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MOVIE 43

"Happy Birthday" as told by John Penotti
Happy Birthday
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Cast: Gerard Butler, Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott  

As told by producer John Penotti:

As I recall it, (Charlie) Wessler screamed to me to his imaginary assistant ..."Get (Brett) Ratner on the phone!  He's the only guy who's able to do this!" And so it was to be. Brett immediately dove in, honing the script, and then hand picking his cast.  Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville perfectly fit as on- screen roommates - being that off screen they have long been great friends. Each of them fully immersed themselves in the twisted tale.  Most fun was to decide who would be the brave soul willing to be shrunk into a tiny leprechaun. Gerard Butler casually agreed, "Sure, sounds like fun. But I'll need an accent coach. I'm a Scotsman and this little fucker has an Irish accent."
 
 This was our longest and most complicated shoot. The body of the little leprechaun you see in the chair during the entire film is a little person actor named Gabriel Pimentel.  (Stunt work was done by another expert little person named Martin Klebba).  He was amazing and frankly very small. So Johnny and Seann spent two days acting out their scenes with this guy. But on the last day of the shoot, Butler was brought in to sit in front of a green screen to act out and match every body movement that Gabriel had done in the two days earlier. Brett would tell Gerard to move a little to your left and, "When you say the word 'balls' shake your head a little." Highly detailed work but necessary to be able to get the performance perfectly attuned.
 
 Pete, Charlie and John are extremely grateful for all the actors' contribution, and even more for Brett's tireless pursuit of excellence.

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