Permission to Stare with the HALL PASS

Owen Wilson stars as Rick, a suburban dad easily distracted by beautiful women, in New Line Cinema’s raunchy comedy “Hall Pass.” “Most guys can’t help noticing a good-looking woman walk by, but some of them do a better job at being subtle about it,” explains Wilson.  “With others, like Rick, it’s like they have their heads on a swivel.” 

In the film, best friends Rick and Fred (Jason Sudeikis) have both been married for a long time.  They love their wives, but, like some guys, just can’t help checking out every other woman who crosses their paths.  Fed up with this habitual rubber-necking, their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) take a bold approach to revitalize their marriages by granting their husbands a “hall pass”: one week of freedom to do whatever they want, no questions asked.  Seven days to see exactly what it is out there they think they’re missing…or stop looking once and for all.

“Rick is happily married, with kids and a wife he loves.  He has a good job, a nice existence but, like a lot of men, he can’t help noticing women and this irritates his wife,” says co-director Peter Farrelly. 

“It’s more Rick’s emotional arc that propels the story so it’s important that the audience likes him,” notes co-director Bobby Farrelly.  “That’s one of the reasons we cast Owen Wilson, because he has such an inherent likeability and decency.  He’s very funny, but also someone you can get behind and want to support.”  In such a potentially polarizing role, being able to convey that core decency is key. 

Pegging Rick as “kind of a schlub,” Wilson explains, “It’s not that his marriage is bad, just a little predictable, and he has this illusion that if he was still out there, single, he’d just be crushing it.  But that’s not necessarily the case.  He really has no idea what it’s like anymore.  Besides, you have to wonder if he was ever that great to begin with.”

As Rick, Wilson got the opportunity to portray a character not as successful with women as he imagines—in contrast to some of the actor’s best-known roles.  Says Peter, “Owen is usually Mr. Slick on screen, the charming, good-looking dude, but he can also be goofy.  We thought it would be interesting for him to play a guy who struggles to be noticed.”

Owen Wilson is one of contemporary cinema’s most successful actors, and has won great acclaim for his memorable turns in mainstream and independent films.  His string of box office successes includes the recent “Marley & Me,” with Jennifer Aniston, based on the popular memoir by John Grogan; the acclaimed Disney/Pixar animated feature “Cars,” “Night at the Museum” and its sequel “Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian,” opposite Robin Williams and Ben Stiller; and the smash hit comedy “Wedding Crashers,” opposite Vince Vaughn.

Wilson will soon reprise his role as the voice of Lightning McQueen in “Cars 2,” scheduled to open in August 2011.

Opening across the Philippines on April 6, “Hall Pass” is a New Line Cinema presentation to be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

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