Technically, maybe it’s correct to say no animals were harmed during the filming of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
But away from the set, when the cameras weren’t rolling, 27 animals signed up to take part in the production died, and more were injured – mostly at a New Zealand farm where they were being kept.
Animal wranglers involved in the making of “The Hobbit” movie trilogy say the production company is responsible for the deaths because it kept the animals at a farm filled with bluffs, sinkholes and other “death traps,” according to an Associated Press report.
Despite that, the movie’s credits do carry the American Humane Association’s “No animals were harmed” stamp of approval — the exact wording of which is “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.”
The AHA says its monitoring of animals is limited to the actual filming of a movie or television show, and that it lacks the manpower, funding and authority to police animals when they are away from the set.
But others, PETA included, think that’s splitting hairs.
“How can something like this happen when the unit production manager was warned and the production was monitored by the AHA,” asks PETA, which has been critical of AHA in the past, and which was involved in breaking the story.
PETA also wonders why — given the state of the art of computer graphics — live animals had to be used at all:
“This movie was directed by Peter Jackson, a master at computer-generated imagery (CGI). In a movie that features CGI dragons, ogres, and hobbits, CGI animals would have fit in perfectly. Jackson could have made The Hobbit without using a single animal—and he should have.”
AHA called the deaths “needless and unacceptable,” and said they show that there are shortcomings in the oversight system, which monitors film sets but not the facilities where the animals are housed and trained. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek December 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 27 animals, aha, american humane association, an unexpected journey, chickens, deaths, director, entertainment, filming, goats, horses, making, movie, movies, new zealand, no animals were harmed, peter jackson, sheep, the hobbit, trilogy, warner bros, warner brothers, wellington
As Pit Bull Awareness Month draws to a close, celebrations of the dogs — and books and movies about them — are popping up all over.
Events designed to increase public understanding of, and support for, pit bulls are being held across the country.
And today, author Ken Foster’s book, “I’m a Good Dog“ – a tribute to the pit bull in words and photos — hits book stores.
“I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet,” tells the history of pit bulls, corrects many of the negative stereotypes they confront, and is filled with inspiring stories and photographs about them.
Foster, the author of ”The Dogs Who Found Me” and its sequel, “Dogs I Have Met,” is founder of the Sula Foundation in New Orleans, which promotes responsible pit bull ownership.
In “I’m a Good Dog,” he profiles pit bulls that serve as therapy dogs, athletic heroes, search-and-rescue dogs, and loving pets, and looks at a few of the famous people who have owned them, including Helen Keller and Dr. Seuss.
Foster is embarking on a national tour for the book, and will be in Oakland this weekend to take part in a fundraiser for BADRAP. October 27 is the fifth anniversary of the arrival at BADRAP of 13 dogs from NFL player Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels who would go on to begin new lives with local families.
Also appearing at the fundraiser will be Jim Gorant, author of “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption and a new book, “Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls — One Flying Disc at a Time.”
Of the former Vick dogs that ended up in California, seven hold Canine Good Citizen certificates and three are now serving as therapy dogs in hospitals and children’s literacy programs.
Foster’s tour will contine with stops at Book Soup in Los Angeles and Annabee’s in Pacifica. He plans stops in November in Portland, Seattle, Marin County, New Orleans, Boston, New York, Baltimore, Providence, Connecticut, Ann Arbor, The Twin Cities and Chicago.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, awareness, badrap, beyond the myth, books, books on dogs, breed discrimination, documentaries, dog books, dogs, events, i'm a good dog, jim gorant, ken foster, movies, myths, pets, pit bull, pit bull awareness month, pit bulls, pitbull, stereotypes, the lost dogs, tribute
Another movie about a supernatural dog has been released — this time, a vampire dog – but apparently it has skipped theaters and gone straight to DVD.
From the trailer, you can maybe see why.
Given that movies with dogs that talk, and movies that portray dogs as monsters (even lovable ones) are not among our favorite genres, you may ask why even post about “Vampire Dog?”
Partly because, having written a non-fiction book on dog cloning — a practice I see as selfish, ill-conceived, fraught with animal welfare concerns and maybe a little supernatural itself — I feel the need to stay on top of both the real world attempts to make dogs eternal, and any artsy representations thereof in the entertainment industry.
Partly also because we spot a trend, or maybe the beginning of one, or maybe just two of something.
Coming out next month, in theaters, is Frankenweenie — a remake by Tim Burton of his short film about a dog who is reanimated by his young owner.
“Frankenweenie” looks to be a lot more enthralling, and artsy, than ”Vampire Dog,” whose storyline begins when a boy named Ace inherits a dog named Fang from his grandfather in Transylvania.
Fang is not just a “vampire dog,” but also a talking dog (voiced by Norm MacDonald). I’m pretty sure he doesn’t actually survive on blood (either Fang or MacDonald), and that he (Fang) is more comedic than scary.
