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WHEN ZACHARY BEAVER
CAME TO TOWN

About The Production (Continued)
"The cast came together just fantastically on this movie,” says producer Amy Robinson. Eric Stoltz, Kevin Corrigan, and Jane Krakowski play adult roles in a kid-centered story, which rests largely on the young, but highly talented shoulders of Jonathan Lipnicki, Sasha Neulinger and Cody Linley, who are, ‘the nicest, sweetest, most talented boys,' to quote Robinson.

And what does the book's author have to say about the casting of her fictional characters? Both Lipnicki and Robinson recall that when Kimberly Willis Holt came to the set, she gave the cast the ultimate compliment, commenting that Lipnicki and his friends looked exactly like she had imagined them in her mind, and she was very happy.

Holt elaborates: "When I heard that Jonathan Lipnicki was playing Toby, right away I thought he was a perfect match. I wasn't familiar with the other boys, but as soon as I saw Sasha and Cody speak their lines, I knew they were meant for those roles. They blew me away. And when Lou Perryman, who plays Ferris, mentioned that another, more known actor had been considered for his role, I told him that although I liked that actor's work, he (Lou) was Ferris. The costume director showed me pictures of the other cast members and I was amazed at how much they reminded me of the people in my book.”

Eric Stoltz, like many involved in this project, needed no prodding to come on board as Otto Wilson, Lipnicki's father in the film. "Eric read the script by chance and came to us interested in the role, so he was clearly ‘into' it,” remembers Schultz. "That was a great thing, to have such a talent connecting with the material - he elevated the whole enterprise. And any actor who has directed, such as Eric, is a treat because they really understand the nuances of the chaos on set. And, Eric loves working with children and is very patient.”

To play Toby's (Lipnicki's) mother Heather Wilson, (the aspiring country/western singer who leaves town to make it big in Nashville), the filmmakers cast Jane Krakowski. Schultz explains "I wanted a Heather who the audience would miss, and Jane did a great job making a strong impact early in the film. When she leaves, we notice. Plus, Jane and Eric could easily be Jonathan's parents - they made a genetically believable family!”

Schultz was happy to reunite with actor Kevin Corrigan who was cast as the colorful and quirky Paulie, guardian and business manager to the one-man side show which is Zachary Beaver. "I've wanted to work with Kevin Corrigan again ever since he starred in my first film, Bandwagon. We are friends - which immediately makes communicating better. He loved the character, and brought a hilarious contrast to the Texas setting.”

Schultz beams: "I was so fortunate with the kid casting, because the adults mentioned above were so talented, that the young actors had a lot to measure up to...and they did!” A young, but seasoned star, Jonathan Lipnicki, plays Toby Wilson, the story's hero, through whose eyes we witness this unusual and unforgettable summer unfold. "Jonathan is a unique performer. He is totally unselfconscious and gives a director many surprises,” says Schultz. "And he is also very funny, a great physical comedian. Jonathan is serious about acting, and very professional, but still a regular kid. He connected a lot with Toby, and always had ideas. I used many of them - I mean, after all, he really is a 12-year-old kid.”

Newcomer Sasha Neulinger plays Zachary Beaver, the so-called ‘fattest boy in the world.' "What a find!” says Schultz, "This kid is hilarious and very, very talented. Sasha has an amazing intuition, as if he has been acting on camera for years. It's weird.” Together, Lipnicki's Toby and Neulinger's Zachary are so funny to watch that you can't help but think of them as "a young Laurel and Hardy,” observes Robinson.

Cody Linley completes th

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