Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Behind Closed Doors `House Arrest' Focuses on a 14-Year-Old's Idea of Marriage Counseling Behind Closed Doors

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Behind Closed Doors `House Arrest' Focuses on a 14-Year-Old's Idea of Marriage Counseling Behind Closed Doors

Article excerpt

Kyle Howard is no Hayley Mills. And he is definitely not two Hayley Millses. But he does a pretty good job anyway as the star of "House Arrest," a '90s version of that wonderful Hayley Mills extravaganza, "The Parent Trap."

Howard is an 18-year-old native of Loveland, Colo., who has never been in a feature film before, let alone starred in one. He had been in television commercials, industrial films and theatrical productions.

"House Arrest" director, Harry Winer, says he looked at hundreds of kids for the role of Grover Beindorf and was ready to cast one well-known name (which he wouldn't disclose), even though he wasn't totally satisfied with the actor.

But then his casting director in New York found Howard, whose agent had sent his picture.

"We needed someone with soul and when we saw Kyle, you could see it in his eyes," said Winer in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

They didn't just give him the role, though. Howard was still an unknown so Winer and the casting director continued interviewing actors. They kept coming back to Howard as the kid they liked best and finally offered him the role.

Howard does a fine job as a 14-year-old boy who locks his parents in the basement when they tell him and his sister, Stacy (Amy Sakasitz, "De nnis the Menace"), that they are separating.

But in real life, does he really look 14 and wear dorky clothes and a '60s-style Beatle haircut?

"I can still pass very easily for 14. That's usually what people guess me at, 14, 15, 16," Howard said with a laugh.

We talked by telephone from Denver, where Howard was busy promoting the movie, which opened Wednesday.

"I dress nothing like Grover at all," Howard added quickly. "I wear baggy cords and big T-shirts. I love running shoes. I wear Adidas right now. My hair is short and just kind of spikey."

Grover Beindorf is a great kid in the movie. Even though he looks geeky, his heart's in the right place. When his arch enemy, T.J. (Russel Harper), finds out Grover has grounded his parents, T.J. decides his parents could benefit from a stint in the Beindorf basement, too.

Along the way, T.J. rounds up Grover's best friend's parents, figuring a stretch in the basement couldn't do them any harm. …

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