "The Understudy," in which you perform impressions of cast members in front of them. Has it changed in meaning for you now that a few of them have left the show, like Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant?

Yeah. It was really special. I was surprised — you never know when people are leaving. In that finale, I was a mess. You just don't believe it until you see it. And that was a really emotional episode. And then, looking back, I'm like, Wow, how special that they let me do that this year and that all those women were so game, because not everyone's always game.

Who was the hardest to nail the impression of?

Elizabeth Olsen came on … that was the first time I met her. I'd never done an impression of her. I had an hour to figure it out, and it was really terrifying to be like, "Hello, nice to meet you, you talk like this." It's the worst way to meet somebody. Luckily, she was really nice and great about it.

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