Well, 15 years went by in a new york minute.
While Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were walking the red carpet a the 2019 Met Gala on Monday night, 15 years ago, they were celebrating the premiere of New York Minute.
Though the 32-year-old fraternal twins are now fashion moguls, rarely stepping out at major events, they were once the most famous teenagers in the world after turning their early success on Full House into a billion-dollar empire.
Thanks to the success of their straight-to-DVD movies (released through their own production company, Dualstar), TV shows, and clothing line, the sisters have ranked on Forbes‘ list of America’s Wealthiest Celebrities since they were 16 and have an estimated combined net worth of around $300 million.
But New York Minute was a big swing for Mary-Kate and Ashley back in 2004…and their last Hollywood hurrah, though their devoted fans didn’t know it at the time.
Before they decided to go to NYU and retreat from the public eye, New York Minute marked the Olsens first starring roles on the big screen since their 1995 film It Takes Two, which they filmed when they were eight years old.
After that, Mary-Kate and Ashley starred in 20 straight-to-DVD releases, including their popular You’re Invited franchise, along with two TV series, Two of a Kind and So Little Time, as well as an animated TV series. Given their obsessive following (Guilty as charged!), a return to the big screen seemed like a no-brainer for the sisters as they approached their 18th birthday.
But New York Minute ended up flopping in a major way, before going on to become a campy relic of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s acting careers now that they are celebrated fashion designers. In honor of the movie, which would end up being one of the sister’s last acting roles ever, we’re heading back to the Big Apple to reveal some surprising facts you might not know about the twins’ final movie together…
This is the last time Mary-Kate and Ashley ever appeared in a film together, and the last movie Ashley would ever act in, though no one knew it at the time.
“We had done straight to videos for so long and [New York Minute] was a bigger movie and it was a great family film and it was something we wanted to accomplish before we went off to college,” Ashley said on New Zealand’s Holmes. “I don’t know if it will be the last project Mary-Kate and I do together, but we wanted to make a great family film and I think that’s what we accomplished.”
Of course, it ended up being Ashley’s final acting role.
“I don’t like to be the center of attention anymore,” she told Elle UK. “It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in Hollywood. I like the way it operates, I like the people who are involved and the sense of possibility. But if I ever get back in, it’s not going to be as an actress.”
Mary-Kate would go on to star in Beastly, her last onscreen role, in 2011, though she once expressed in interest in taking on more dramatic roles.
“It’s a lot of pressure, and I’d rather not get in the mix of it,” Mary-Kate told W Magazine of looking forward to not having to take on the responsibilities of a producer on a project. “I want to be directed, I want to be pushed. To be just an actress in a movie is one of my goals.”
Box Office Disappointment
Despite their massive straight-to-video empire, that success failed to translate to the big screen. In its opening weekend, NYM made just $5.9 million, going in to gross just over $14 million. That tally gave it the record for an honor you don’t want: the lowest grossing film ever released in over 3,000 theaters.
“We were really disappointed,” director Dennie Gordon told People later. “They were incredibly mature about it. They said, ‘OK, I guess we can’t open a movie just yet. Next!'”
First Kiss Pressure
Two future CW hunks played Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s love interests in the movie: Supernatural star Jared Padalecki, fresh off of his Gilmore Girls run, romanced Roxy (MK) as the son of a Senator, and Riley Smith‘s bike messenger wooed Ashley’s Jane.
While the teens had experienced on-screen kisses before, this was their first kiss in a feature film. So the pressure was on for the guys and Padalecki admitted to feeling it.
“You try and play it cool and downplay it and then you brad about it to your friends for days and days and days,” he said in an interview with Tribute Canada. “It is a little nerve-wrecking, especially because it’s their first one so you don’t want to mess it up for them…it was a fun little experience. She’s huge, the pressure is on.”
Good thing Padalecki didn’t know that it would likely be the only scene she would even watch from the movie, as Mary-Kate revealed in an Extra interview they tend to not watch anything that they do. “We’re very critical of ourselves,” Ashley explained.
“We usually just watch the kissing scenes to make sure they look OK,” Mary-Kate then said. “There are certain scenes you care about.”
Someone who couldn’t handle the pressure of a kissing scene with an Olsen twin? Riley Smith, who admitted to E! News at the film’s premiere that his on-screen kiss with Ashley “was actually supposed to be a big long kiss, but I actually got nervous and made it a peck! I screwed up!”
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Learning New Skills
Because her character drove an old VW Beetle, Mary-Kate had to learn how to drive stick shift…and it didn’t exactly go well.
