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BARNYARD: THE ORIGINAL PARTY ANIMALS

About The Characters
The lead role is Otis, the fun-loving "party cow” who spends all his time secretly indulging in all things human, from riding around in cars to watching TV to playing practical jokes on the farmer. Sure, he's rebellious and immature and has no sense of responsibility – who needs that when you can spend your life singing and dancing? Oedekerk's first and only choice to play Otis was Kevin James. "I knew he was gonna be a movie star from when I first saw him on ‘The King of Queens,'” Oedekerk says. "What I love about Kevin is he has this Jackie Gleason sensibility – he's so funny when he's frustrated. Otis ends up dealing with a lot of things he doesn't want to deal with; his Dad's always trying to get him to do stuff he doesn't want to do. Getting the comedy to come from this frustration was essential and Kevin's great at that.

"I'm a huge Steve Oedekerk fan,” says James. "He wrote a really funny script, just like he did with ‘Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls' and ‘Bruce Almighty.' I'd never done animation before, and it was something I wanted to try.”

In addition to the outrageous comedy that is Oedekerk's trademark, James was also attracted to the heart and emotion in the role. "There are a ton of pranks in this movie – the cows all go crazy together and do whatever frat cows would do, but they also have to come together, accept responsibility in life, step up to the plate and be a man. Or cow. Whatever.”

James went whole hog learning his role. "I'm a method cow,” he says. "I'd graze for hours before a recording session.”

For the role of Daisy, the sensible and caring cow who provides Otis with the inspiration and trust he needs to become the leader of the barnyard, Oedekerk cast his friend Courteney Cox, best known for her role on the mega-hit TV show "Friends.” He says, "For the role of Daisy, I wanted an actress who the audience could fall in love with instantly. Courteney definitely has that quality. Daisy is the girl next door, very authentic and sweet, a good soul,” says Oedekerk. "It can be challenging playing pure goodness. In order to give dimension, you have to go to a very vulnerable place. Courteney did an awesome job.”

"Steve's a friend of mine – he's such a talented guy that I was really excited about doing this movie,” says Cox. "For Steve, this is real life – he writes about the things that kids go through and witness. For him, it's not an imaginary world – it's real.”

The actress says her role is "pure sugar – Daisy is so sweet. I'm kind of a sarcastic person, so it was interesting for me.”

Wanda Sykes plays Daisy's best friend, Bessy, a cow with an acid tongue and nononsense ‘tude. "Bessy is all attitude,” says Sykes. "She tells it like it is. Still, even though she's got a tough exterior, she's got a big heart. She's very protective of Daisy, keeping an eye on her and making sure she doesn't get mixed up with the wrong crowd.”

"Wanda is a walking comedy machine,” Oedekerk says. "If she has a funny line, she hits it out of the park. If the line ain't funny, Wanda's still coming off great. I just think she can pretty much do anything that she wants to do.”

Veteran actor Sam Elliott plays Ben, the well-liked, respected, and organized leader of the barnyard... and also the loving but somewhat beleaguered father of Otis. Responsible where his son is juvenile, out on watch while the boy is partying, Ben loves his son deeply for who he is but wishes he'd learn to grow up a little.

Oedekerk says, "I think one of the most alarming moments I had on the feature was when we were recording Sam. There's this one line in the film where Ben walks in on Dag, the evil coyote in the chicken coop, and he just goes, ‘Put the hen down, Dag.' Everybody in the sound booth simultaneously went, ‘Whoa!' He's an amazing actor and an amazing person. H

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