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MONSTER HOUSE

The Wish List
"Gil made a wish list of all the actors he wanted in Monster House,” recalls Rapke. "We went to Sony with it and to our amazement and surprise, he got a yes from everybody he wanted. He got Maggie Gyllenhaal to play the babysitter, Zee. He got Jason Lee to play Bones, Jon Heder to play Skull, Catherine O'Hara and Fred Willard to play DJ's parents. He got Kevin James as Officer Landers and Nick Cannon as Officer Lister. He even got Steve Buscemi to play Nebbercracker. It was amazing, and I assured Gil it would never happen in his life again. And to top it off, he got Kathleen Turner to play Constance.”

With one of the greatest voices in the entertainment business, Kathleen Turner has always enjoyed enormous success with her vocal cords. "I got involved in Monster House through Bob Zemeckis,” Kathleen Turner says. "He had cast me as the voice of Jessica in Roger Rabbit, so he called up and said, ‘Would you be interested in a new technique?' because he knows that I'm always interested in any kind of new development that comes along. But the real hook was when he said, ‘Well, you played the sexiest animated character in Roger Rabbit, now you can play the ugliest.' And I immediately said, ‘Oh, okay.'”

Kenan admits that it was more than good luck that got him such a stellar cast. "I'm sure part of the casting is a testament to the respect my producers command in this industry,” he says. "From the first time I read the script, I had a very clear sense of what the characters should look like. I felt like these actors were calling out and embodying the characters in my head as I read. ”

"As with any project, it's all about what's on the page,” says Starkey. "When we sent the script to actors, they were immediately taken with its originality, its humor and cleverness. Everyone wanted to be part of what they knew would be a special experience. We'd made them an offer they just couldn't refuse.”

"I got a call saying that they were interested in having me,” Steve Buscemi remembers, "and they showed me Gil's short film, which was different from other animated films I'd seen. It was a little bit dark. I liked his sensibility and his sense of humor, and I liked the script for Monster House, too.”

To cast the three child actors featured in Monster House, a massive search was conducted throughout the United States and Canada. "We contacted agents, film commissions, acting schools and managers,” says casting director Victoria Burrows. "We saw children who had lots of professional experience and some who had none. Their ages ranged from ten to 20 years old. But in the end, we cast kids who were the ages specified in the original script.”

"It was a very grueling process,” Kenan confesses. "I probably saw every kid in America at least once, and almost half that number came in and read.” The three young actors he chose — Sam Lerner (Chowder), Mitchel Musso (DJ) and Spencer Locke (Jenny]) immediately became fast friends and their youthful chemistry proved to be an invaluable asset to the production.

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