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POST GRAD

We Are The Malbys
The producers of POST GRAD were able to put together a once-in-a-lifetime cast that includes two top Hollywood veterans, some up-and-coming young stars, a Latin American heartthrob, a respected comic actress and a handful of red-hot comedians.

Screenwriter Kelly Fremon is still awed when she considers the extraordinary group of performers who came together for her first film. "I had a certain idea of how it was all going to be,” she says. "When the actors came in, they brought something more to their roles. All of a sudden, it became so much bigger and better than I even imagined.”

To play Ryden, the ambitious young graduate at the center of the story, the producers tapped Alexis Bledel, a favorite with audiences for starring roles in the long-running television series "Gilmore Girls” and the hit film franchise, SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. Bledel first read the script a few years before the film began production, when a mutual friend introduced her to Kelly Fremon.

"For me, the most relatable themes in the movie are the family issues,” she says. "Ryden has to move back in with them and they are completely insane. It's just torture for her. By the end, she realizes it is part of her world and she embraces it, but I don't think she would really be able to move away even at a time when all she wants to do is find her own path.”

As the constant who provides a somewhat reasonable point of view in the midst of a cast of flamboyant characters, Ryden is a challenging role. Bledel's fragile good looks and quiet intensity brought her to the attention of the film's producers. "We all loved Alexis in ‘Gilmore Girls,'” says Reitman. "It turned out she also has these wonderful comedy chops. Combined with her angelic beauty and goofy interior, it made her a wonderful actress to play this part.”

The director provided the actress with a great deal of inspiration for her character, but Bledel had her own thoughts as well. "Vicky had a lot of great ideas for physical comedy and added lines that gave each scene layers,” she says. "I would bring my own ideas and she would bring hers, and we would end up with something great.”

Michael Keaton plays her father, Walter, in the film. "I've played a lot dads going way back to MR. MOM,” says the actor. "I don't think there was one kid that I worked with that I didn't really like. But Alexis is really special. She's deceptively funny and she's got this really cool kind of intelligence. She's got her own way of working, which you've got to trust.”

Fremon based the character of Walter on her own stepfather. "He's this lovable guy who can be a little harebrained sometimes,” says the writer. "He always has some project that he's working on. He has a garage filled with anything you can imagine, and he's always building stuff.”

Reitman is sure he found the perfect actor to play Walter Malby. "I knew if anybody could play him, Michael Keaton would be the guy,” says Reitman. "He has this extraordinary energy about him. And there's a lovely madness and warmth about him at the same time. You can see his brain working at a hundred miles an hour.”

And according to Keaton, when Ivan Reitman calls, an actor has to pay attention. "This is a guy who's done some seminal comedies,” he says. "I paid a lot of attention.”

Keaton's work in movies including comedy classics like BEETLEJUICE, MR. MOM and NIGHTSHIFT had already won Jenson's admiration, and his ability to keep extreme characters in the realm of reality made him the ideal choice to play Walter in her eyes. "He's a great actor and a great comedian,” she says. "His characters always make sense because he's so grounded. Walter is a tricky character. He's very colorful and, in the wrong hands, he could easily have gone over the top. Michael was very sensitive to the aspects of Walter that m

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