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BEDTIME STORIES

Cue The Chariot
Bringing "Bedtime Stories” to Life With worlds ranging from Ancient Greece to Outer Space, filmmakers had to strategize how to tackle the different fantasy bedtime-story sequences. Shankman recalls, "We wanted to go for classic sketches of what people think of when they imagine these different themes because the stories are told through the eyes of children.”

The first bedtime-story fantasy that Skeeter, Patrick and Bobbi create is a medieval story. Skeeter kicks off the story, working bits of his real life into a medieval setting. He casts himself as a peasant named Sir Fixalot, hotel owner Barry Nottingham as the King, Nottingham's daughter as Princess Fashionista and nemesis Kendall as Sir Buttkiss. "So it ends up connecting to Skeeter's real life in the movie,” says Sandler.

The kids contribute key details to the story—details Skeeter doesn't always embrace. The ongoing debate leads to three unique characters for Keri Russell. Russell explains, "Adam's character doesn't think very much of Jill so my character enters the story because of the kids— who suggest she's a beautiful fairy—then I appear as this beautiful fairy. Skeeter objects and I turn into an ugly raven until one of the kids says ‘she should be a mermaid' and then I turn into a mermaid and dive down into a moat.”

In the Old West story, Jeremiah Skeets is a southern farmhand who is looking to make a name for himself but feels that his shabby appearance and his old horse might be a disadvantage. Skeeter decides Jeremiah Skeets should get a brand-new horse—a red one that whinnies like a Ferrari—for free.

The kids don't like the idea and suggest that he do what a real gentleman would do and save a damsel in distress, portrayed in the fantasy by hotelier Barry Nottingham's daughter Violet, who Skeeter has hoped to win in real life.

"In the Old West story Skeeter wants a Ferrari and he wants the girl,” says Shankman. "He thinks he controls the stories, but realizes after this particular story that it's the kids' contributions that really matter.”

To prepare for his role as Jeremiah Skeets in the Old West scene, Sandler took riding lessons. "I used to ride horses when I was young and fearless, but riding a horse at my age is not something you want to do unless you know how to do it.”

The Ancient Greece story opens with Skeetacus, a cocky, toga-clad hero, entering a Greek Coliseum at the helm of a high-speed, horsedrawn chariot. The crowd roars as he jumps the chariot over a long line of elephants.

Shankman explains, "I thought it would be funny if Skeeter was the first one to do the Chariot X-Games. I wanted it to look like motocross, but on a chariot.”

Presiding over the games from his Royal Box is Emperor Germicus, his lovely daughter Princess Violetus, Senator Kendallius and Aspenazon. In the stands among the spectators is Jillius, Patrickus, Bobbius and Skeetacus' manservant Mickus who is a Satyr.

The final bedtime story takes the cast to Outer Space for a battle scene between Skeeto and Kendallo. The scene reflects the real-life battle to run the hotel.

Shankman explains, "In the story, they battle to see who's going to be the one to run the new planet of Nottinghamia.”

Guy Pearce says the no-gravity battle takes a while to get off the ground—so to speak. "We're floating around desperately trying to get to each other and can't…so a Booger Monster comes out.”

Shankman explains, "The Booger Monster is a space character that looks like a weird blowfish with tentacles and teeth. He seems ferocious while he's chasing Kendallo and Skeeto around, but ends up being a sweet little thing that just wants to kiss General Kendallo.” "I was Baracto, Supreme Leader of the Galaxy,” says Richard Griffiths. "The Space fantasy is my favo

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