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Necessity proved to be the "father" of invention when a screenwriter in between assignments used his stay-at-home-dad experiences as the inspiration for Revolution Studios' new family comedy Daddy Day Care starring Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King and Anjelica Huston, as well as a lovable bunch of four-year-old scene stealers.

"At the time, I was home watching my seven-month-old son because my wife had gone back to work full time," says Daddy Day Care scribe Geoff Rodkey. "As much as I loved him, I really didn't want to be spending all my waking hours taking care of him. I was talking to (producer) Wyck Godfrey, who also had small kids at home. We both decided that the idea of dads caring for kids was the perfect comic premise and I spent the next year working on it."

One of the veins to be mined in the situation, Godfrey mentions, "is the way men play with kids when their wives are not watching. It's chaos. Somehow it brings us back to our own childhoods."

According to executive producer Joe Roth, "Outside of the corporate world, these fathers are not in their element, and all of their training and experience doesn't mean a thing when they have to deal with a group of out-of-control four-year-olds."

Rodkey also touched on a subject that has never been addressed in movies, according to producer John Davis. "Most dads are fine with their kids when they're a little older, but we don't always know what to do with them when they're three or four years old," says Davis. "There's an inherent absurdity to having dads run a day care center that naturally makes it very funny. These guys don't have a clue what they're getting themselves into."

When the idea was conceived, Godfrey admits it sounded a bit far-fetched. But times have changed. "While we were developing the script the economy was on fire. We wondered how we could convince the audience that these two talented guys (Murphy and Garlin) would be laid off and not able to find work," he recalls. "By the time we were shooting the film, thousands of guys had lost their jobs and were home taking care of the kids."

As with such classic comedies as Mr. Mom and Three Men and a Baby, Eddie Murphy immediately saw the comedy potential in Daddy Day Care. "Whenever you take some guys who aren't used to nurturing and you see them go through that process of trying to be as good as a mom," says Murphy, "humor just comes out of those situations naturally."

And like those movies, Murphy saw the potential for some genuine sweetness. "When Eddie appears in a movie that's aimed at a young audience, a charm emerges that blends with his comedy style in a unique way," says producer Davis, who worked with Murphy on the Dr. Dolittle films. "Only a person who genuinely loves kids the way Eddie does can bring that across so effectively."

"Working with kids is all about reacting because they're so spontaneous and always doing the unexpected," says Roth. "And no one's better at reacting than Eddie."

Director Steve Carr first watched Murphy respond to talking animals in Dr. Dolittle 2. "There was family stuff in the movie and I noticed ho

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