The idea of a girls' trip through Italy is deeply appealing, so much so that a gang of movie stars orchestrated a sequel to 2018's Book Club to take one themselves. In Book Club: The Next Chapter, the four leads—played by Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen—leave their literary endeavors behind and embark on a bucket list trip to Rome and Venice as a bachelorette party of sorts. Director and co-writer Bill Holderman took the production to Italy, even for the scenes set in Los Angeles—the shoot was tricky, but memorable.
“We were there in summer,” Holderman says, “It was the heart of tourist season and like any major metropolitan area you have to deal with controlling crowds and controlling tourists. But it was also a great thing and super fun. Truthfully, filming in Italy was so much better than I expected. And my expectations were incredibly high.” Here, Holderman shares some of the locations used in Book Club: The Next Chapter, as well as where the cast and crew stayed and ate while in Europe.
Was the idea always to set the sequel in Italy?
Yes. The idea for the sequel actually began with Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen at a press event for the first movie. Before Book Club even came out and before anyone had talked about a sequel, they had masterminded the idea to do it in Italy.
What did Italy specifically bring to the story?
Italy has a very special, aspirational romanticism, not just in terms of romantic partnerships, but for the romance of friendship. It seemed like a great place for friends to go and bond and connect. And obviously, it's the biggest wine-producing country in the world, which for a book club, is very important. It's got so much history, it's so textured and it's beautiful. And all of those factors made it feel like not only was it a fun place to go, but also thematically it felt really resonant. We're also not going to hide the fact that it's a fun place to get to spend a few months making a movie!
Where did you base the production?