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LITTLE FOCKERS

Meet The New Cast
With a strong script in hand, the filmmakers were able to convince key actors to return to the roles they originated while simultaneously injecting the cast with a welcome batch of new talent. This included the additions of Jessica Alba, Laura Dern and Harvey Keitel to the core cast.

As Greg and Pam attempt to work their way through a rough patch in the marriage—courtesy of buying their first home, raising twins and the financial burdens that go hand in hand with it all—their marriage is put to the test. An unexpected opportunity for Greg to make some extra money is delivered on a silver platter by a vivacious pharmaceutical rep, Andi Garcia (no, not that one), who becomes smitten with Greg. In fact, Andi is presently the only one in Greg's life who makes him feel like a superstar.

The addition of Jessica Alba's character was one that Roach supported for the fresh comic complications it introduced. The producer says: "Andi is more of a temptation because she makes Greg feel like a winner when no one else in his life does.” He adds, "Of course, being a beautiful, bubbly, confident woman doesn't hurt either.”

For Alba, the role was a romp that provided her with the chance to play a role that is a complete 180 from her off-screen life as a wife and mother. She laughs: "Truthfully, I'm pretty shy and conservative in a lot of ways. I'm a mom. So it's fun when I get to play characters that are so far from who I am. Andi has absolutely no boundaries; she's a loud, fun girl…maybe a little abrasive, but also very sweet.”

Any parent with the goal of getting his or her child into the "it” school will understand the almost irrational fear of the interview process, not to mention impressing the gatekeeper who will determine the child's educational fate. The filmmakers found that principal in actress Laura Dern, an admitted fan of the franchise.

Dern did not disappoint when it came to portraying the role of Prudence, the principal of the Early Human School, a progressive institution that the Fockers want their children to attend. Dern's primary objective was to avoid a portrayal of a stereotypically stern headmistress. She says of the part: "Prudence is not straightlaced as much as she is determined to make sure that everything is politically correct and child-appropriate.

That's what makes her fun, because there's room for neuroses. She's a really liberal thinker and, therefore, more fun to play with.” Harvey Keitel, known for his tough-guy character roles, was an unexpected but welcome choice as Randy Weir, the general contractor whose continuous delays on the Fockers' new home only add to Greg's anxiety. The comedy reunites De Niro with Keitel, who first worked together 37 years ago on Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets…before they reunited on Taxi Driver. The two old friends gave as good as they got as their characters went mano a mano and had cast and crew alike laughing. Keitel's improvised dialogue introduced some one-liners that were immortalized on T-shirts gifted to team members when filming ended. As the title for the third chapter in one of the most popular film franchises is Little Fockers, the pressure to find young actors who were comfortable with improvisation was intense. Not to mention, the crew needed performers who could hold their own with the likes of De Niro and Stiller. Therefore, filmmakers held auditions across the country.

The Focker twins could not be any more dissimilar. Sweet, awkward Henry is a Focker through and through, yet the Byrnes DNA is thriving in Samantha—who has more of an affinity for Grandpa Jack than her father. The role of Henry would end up going to Colin Baiocchi, an adorable seven-year-old who made a memorable feature-film debut as Vince Vaughn and Malin Akerman's on-screen son in the hit comedy Couples Retreat. Eight-year-old Daisy Tahan, a film and television veteran who currently co-stars in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, would nab the role of budding spy Samantha.

"Colin and Daisy are extraordinary,” cites producer Rosenthal. "Colin is just a ball of energy and a terrific improv-er, and Daisy is such a consummate professional.”

Polo, who has children of her own and shares a good amount of screen time with the pair, tapped into her own parenting skills when working with the talented kids. "One of the more enjoyable parts of filming Little Fockers was the time spent with Daisy and Colin, on camera and off. It was completely natural for me to play the mom and the easiest bit of acting I've ever done.”

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