“I thought I had it down when we were practicing and then they put me in an old car, an old bug, I could hardly reach the pedals,” she said in an old interview. “The clutch wouldn’t go in all the way, it was stalling. I couldn’t start it, couldn’t stop the car.” (A few of her stalled attempts made it into the film’s blooper reel.)
As for Ashley, she had to learn some Mandarin Chinese, saying, “I memorized it and it was really great because I didn’t have to go over it again in editing.”
Mary-Kate and Ashley assembled quite the line-up of supporting players for the film, including Andrea Martin, Darrell Hammond, Andy Richter and American Pie and Best in Show standout Eugene Levy.
“We got lucky! We had people in mind,” Mary-Kate told E! News during a set visit at the time, with Ashley adding, “‘Wouldn’t it be great to have Eugene Levy?’ and that actually said yeah and it’s turning out great.”
Levy, who co-created and stars on the beloved comedy Schitt’s Creek, in particular had a big role, playing Max Lomax, a truant officer chasing after the girls. In an interview with Coming Soon, Levy revealed he made some changes to the character after being cast, showing off an impressive level of thought and care for Max.
“As he was scripted, Max was written a little on the broader side, with him going undercover and constantly showing up in different outfits,” Levy said. “I suggested making him plain clothes and giving him an office in his basement. He doesn’t make much money, he always wanted to be a cop and never made it. That grounds the character, and that’s what I like in whatever I’m involved with. There has to be some sort of emotional grounding in the character. If I can see great comic potential in something, even it’s not on the page and I think it can be if they’re willing to make some changes, that is how these things work for me.”
Fun fact: Sarah Levy, his daughter who is also on Schitt’s Creek, makes a quick appearance in the movie during the concert scene at the end. And no, Dan Levy is not in the film.
A Plan to Get Simple Plan
The Canadian rock band was tapped to play themselves, with their concert being the big set piece at the end of the movie. “We like their music and they’re fun guys,” Mary-Kate said. “They add a lot to the movie.”
“The whole way we approached it was that we heard that they liked our band and they called and said, ‘Do you want to be in our movie?'” drummer Chuck Comeau told Chart magazine in 2005. “And for us it was a chance to play live concert in a movie. We don’t really discriminate who we play in front of and it gave us a chance to do what we do—which is play live in front of a bunch of people.”
There wasn’t much time for the crew to hang with Mary Kate and Ashley though, as Chuck said, “We tried to buy them lunch, but they weren’t having any of it.” Bassist David Desrosiers did add, “Mary Kate tried my bubble tea.”
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Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Scleroderma Research Foundation
A Full House Surprise
Bob Saget, the twins’ Full House dad, makes a brief-but-memorable cameo in the film. When they are forced to run through New York City in their hotel bathrobes, they run past Danny Tanner himself, who turns and stares at them.
“We thought it would be really funny, “Ashley told Extra of Saget’s quick appearance. “We thought it would bring back memories for other people with watching Full House.”
Plus, it allowed them to show off a bit of humility, with Mary-Kate saying, “We like to poke fun of ourselves and what we’ve done. It’s appropriate.”
L. Cohen/ Contributor/Getty Images
Tanner Family Reunion
While Saget was the only Full House cast member to land a cameo in the movie, many Tanner family members came out to support the twins at the New York Minute premiere.
Onscreen sisters Candace Cameron Bure and Jodie Sweetin, Dave Coulier (Uncle Joey), Scott Weinger (‘Sup, Steve?) and Aunt Becky herself Lori Loughlin all joined Saget on the red carpet.
Blast From the Past
Some of the notable names that walked the New York Minute premiere red carpet in 2004? Captain Marvel and Madison Montgomery!
That’s right, before Brie Larson won her Oscar and became the most powerful Avenger she popped up at the premiere when she was 14 years old, and she actually has a surprising tie to the Olsens: she also played Bob Saget’s onscreen daughter, starring alongside him in 2001’s short-lived sitcom Raising Dad.
American Horror Story star Emma Roberts, whose TV show Unfabulous was months away from premiering on Nickelodeon, making Julia Roberts‘ niece a star in her own right.
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Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Speaking of on-screen dads, the twins tapped Dr. Drew Pinksy to play their dad, making the character a doctor.
While he’s done some acting before—a quick appearance on Dawson’s Creek, for example—New York Minute was the TV doc’s first major role and he had no choice but to take it.
“I couldn’t refuse this job, I have an 11-year-old daughter!” he told E! News at the premiere. Are you kidding?!”
Jack Osbourne’s Cameo Explained
No, he didn’t play himself, as Ozzy and Sharon Obsourne‘s son was cast to play Roxie’s music manager in the film.