According to a synopsis on IMDb, Fang arrives as Ace, the boy, is working to fit in at his new school. There’s a mad scientist involved, named Dr. Warhol, who along with her bumbling assistant tries to capture Fang and steal his DNA in hopes of developing the latest anti-aging technology.
Fang, while evading his pursuers, forms an enduring friendship with Ace and the two discover that together they can face their fears and be unstoppable.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, cloning, dog cloning, dogs, entertainment, eternal, fang, forever, frankenstein, frankenweenie, movies, norm macdonald, pets, reanimated, resurrected, supernatural, tim burton, trailer, trailers, vampire dog, vampires, video
With Tim Burton’s new, animated, 3-D, full-length version of “Frankenweenie” scheduled to come out in October, we thought you might want to take a look at the original short version.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 30-minute, animals, back to life, dead, death, dogs, film, frankenstein, frankenweenie, full-length, movies, new, original, pets, reanimation, release, resurrection, short, tim burton
Uggie, the Jack Russell terrier who co-starred in the Oscar-winning movie, ”The Artist,” became the first dog to sink his paws into cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
In a ceremony yesterday that also marked Uggie’s retirement from show business, the terrier arrived in a fire truck, performed tricks for photographers, trotted down a red carpet and slapped his paws into wet cement on what was proclaimed “Uggie Day” in Los Angeles.
“The main message that Uggie would like to send to everybody out there is to please adopt,” Uggie’s trainer, Omar Van Muller, told the crowd. “He’s adopted. He made it. If you guys can adopt a dog, even if they don’t make it on the big screen, they’ll be big stars at your house.”
Van Muller said Uggie, while retiring from the movie business, will continue to appear at charity events and other functions.
While Uggie is the first dog to be showcased at Grauman’s courtyard, three dogs — Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart — have stars on the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to the Associated Press.
His retirement party, inside the theater, was attended by ”Lassie” and “Rin Tin Tin,” or at least their modern day namesakes, and “Artist” actor Ken Davitian. Cake was served, including one in the shape of a fire hydrant, made by Duff Goldman, the star of the Food Network series, “Ace of Cakes.”
Uggie won the 2011 Palm Dog Award and was named as the best dog in a film in February at the inaugural Golden Collar Awards for his portrayal of silent movie star George Valentin’s companion in “The Artist.”
(Photo by Joe Kohen/Invision/AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cement, dog, dogs, entertainment, first, footprints, graumans chinese theatre, hollywood, jack russell terrier, lassie, movies, omar van muller, pawprints, pets, prints, retired, retirement, retiring, rin tin tin, the artist, theater, uggie, uggie day
It didn’t take long for Keith Hopkin to notice that when you put a dog in car, the first thing that dog usually does is stick his head out of it.
Between the breeze, the sunshine, the flapping fur and the contented looks on their faces, it was like a movie waiting to be made.
So he made it. And then he made another one. The movie above is Hopkin’s second “Dogs in Cars” video.
“Dogs In Cars: California,” features eight dogs enjoying the ride, amid richly textured background scenery, all set to the song “California” by Phantom Planet.
The film is a follow up to the first ”Dogs In Cars,” which Hopkin shot primarily in Connecticut, Long Island and upstate New York.
The idea came to him after riding with his girlfriend’s dog, Mia, the white German shepherd featured in the movies, according to an interview with Hopkin in Popgoestheweek.com.
“She looked so blissful and at peace. This inspired me to shoot more dogs in different locations. The landscapes seem to tell a story too.”
On top of that, he says, “It’s great to get out of the city and smell the fresh air. I think dogs feel the same way. They were more much more excited to be on the open road.”
For the “dogs in cars” videos, he mounts a camera to the outside of a car, and — having no dog of his own — borrows those of friends and neighbors.
“Four of the dogs are neighbors of mine in the building I live in. The rest are through friends and family. I also posted up a request of Facebook if anyone would let me take their dogs for a drive and I got a great response. Dog owners are really friendly.”
You can find Keith’s Facebook fan page here.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, borrowed, breeze, camera, cars, dogs, dogs in cars, dogs in cars california, fresh air, keith hopkin, landscapes, mia, movies, pets, second, sequel, slow motion, sun, videos, windows
OK, maybe not, but they were practicing both it and the freeze frame long before moviemakers came up with the techniques.
The only slow motion in this video of five border collies enjoying some spare time is the naturally occuring kind.
Once all the stealth and stalking comes to an end, the border collies in this video engage in another staple of moviemakers — the high speed chase.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, border collies, chasing, collies, dogs, freeze frame, herding, high speed chase, moviemakers, movies, pets, play, slow motion, stalking, stealth, video
“The Big Chill for the AARP set.”
“Too much people and not enough dog.”
“A dog of a flick.”
