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SECONDHAND LIONS

About The Production
Like many writers and their work, Tim McCanlies admits a great deal of the characters who appear in Secondhand Lions emerged from his own past. "As a kid I spent a lot of summers with my grandfather, who was a crusty character much like the uncles in the movie," he reflects. "But while my grandfather was tough, there was a real tender side that was buried under so many layers. He loomed large to me as a kid. And growing up with a good, strong male figure in their lives is what could make the difference in how a child grows up. I tried to figure out what it is that men teach boys and deal with that a little bit in the film."

Secondhand Lions follows the comedic adventures of an introverted boy named Walter (Haley Joel Osment), whose mother, Mae (Kyra Sedgwick), dumps him off, in the midst of a young life marked by broken promises, to spend the summer with his cranky, eccentric great uncles.

Two of cinema's most acclaimed actors, Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, play Garth and Hub McCann, the great uncles unexpectedly given a boy to watch over during one long Texas summer in the 1960's. Tim McCanlies describes Hub, played by Duvall, as one of those old people whose earlier exploits in life might surprise us. "Once that part of Hub's life was over, he came back to the house where he and his brother had grown up and was prepared to sit down and die. Garth, played by Michael Caine, has come back as well to look after his older brother. He doesn't really have anything else in his life right now."

For Hub, growing old is an uncomfortable proposition. "It's not that he's getting old; it bothers him because he's becoming useless," says Robert Duvall, adding that the uncles "feel useless, but they would like to be not useless. They would like to find other things. They talk about death and being old, but yet they try to stay active. Garth has these salesmen come out to supposedly sell them things, and they shoot at them with shotguns. Not to kill them, but to scare them off. That's the sport of the salesmen, to break the boredom of the day."

At first unnerved by his uncles' gruff, uncaring manner, Walter gradually begins to fit in with their lives, helping them tend a garden and care for their five mangy dogs and one pig, and eventually encouraging them to start spending some of the millions they're rumored to have stashed away before it's too late. Unfortunately, they're not smart shoppers and when they use some of their money to buy a lion to hunt, it turns out to be "secondhand" – tired, sick and useless.

Walter sees something in the lion nobody else does -- just as he sees more in his uncles than their money. When he stumbles upon an old photograph of a beautiful woman, Walter becomes fascinated by who his uncles were – rumored to be bank robbers, mafia hit men or Nazi war criminals, their past becomes a mystery for Walter to unravel.

Walter grills his uncle Garth about the woman in the picture and learns that her name was Jasmine and she was a princess that Hub met and fell in love with while the brothers served in the French Foreign Legion in North Africa. "Laced throughout the film are remembrances of the uncles as they were much younger, told to Walter and seen through his imagination," explains producer Corey Sienega. "These adventure sequences are seen in the style of old serials, films like The Thief of Baghdad with the pace of Indiana Jones. They are stories of great adventurers. Walter's not an adventurer, but th

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