AVALON—Catalina Island and Hollywood are connected in more ways than one. The non-native bison arrived on the island in 1924 as part of a silent film production and has remained there for generations. Zane Grey maintained a steady presence in Avalon, and Marilyn Monroe lived on the island before she made it big, as well. Of course, anyone who visits the island regularly knows about the murder of Natalie Wood. The young actress disappeared from the boat owned by her husband, actor Robert Wagner, and was eventually found dead at the Isthmus. (Christopher Walken, also an actor, was with the couple on the yacht.)
Those who have seen ‘Step Brothers’ will recognize another Catalina Island mainstay: the Catalina Wine Mixer.
The film’s final act is fictionally set in Avalon – with an equally fictionally event as the backdrop. Will Ferrell’s character organizes the Catalina Wine Mixer, which did not exist when the film hit silver screens in 2008. Audiences are led to believe the mixer is taking place somewhere on Catalina Island, when in reality the entire set was shot next to Trump National Golf Course at Rancho Palos Verdes. (A few scenes of Avalon Harbor, however, did make it into the film.)
Turns out Adam McKay, who directed ‘Step Brothers’ and co-wrote the film with Ferrell, was quite inspirational, as the fictional Catalina Wine Mixer became reality in 2015. It is now an annual event, taking place at Descanso Beach Club in Avalon. The event features live DJs, gourmet food, entertainment … and, of course, wine.
‘Step Brothers’ also features a boating element in one of its storylines. Richard Jenkins, who plays the father of John C. Reilly’s character in the film, owns a boat. The character intends to retire aboard his boat with his wife (played by Mary Steenburgen) and sail the South Pacific.
The boat is also used in the film as a prop in hip hop music video created by the characters played by Ferrell and Reilly.