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THE HOUSE BUNNY

About The Film
"What happens to the people who have lived in the surreal Playboy Mansion world, where it's parties and fun all the time? And why do they leave that world – do they get too old, or are they simply ready to move on to a different phase in their lives?” asks Anna Faris, the star of Columbia Pictures' comedy The House Bunny, which focuses on Shelley, a Bunny who is facing that exact crisis.

Screenwriters Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah Lutz – previously the screenwriters of the hit movie Legally Blonde – were, first and foremost, intrigued by the possibility of working with Faris. "We had just seen Just Friends and we both really enjoyed her performance in that movie,” says McCullah Lutz. "So we called and set up a meeting to have coffee.” 

"We kind of stalked her, basically,” laughs Smith. "And she didn't know it.” 

At the meeting, the writers and the star discussed an idea for the character of Shelley – the Playboy Bunny who changes her life. "Shelley has spent her whole adult life living in the Mansion, but when she gets booted out, she's completely adrift. We took that idea and spent a few months ruminating over where she would land, and we finally came up with the idea that she should enter the world of a sorority – a misfit sorority that desperately needs her help,” says McCullah Lutz. 

When Shelley first meets the girls, they are in danger of losing their house, due to a dearth of pledges. "Shelley has this idea that if she changes the Zetas into super hot girls, then they will be able to get guys – and if they can get guys, they can get pledges and keep their house,” Faris explains.

"She teaches the girls how to be cool and cute and popular – that's definitely true – but for Shelley, it's all about self-confidence,” McCullah Lutz continues.

But the Zetas are not the only ones who make transformations. At the beginning of the film, most people – including Shelley herself – see the Bunny as "just a Bunny.” According to McCullah Lutz, "Shelley defined herself as a Bunny and thought that was all she was capable of. She only defined herself in terms of her value as an object for male eyes. But then she learns she has more inherent talents and a bigger purpose in life than just being a Bunny.” 

"It's not just a message for girls, but everyone learning to accept themselves and love themselves for who they are,” says Faris. "When we first meet Shelley she may think she's the hottest girl, but she learns to realize that how you look is not important – it's about how you look at yourself.”

After Smith and McCullah Lutz worked out the story beats and the characters, they took their act on the road, pitching the story with Faris. "It was the best way to pitch. When you have the actual movie star in the room with you, the studio sees the movie coming alive. It's much better than having them listen to Kirsten and I try to do the parts,” says McCullah Lutz.

The trio landed in the office of producer Heather Parry, who works at Happy Madison Productions. Parry – a fan of Faris and of the Legally Blonde writers – liked the idea and took it to Adam Sandler and his producing partner Jack Giarraputo. They had already worked with Faris on the comedy The Hot Chick and were huge fans of the actress, and brought it to their home studio at Columbia Pictures.

Parry says that although The House Bunny is Happy Madison's first female-driven comedy, it shares the same underlying comedy goal. "It's funny and it has heart,” Parry says. "Every girl goes through a time in her life in which she tries on new looks and new attitudes – and The House Bunny looks at that time in a really funny and charming way.”

To direct the film, the producers tapped Fred Wolf. Producer Allen Covert says that the Happy Madison team had known Wolf for years, since he had written for Sand

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