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About The Production (Cont'd)
Casting Lily Tomlin as Russ' wisecracking, no-nonsense assistant, Janet, was Turteltaub's idea and one producer Hunt Lowry describes as "a stroke of genius."

"We had thought of everyone in the world to play Janet. Different people, different ways to go and when Jon suggested Lily Tomlin, we all just looked at him and said ‘she's perfect.'"

"Lily was everything we needed in Janet," says Turteltaub. "It's such a terrific role, but one that could easily be misplayed. I wanted someone who, first and foremost, would understand the subtlety in the humor and thought Lily would be perfect. Not only is she brilliantly funny, but she also has such dignity and a soft human vulnerability that make her a real person."

"We were so lucky to have Lily Tomlin in the film," says Willis. "She's very funny in the movie and she really brings something to it that no other actor could have. She perfectly understood the character of Janet."

A long-time fan of Tomlin, Turteltaub confesses his anxiety about meeting her the first day on the set. "I was so nervous about Lily Tomlin. I remember seeing her show on Broadway and thinking, ‘There is nothing better than this'," recalls Turteltaub. "And much to my wonderful surprise she's not just humble and sweet, but she was just as nervous on her first day as I was! I turned to her and said, ‘You are the comic genius here, you were on ‘Laugh-In,'—you tell me what's funny.' And of course, she was amazing in every scene."

"Jon was so terrific," says Tomlin of Turteltaub. "He's playful and such a big kid himself, that he creates complete ease on the set. It was a wonderful experience."

Having recently worked with Jean Smart on "Guinevere," screenwriter Audrey Wells knew exactly who she pictured for the role of Deirdre Lafever and wrote the part with Smart in mind. A straight-forward, sweet-talking southerner, Deirdre has a chance encounter with Russ Duritz on a flight to Los Angeles and gets some free image advice from him before starting her new position as a local newscaster.

"Deirdre is one of those eccentric people who's really chatty, and not afraid to share her opinion about anything to anybody," laughs Smart about her character. "She is definitely not the kind of person you want to be sitting next to on an airplane, especially if you are in a bad mood!"

"Jean is so unbelievable and added so many great nuances in every line," says Turteltaub of Smart's performance. "There was something so clever and wise about her, which made Bruce respond in the same way."

Chi McBride stars as Russ' client Kenny, the boxing heavyweight champion of the world, who Russ insists give some boxing tips to Rusty to change his image and help protect himself from the school bullies. "Chi McBride is my new hero," says Turteltaub. "One of his scenes called for him to throw a sling of insults at Russ' character and Chi asked if he could deviate from the script and make up a few of his own. So, I just let the camera run as he did a ten-minute monologue of some of the most hilarious material I have ever heard—most of it unusable because you can hear the entire crew laughing hysterically in the background!"

Rounding out the cast are veteran actors Dana Ivey and Daniel Von Bargen starring in key supporting ro

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