Behind the Scenes at “The Dilemma”

The new romantic comedy “The Dilemma,” set in Chicago, features North Shore talent—Lake Forest native Vince Vaughn and Charlie Hilbrant of Winnetka, who gave us the scoop.

The movie, which also stars Winona Ryder, Jennifer Connelly and Channing Tatum, tells the story of best friends Ronny (Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James). Ronny finds out that Nick’s wife is cheating on him, and can’t decide whether or not to tell his best friend and business partner.

Scenes were shot in familiar Chicago places: Smith & Wollensky, a Blackhawks game at the United Center, Garfield Park Conservatory, The Green Mill and our iconic Lake Shore Drive, as well as many neighborhoods, such as the Loop, Wicker Park, Uptown, Ukrainian Village, Logan Square and Pilsen.

Winnetka native Charlie Hilbrant, 24, saw every take of the movie, as he was Vince’s stand-in, and also unexpectedly assumed the on-screen role of “Concession Fight Guy #1” in a bar fight scene. As a stand-in, Charlie assumed the same positions as Vince before the cameras rolled, helping the director, Ron Howard, create a lighting scheme, and also allowing crew members to get the cameras focused correctly.

Hilbrant sat down with Make It Better to talk about the movie.

MIB: Why should people go see this movie?

CH: Show me someone who hasn’t been on an El train considering a dilemma—that’s real stuff. If you’ve been around Chicago, you’re going to look at the scenes and think, ‘I’ve been there’—literally because of the location, and also because you can relate to the situations. And, it’s going to be a quotable movie. The crew was picking up one-liners the whole time.

MIB: What was the best part of working on the film?

CH: I got to drive a 1970 blue Dodge Challenger. It’s beautiful. Anyone who likes classic cars would appreciate that.

MIB: What was it like to work with Vince Vaughn?

CH: It was surreal. I’m just this kid from Winnetka! I’ve never been around anybody famous. To be in the same room with someone who’s made you laugh, sitting in the basement with your friends, is unreal.





He is so creative. You realize that to be that funny, you also have to be really smart. I watched Vince do a “free take” on many scenes—that’s where the funny, wise-guy Vince comes out, off the cuff—and you realize he is a comic genius.

A lot of actors can be standoffish or hostile to someone who’s not in the game. I didn’t try to be best friends with Vince, but he was very welcoming and warm.

MIB: What did you learn from working on the movie?

CH: It should be on everybody’s bucket list to be on a movie set at least once. It’s an eye-opening experience. I got lucky becoming a stand-in as opposed to just an extra. To go from no experience to working everyday with Ron Howard—that caliber of individual—was a gift.

And, I got really lucky, because I ended up having an on-screen role, as a guy in a bar fight. It was a Screen Actors’ Guild-eligible role, so I’m a member now and I have an agent. I’ve been taking acting classes. It opened my eyes to this being something that I could do as a career—though it would take a long time, and it’s not easy. If I never do anything else in the industry, I’ll still look back on this film as the experience of a lifetime.

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