Movie Preview: Baby Geniuses 2
This sequel to 1999’s Baby Geniuses pits the babies against a powerful media mogul, Bill Biscane (marvelously played by Jon Voight), who aims to brainwash the minds of the world’s children with his children’s TV network that will be broadcast over a new state-of-the-art satellite system.
Joining the babies in their battle against this evil villain is the legendary baby named Kahuna, a Peter Pan-like superhero, who never grows up and never gives in to Biscane’s evil machinations.
If this sounds like strictly kid’s stuff, it is – but, according to Voight, who also serves as the film’s executive producer, “it’s nice to make movies for kids, especially little kids.”
“Little children need to have a sense of strength and power in an adult world,” he adds. “There is a lot of ‘adultism’ in the world that seems to put kids aside and can intimidate them. These films give some reinforcement to children so that they can come out of the movie thinking ‘I’m a big guy, I could do this,’ which makes them feel less vulnerable.”
OK, great, but these are babies we’re dealing with here, or at least very young children. How on earth are they able to get performances out of these tots?
“We chose the babies very carefully,” says director Bob Clark, who has a lot of experience working with kids from directing the first Baby Geniuses to his now classic movie A Christmas Story. “It was a combination of their intelligence and willingness,” he says. “Not only did they have to fit the part physically, they also had to have the willpower to do it.”
One of Clark’s biggest challenges was keeping the kids interested. “If the babies lose interest, you have to stop and wait or bring in other children.” (That’s why they double, and even triple, cast the babies with four sets of twins and some 7-year-old triplets.)
“Unlike with trained pets, you can’t make babies do anything,” he offers. “You have to be prepared, which calls for a lot more discipline. If they couldn’t say their lines, we would just try to keep them focused and get the expression out of them that we needed.”
The production also utilized the services of “baby wranglers” to help keep the young actors focused. Baby wrangler Jimmy Wagner offers this tip about how to coax a performance from a toddler: “I take out the bubble machine and start to blow bubbles. It seems to calm them down and relax them.” Keep that in mind the next time you’re making your own home movies.
Rated PG.

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