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Veteran producer Steven Reuther, who has guided three-dozen movies to the big screen during a stellar 30-year entertainment career (including four prior projects with Oscar®-winner Tommy Lee Jones), first optioned the Man of the House script about three years ago. The story's original writers, McLaughlin and Lobdell (penning their first Hollywood screenplay) had set their novel premise at a Virginia college, with the lead character an FBI agent.

"Man of the House is a real simple premise and great idea, something I hadn't seen before,” Reuther remarks. "I was in the mood to do something light and comedic and fun. This idea struck me as hysterical -- a Texas Ranger is charged with taking care of five cheerleaders because they've seen a murder. And along the way he has to deal with a shady preacher. It's a total fish-out-of-water story and a lot of fun all the way through.”

The heart of the comedy is a toughened lawman stepping into a completely alien world — that of college cheerleaders all living together in one house. "All you have to do is visualize someone like Tommy Lee Jones having to deal with five young, scantily clad women in a confined space and you get it,” says actress Kelli Garner, who plays one of the cheerleaders.

Director Stephen Herek, best known for the hit big-screen comedies 101 Dalmatians and Bill & Ted¹s Excellent Adventure, also found the juxtaposition of an irascible man's man being thrown into an estrogen-charged environment a natural comedy premise. But there was another element that attracted him, he says. "The story also examines the idea of daughters and fathers and family relationships. So, although he's thrown into the worst place he could possibly be in, as the story progresses, we watch a man who has grown crusty over the years rediscover his heart — which transforms his life.”

So beyond the very funny surface of the comedy Man of the House is also a story about fathers and daughters, adds Reuther. "Roland Sharp is a guy who has devoted his life to law enforcement and sacrificed his personal life in the process. He's divorced and has a daughter from whom he is somewhat estranged. During the course of the movie, as he takes care of these five girls, he learns how to be a better father.”

As Reuther worked on the development of the story, it became increasingly clear that Roland Sharp was ideally suited to an actor with whom he had worked on such films as JFK, The Client, Cobb and Under Siege, Oscar®-winner Tommy Lee Jones. "As I would read the script, In my mind I could hear him saying the lines and just knew his delivery and intonations would make it even funnier,” says Reuther. "Tommy had this wonderful underlying deadpan humor in all his work. His sarcasm and wit beautifully really understated and underplayed. I just imagined his stillness amidst this hive of activity and I started laughing.”

Herek saw Jones' highly evolved acting skills as ideal for playing comedy and also understood that the actor was eager to throw himself into the role completely. "He's a highly trained actor and I think this was the kind of comedic role that he had not yet done at this point in his great career,” says the director. "The closest thing was the Men in Black™ films, but he went even further out on a limb with this, where the humor was much more physical.”

Jones admits that comedy is still a relatively untapped arena for him. "I didn't do a lot of comedy for the first 20 years of my acting life,” he says. "I learned a great deal about it from Will Smith (his co-star) and Barry Sonnenfeld (his director) on Men in Black®. You learn your lines and hit your marks ... and stay relaxed. Will said something about that.”

"I think people are gonna be so surprised to see how funny Tommy Lee is,” says Christina Milian, who portrays the cheerleading captain Anne. "He was great, not only o

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