“We had this idea that there needed to be a manager in the movie to represent Mary-Kate and since in real life Jack manages people, we thought it would be a perfect guest appearance for him,” Ashley explained to AOL. “It was great, he was the nicest guy. We had the best time.”
Mary-Kate added, “We want really good cameo parts and it was perfect, Jack is a manager and he came along and it was really fun.”
John Parra/Getty Images for Clear Channel
Sorry, Avril Lavigne, but it sounds like the sisters weren’t exactly obsessed with your 2002 hit single Complicated, one of the most popular songs of that year (including spending 16 weeks at No. 1.)
The song plays an integral part in the script, as Mary-Kate’s character decides to quote the lyrics when she has to deliver an impromptu speech, but it wasn’t an easy scene for the 17-year-old to nail.
“I had to learn my lines for that actually! I had to buy the CD right before and I was just learning it,” she admitted to E! News at a junket for the movie.
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Art Imitating Life
Like in some of their previous films (like Winning London and The Challenge), Mary-Kate and Ashley play twin sisters who couldn’t be more different, in terms of their personalities and sense of styles. New York Minute found them playing their most polar opposite characters yet: The straight-laced Oxford University hopeful Jane (Ashley) and the boho-chic wannabe rockstar Roxy (Mary-Kate).
“They are very different people and they have very different styles, so we tried to develop the script to go with their natural style of comedy,” producer Denise DiNovi said. “Ashley is a little more serious and a little more buttoned up, and Mary-Kate is a little bit looser and a little more bohemian. It sort of lent itself to the character. The wonderful things about them in life we tried to have fun with in the movie.”
While the sisters denied they were playing exaggerated versions of themselves in the movie, Ashley explained, “They were characters we knew and were comfortable with. We had other responsibilities on this movie so we decided to stick with what was comfortable.”
Rabbani and Solimene Photography/WireImage
Like on all of their projects, the Olsens served as executive producers on New York Minute. But it was definitely a learning experience for the teens to produce a major studio film.
“we’ve learned a lot about politics with this movie!” Ashley told E! News at the time, with Mary-Kate continuing, “We know how to work with certain people…we’ve learned a lot.”
For Ashley, the control was “great because if you don’t like a line you can change it…everything, you have a say in everything.”
But they were open to suggestions from others and listening to their cast and crew, with Riley Smith explaining, “It was great because I actually got to tell them what I wanted. I didn’t like my wardrobe and I went, ‘Yo Ash, I don’t like the wardrobe,’ and they were like, ‘OK done, changed!’ It was almost better because they were so cool.”
Everyone involved praised their professionalism, with Dr. Drew Pinksy telling us at the premiere, “These young women are serious pros. They get up, they’re there are 6 in the morning, never grumble about anything and they are on top of things and they work as long as the law will allow them to work. Then they bring someone from Make-a-Wish in and then they go to school.”
Private Struggle Revealed
Having grown up literally in front of the world, beginning their careers when they were just nine months old on Full House, Mary-Kate and Ashley were role models to young girls, with the pressure only building as they neared their 18th birthday.
“It’s like everyone’s waiting for us to mess up and that’s what they’ve been focusing on and we’re just focusing on growing up and living our lives,” Mary-Kate told E! News on the set.
“We’re human beings,” Ashley added.
But a ew weeks after New York Minute‘s release, it was reported that Mary-Kate, just shy of her 18th birthday, had entered a facility to seek treatment related to an eating disorder.
“This is a challenge that Mary-Kate has made a decision to face,” her rep at the time told People. “This is a challenge she will meet.”
Prior to her decision to seek treatment, Mary-Kate had poked fun at the public’s focus on her weight when the sisters hosted Saturday Night Live; in one sketch, she played a paparazzi photographer who shouted, “Mary-Kate, you’re so skinny—eat a sandwich!”
The teen had hid her struggle from the world, including everyone on the set of New York Minute. “I didn’t see the signs of [an eating disorder],” director Dennie Gordon told the magazine. “I had a lot of meals with her, and it didn’t seem there was anything wrong.”
Dr. Drew, who played their father, said, “She was the sweetest of the two. But I didn’t notice anything. She hid it well.”
Mary-Kate has never publicly spoken about her reported eating disorder, but somewhat opened up about seeking help in 2008 interview with Elle magazine.
“I think it’s important that what anybody goes through—and I’m not saying that it’s true or not true—you realize it’s part of growing up,” she said. “Everybody is going to go through hard times. It’s a part of life. I think the hardest part to get to is that point of asking for help or reaching out to other people and being honest with yourself.”
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