Lawrence Kasdan’s new movie, Darling Companion, isn’t receiving universal acclaim.
A movie about a lost dog rescued from the side of the road, some critics are saying it goes astray, despite a cast that includes Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and, in the starring role — though not starring enough, some say – a mutt who plays the character of a dog named Freeway.
“…Aimless, tedious and sometimes downright ridiculous,” is how it’s reviewed on Movieline, where a critic pointed out it would have benefited from focusing more on the dog, less on the bickering family.
Written by Kasdan and his wife, Meg Kasdan, the script for Darling Companion involves a dog rescued and then lost. Freeway disappears while chasing after a deer. The plot centers on the search for the dog, but apparently gets sidetracked a lot with strictly human angst, both related and unrelated to the dog’s disappearance.
The movie was made on a small budget, and is Kasdan’s first independent film. It has some parallels to the Kasdan’s loss of their own dog, Mac, a dog they adopted from a shelter and lost about five years ago,” Steve Dale reports in the Chicago Tribune
“While attending a wedding, we left Mac with a friend,” Kasdan said. “They were hiking when a mountain biker spooked the dog and he ran off. We thought he’d show up immediately. We searched and searched and put up posters and made announcements on local radio. We did everything.”
“I learned it’s one of the most emotional things that can happen,” he said. The dog was recovered four weeks later.
The movie also draws from an experience of Meg Kasdan’s sister, who rescued a dog from the side of the road in Detroit, and named it Freeway.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animals, cinema, darling companion, diane keaton, dog, dog movies, dogs, dogs in movies, films, found, freeway, kevin kline, lawrence kasdan, lost, meg kasdan, movies, pets, rescued, reviews, shelter, trailer
Remember when the truth about Santa Claus slowly started dawning on you? With me, it was when I started seeing him too many places at once — more places than any one person could be, and looking slightly different each time.
Now the same thing has happened with the canine star of “The Artist,” and it was Jimmy Kimmel who exposed the Uggie truth.
A perceptive member of Kimmel’s staff noticed that the Uggie who appeared on Kimmel’s show, on the Ellen DeGeneres show, and at the Oscars, had slightly different markings than that of the dog in the movie.
On Tuesday night, Kimmel showed video that seemed to substantiate differences between the dog in the movie and the dog making media appearances, and he raised the possibility that a fake Uggie, or, as he termed it, a Fuggie, had appeared on his show and the others.
Uggie, who has retired from movies and now serves as Nintendo’s spokesdog (or so we’re being led to believe), was invited back on Kimmel’s show Wednesday, appearing by satellite with his trainer, to clear up the confusion.
Trainer Omar Von Muller explained that three Jack Russells were used in filming — Uggie, who carried most of the load, his brother Dash, and a third named Dude. All three wore make-up so their markings would exactly match each other and have the same brown patch behind their ears — a larger one than Uggie has in real life.
As shattered fantasies go, it’s relatively minor. There were, after all, nine collies who played Lassie (and all were male); there were 22 Labs used in the filming of Marley and me; and there are, of course, thousands of stand-in Santa Clauses who appear in malls to assist the real one who can’t be everywhere at once.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dash, dogs, dude, entertainment, fake, fuggies, jack russell terriers, movies, pets, phony, television, the artist, uggie, video
Was Blackie snubbed?
And, if so, was it because because of his large and menacing appearance — a case of Doberman discrimination?
Director Martin Scorsese — pronounced “score-SAYS-he” — is contending that the canine star of his movie, “Hugo,” Blackie the Doberman, was rudely overlooked in the nominations for the First Annual Golden Collar Awards.
But, according to Hollywood insiders (and one wonders, are there any Hollywood outsiders?), he’s doing it for laughs, and probably even more for publicity.
Blackie plays a train station officer’s attack dog, and most of his time on screen is spent scaring and chasing the child stars of the Oscar-nominated film.
Uggie, the Jack Russell, received two nominations — for his roles in “The Artist” and “Water for Elephants” — but Blackie got no respect.
In a guest column for the Los Angeles Times Scorcese writes:
“OK, let’s lay all our cards on the table. Jack Russell terriers are small and cute. Dobermans are enormous and — handsome. More tellingly, Uggie plays a nice little mascot who does tricks and saves his master’s life in one of the films, while Blackie gives an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children. I’m sure you can see what I’m driving at.”
He urges readers to start a write-in campaign for Blackie, via comments on the Dog News Daily Facebook page.
Dog News Daily editor Alan Siskind says if Blackie receives 500 write-ins by Monday, February 6th, the Golden Collar nominating committee will add him as the sixth nominee in the Best Dog in a Theatrical Film category.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: awards, blackie, director, dobermans, entertainment, golden collar, golden collar awards, hollywood, hugo, jack russells, martin scorsese, movies, the artist, uggie, water for elephants