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The Old Night Guards
When Larry Daley takes the new night guard position at the Natural History Museum, he replaces a trio of guards who appear to themselves be ancient relics – yet prove to have their own diabolical agenda. To bring the colorful threesome of Cecil, Gus and Reginald to life, the filmmakers ultimately chose three comic actors who have become legends in their own right: the inimitable Dick Van Dyke, the beloved Mickey Rooney and the prolific star of stage, television and screen Bill Cobbs.

Casting the octogenarian and septuagenarian stars was a blast for Shawn Levy. "I had the great fortune of auditioning pretty much every exceptional actor over 65,” he recalls. "It was amazing – I mean Dick Van Dyke actually came in for an audition. He doesn't have to audition but he and Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs all came in and really showed what they could do with the material.”

Levy continues: "Once I saw those three actors together I knew it was going to be an embarrassment of riches having them play these characters. Dick Van Dyke with his svelte, debonair quality; Mickey with his charming, ‘non-tall' quality and Bill, who has an enigmatic depth, worked so well together and truly embodied the mischievous spirit of Cecil, Gus and Reginald.”

Dick Van Dyke, who in addition to being one of the world's most popular comedians, is also indelibly entwined with such family film classics as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Immediately enchanted by the story, Van Dyke was excited to take on the role of Cecil, the former head night guard who helps to recruit and "train” Larry Daley. "With all of the dinosaurs and Huns and animals, I thought it would be a riot,” Van Dyke says. "When I read the script I knew it was that rare thing: a great all-audience film. So I said, I've got to be a part of this. It's one of those stories I can't wait for my own grandkids to see. And between Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs, we're all about the same vintage, so we had great chemistry as these old guys willing to do anything to be young again.”

For Ben Stiller, getting the chance to star with, and get duped by, Van Dyke was a thrill. "I think Dick really does have an Egyptian tablet at home that's the fountain of youth because he's like twice my age and I have about half his energy,” Stiller quips. "He's a great and funny actor who really knows his stuff so it was such a pleasure to watch him work.”

As for Mickey Rooney, Stiller says: "I never thought I'd get a chance to work with the great Mickey Rooney – let alone be beat up by Mickey Rooney!”

Rooney, who began his career in the 1920s as an infant, has literally grown up with the movies. "When I came to Hollywood, there was almost nothing here,” he recalls. "I was right at the beginning of it and it's been a thrill ever since.” Despite all the changes in motion picture production, Rooney remains most attracted to what he believes is the consistent heart and soul of movie-making – a great story – which is what drew him to NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. "I think we need more pictures like this,” he says. "Something the whole family can see that's historic, clever and funny. There aren't many pictures like this that can bring the whole family together in one entertainment.”

Rounding out the surprisingly treacherous trio is Bill Cobbs, a familiar face from countless film and television roles, in the role of Reginald. He loved having the chance to riff off Van Dyke and Rooney. "I've had a lot of good times in film, stage and television but this was one of those truly great experiences where you not only get to combine comedy, drama and improvisation but you get to watch masters come up with fantastic ideas,” he comments.

Cobbs especially enjoyed playing such a shady, and not even remotely geriatric, elderly character. "To have me, Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney playi

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