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Casting The Film
The filmmakers say that from the very beginning they had pictured Sigourney Weaver as the Warden for her ability to combine femininity and toughness that would give the character her edge. "I was searching for a woman who could be both sweet and tough enough to paint her nails with rattlesnake venom,” says director Andrew Davis. "Who could possibly fit the bill? Well, how about Ripley from ‘Alien?'” 

"My daughter read Holes when she was eight and she loved it,” says Weaver. "It was the first book she really fell in love with. She said, ‘There's this awful woman in it named The Warden and you should play her,'” she laughs. 

"What I love about Louis Sachar's story is how he weaves together the three stories into one,” says Weaver. "There's the story of the curse, and how that came to be; and then, there's the story of how the curse is broken, 100 years later; and then, there's the middle story of Sam and Kate. All of these are situations in which love and decency win out over cruelty and greed.” 

"The thing I found interesting about the Warden is that she hides her power,” Weaver continues. "She's very soft-spoken. If one of the boys questions her orders, she doesn't get angry – it's just, ‘Excuse me?' She has a tremendous presence among these kids. 

"There's no one like Andy Davis,” says Weaver of her director. "He took so much responsibility for every single person's welfare. He kept everything in his mind – from the camera shots to the performances right down to the sunblock, hats, and water for the cast and crew. He was simultaneously open to your ideas and at the same time completely in charge. He was an ideal director.” 

Mr. Sir, the ornery overseer of the camp, is played by Jon Voight. Voight's transformation into Mr. Sir not only involved a physical transformation – he added a ten-pound body pad (for that extra girth around the waist) and several hours in the hair and make-up chair to affix a pompadour style wig and pencil-thin moustache – but in personality as well, creating a caricature of a villain that also manages to be a three-dimensional character. Voight comments, "Mr. Sir is described pretty well in the book; he looks like he would be an inmate in another circumstance. It's always fun to do something people have an expectation for and then to see if you can match it with your imagination and portray it properly.” 

Sachar, who was on hand to watch the filming, found a special joy in watching Voight portray the larger than- life Mr. Sir. "I couldn't have asked for anyone better than Jon Voight to play Mr. Sir. He takes a character that could have easily been just a caricature on screen and rounds him out until he's just like you picture him in your head. Each of the actors added a lot, but Jon Voight's impromptu dialogue had me in stitches… it was often funnier than anything I thought of.” 

"The kids got very inspired by having Jon around – and vice versa,” says Davis. "I think the kids really learned something, watching him create his character, which was really quite remarkable – he's created this ornery Texan who's both very funny and very scary at the same time. Jon Voight is not only a genius, but also a prince.” 

"That guy has presence,” says Shia LaBeouf, who plays Stanley. "You know what I'm saying? You walk on the set, and it's his set. The first time I saw him, I just zoned out – I was just staring at him and watching him work. He's a master.” 

For the ersatz psychiatrist Dr. Pendanski, the filmmakers cast Tim Blake Nelson, who was attracted to the project by the hopeful elements within the story. He comments, "This film is affirming in the best possible way. It's a story about an innocent boy who through no fault of his own is put into a horrible predicament…and, simply by behaving time and time again in a manner which he feels is right, regardless of the

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