The Pacifier is the latest comedy film from director Adam Shankman, who recently scored a huge international hit with Bringing Down the House with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah. The Pacifier finds action man Vin Diesel cast as a tough-as-nails Navy S.E.A.L who meets his match when he is assigned to protect the Plummer children, five unruly youngsters whose lives are endangered in the wake of the mysterious assassination of their father, a scientist working on a secret weapon. "To me The Pacifier felt like a true classic Disney family comedy," says Diesel, who had pre-production training in changing diapers to help him prepare for his role. We spoke to three of the young actors who play the Plummer children about working with the muscle-bound superstar: Brittany Snow, 18, who plays the rebellious Zoe, and is well-known for her work in the US hit drama American Dreams ; newcomer Max Thieriot, 16, who plays the sullen Seth; and Morgan York, 12, who plays Ninja-wannabe Lulu.
Q. So would Vin Diesel make a good babysitter in real life?
BRITTANY SNOW : He would be an excellent babysitter because he's really, really goofy and really funny. If you haven't met him yet, you'll see, he's just crazy and so much fun. And he's really smart, too, which is good in a babysitter because he could handle any situation. And he could certainly fight off anyone you needed him too.
Q. And what was it like working with him?
MAX THIERIOT: It was awesome. He's a really cool guy, we were always telling jokes and playing videogames and stuff on the side when we weren't working.
Q: Were you a fan of Vin Diesel's before this film?
MAX THIERIOT: Not necessarily a fan, but I'd watch his movies and stuff, and it's funny because when you see people on the screen, you get an image of them that can be so different when you meet them. To be honest, I almost expected a kind of robot.
BRITTANY SNOW: The first time I met him he had a big jacket on and all these bodyguards around him. And I just thought, oh, no, he's like a movie star, and he's going to be very like standoffish. But from the first day, he was actually so sweet, and he kept wanting to hang out with us and just have fun. And I'm so glad that my perception changed. I can honestly say that you shouldn't trust what you read in magazines or believe that someone's image on screen reflects who they really are.
Q. You probably get that from your own TV series, don't you, Brittany ? The character you play is a goody two shoes.
BRITTANY SNOW: Oh, definitely. I mean, I'm pretty good in real life, but sometimes people seem surprised that I'm like a normal teenager and wear black nail polish and I'm just a little bit more edgy than the person I play on television. And that's partly why I was so happy to do The Pacifier . I mean, the character I play is very rebellious, and that was really fun to do.
Q. In fact, all the Plummer children are pretty rebellious, aren't they?
MORGAN YORK: Yes, I think we just don't want to be babysat anymore, especially by this guy we don't even know and seems frightening to begin with.
BRITTANY SNOW: Also, here's this guy coming in and kind of taking over a father role when the kids just recently lost their dad. So we think he's got no right and we were doing just fine without him.
MAX THIERIOT: I think that's what we're rebelling against and also the older kids are trying to work through their pain about their father by just acting out and going a bit crazy. By the end of the movie Vin 's character kind of shows us that we can have respect for ourselves, we can have confidence in what we want to do, and be sad about our dad without having to be so rebellious.
Q. Did you learn anything from Vin Diesel , either as a person or an actor?
MORGAN YORK: I think I'd say to take chances, because I think it's really cool for him to just go from action movies to comedy. It's very brave and it's a big change.
BRITTANY SNOW: I definitely learned a lot from Vin . He was really great about rehearsing scenes. And he told me that it was really important to always do something that challenges you and makes you grow and that you're really scared of. I mean, I think he must have been really scared doing The Pacifier since he'd never done comedy before. So that's definitely what I'll take from him.
MAX THIERIOT : He really helped me work on scenes. And we would go to his trailer and we'd go over things over and over again and we'd pretty much analyze everything and figure out what needed to be done here and how this needed to be said. And that was really important and helpful for me.
Q. Morgan, you have one of the big action scenes in The Pacifier . How did you enjoy that?
MORGAN YORK: That was really fun because they had a karate instructor come over to my house and he was teaching me the basics in my playroom, which I thought was really cool. And then when we went to Canada to make the film , I went to a dojo and they taught me more of the basics, and then all of the choreography for the whole fight.
Q. Are you going to keep up the self defense training now?
MORGAN YORK: I don't really use it much, except when my brother really gets on my nerves. I say, better get out of this room or I'm going to use some of that karate on you.
Q. And how about you Max? You have to sing in the movie. Any plans for a singing career?
MAX THIERIOT: No, not at all [laughs]. I hate singing, especially in front of people. So it was pretty hard. I mean, I met with a singing coach two times before I came to Toronto , so that helped. And then we prerecorded the actual singing, so in the film I'm sort of singing along with myself, which I found makes it much easier.
Q. Have you all seen the finished film? And did it differ from what you expected?
MORGAN YORK: I thought it was a lot more emotional than I expected it was going to be. I also thought it was too short. Because we were up there for, like, four months making it.
BRITTANY SNOW: Well, I had said to my friends , it's going to be good, but I bet it's going to be cheesy in a way. And I didn't think that at all. It's so good and was just so funny. Adam did an awesome job and Vin does an awesome job and it just turned out really good. I was excited for everybody to see it before, but now I'm really pumped.
MAX THIERIOT: It was really interesting to me because you do this, and then you don't really know what to expect, you know. And I thought the final cut was awesome, you know, seeing all these pieces put together, it was a lot of fun.
Q. And since we talked about working with Vin Diesel, why not tell us about another one of your co-stars, the Plummer children's pet duck?
MAX THIERIOT: It was just kind of always just hanging out on the set and it wasn't potty trained, which was kind of a hassle every once in a while.
BRITTANY SNOW: Yeah, they'd do like a really good take and we finally nailed it. And then, like, cut, the duck pooped in the background of the scene, so we had to do it over. Other than that the duck was pretty chill.
MORGAN YORK: I liked the duck, but he kept biting Vin.