'Vacation' Reunites Griswolds at L.A. Premiere

Vacation LA Premiere - H 2015
AP Images

Vacation LA Premiere - H 2015

The film features Ed Helms and Christina Applegate along with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.

Ed Helms, Christina Applegate and Chris Hemsworth premiered their modern day Vacation at the Regency Village Theatre Monday night in Los Angeles.

Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo, who reprise their roles as Clark and Ellen Griswold, posed with the old time truckster station wagon used in the original 1983 hit film. The car was parked alongside the new high tech van that Helms totes his family.

"We had to be smart about the audiences today, the kind of humor, what takes place on vacations in the modern day and also the technology and the different things that go into it like the car in the movie," said producer Chris Bender. "I’ve gone through two family cars and I don’t know what half the stuff is in these cars so we kind of wanted to play on that."

Applegate told The Hollywood Reporter that her goal was not necessarily to channel her inner Ellen Griswold, but to capture the essence of the family vacation. 

"That would be sacrilegious because there is no one like Clark and Ellen Griswold," said Applegate. "We would never try to improve upon or have the audacity or think that we could. It just always looked like they were having such a good time — why can’t we? We just wanted to have a good time and pay homage to people that we really respected and were influenced by."

The spinoff film to National Lampoon’s Vacation follows Rusty Griswold (Helms) — now all grown up — as he sets out to take his wife Debbie (Applegate) and kids on a similar road trip he took with his family as a kid to Walley World theme park. The cross country trip ends up becoming more troublesome than expected, featuring cameos from Keegan-Michael KeyCharlie DayLeslie Mann and Chase himself. 

With multiple actors representing Rusty Griswold in the previous National Lampoon films, Helms said that Chase gave him enough inspiration by simply being himself on set. 

"The best thing he did was just give me a high five when we met," joked Helms. "That was the biggest affirmation of my life. When we were shooting together I made him laugh once or twice and that was just like I’m done. I can die happy now. That was a momentous thing for me."

Steele Stebbins, who plays Rusty’s youngest and potty-mouthed son Kevin Griswold, said his parents were fully aware of his cuss-word filled script before he took the role. 

"At first they thought it was pretty funny as long as I didn’t bring the swearing home," said Stebbins. "For the first month it was really weird. It was like 'did I say that correctly?' Then after a month it was just normal. The 'S' word might slip now and then, but I haven’t had any huge slips yet."

Although the reboot contains references from National Lampoon’s original hit, directors/screenwriters Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley’s new film doesn’t include the name of the once popular brand.

"Someone wanted to have the National Lampoon brand associated with the movie," said Bender. "National Lampoon isn’t relevant to today’s audience, which is a shame because it’s a wonderful brand. It would have been deceptive to do so."

As Helms’ character says in the film, "this Vacation stands on its own."

Following the screening, the cast of the film, along with Liam Hemsworth and Kate Walsh, enjoyed their own Walley World as the surrounding Westwood street was blocked off for a block party. 

Vacation hits theaters on July 29.