The romantic comedy, about an obsessed Sox fan (Jimmy Fallon) who has to choose between the girl he loves (Drew Barrymore) and the team he loves, ended at the end of a typical Sox season with a "wait till next year" moment. When the miracle happened, though, the directors, the writers and the rest of the cast and crew decided to make the ending timelier, and the group had a ball in the process.
"I fell in love with the team and with the sport," says Barrymore. "I feel fortunate that it was about the Red Sox. When they started winning, I became superstitious. I started thinking, what if this WAS the year? And then I told myself, ‘No, stop thinking that, you’re going to jinx them!’"
Fallon, a co-owner of a baseball team based out of Brockton, Mass., says he has always been a general fan of the sport.
"The first thing I ever wanted to be was a baseball player, and then I hit puberty," he says with a smile. The New York-born Fallon, now in the midst of a budding movie career after six years on "Saturday Night Live," seemed to gain new respect for Boston. Much of the film was shot there.
"Massachusetts is a great sports place," he says. "Boston is beyond baseball. When the Red Sox won the World Series, I don’t think the fans thought, ‘We got a trophy.’ I think they thought, ‘I have to call my dad.’"
Barrymore also seemed to enjoy filming in Boston. Many of the scenes in the film take place at the Sox’s home field, historic Fenway Park. In fact, in one scene, Barrymore’s character runs out on the field and has to dodge players and security guards.
"Being on the Fenway grass with bare feet was incredible," she says. "We were there with real fans and real players on the field. I think you feel that authenticity when you watch it."
It might be surprising to learn that the Boston-born Farrelly brothers made a romantic comedy, but as Barrymore describes, "I think they were looking to reinvent themselves. I was excited to see that they have a different side." Barrymore and Fallon agree that the Farrellys had a great passion for both the romance and the Red Sox plots.
Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Robots), the film’s writers, say they were going for romantic comedy first and sports movie second. And although much has been said about the change in the end, Ganz and Mandel insist it was no big deal.
"The big rewrite is a little overrated," Mandel says. "It really was absolutely about a generic Red Sox season. We didn’t make specific references to the end until the climax. The low point was the traditional Red Sox low point, that the season’s over."
As history was being rewritten, however, the Farrelly brothers decided they had to be there to capture the moment. As a result, after the Red Sox went up three games to none in the World Series, Barrymore says the directors scrambled to get a jet at the last moment to fly everyone to St. Louis for Game 4.
"We wore our scene clothes and put on our makeup on the plane," Fallon says. They made it in time for the game, and Fallon says there were HD cameras on them in the stands at all times.
"When they got to one out away," Fallon recalls, "I looked over at Drew, and I thought, this is gonna happen." All of a sudden, the Red Sox had won the World Series, and some viewers of the game might have been able to spot Fallon and Barrymore on the field.
Barrymore jokes that some Red Sox fans might want to have them film during next season as well. Or maybe they should just make a movie about the Cubs.
Fever Pitch releases in theaters April 8.