This may be the most entertaining bit of morning “news” show television I’ve seen in a long time.
I’d like to give all the credit to Gary, Carrie Fisher’s French bulldog, whose droopy-tongued, deadpan facade nearly steals the show.
But Fisher, on the show last week to promote the new Star Wars film, deserves some, too.
She’s absolutely hilarious.
Even easy-on-the-eyes Good Morning America anchor Amy Robach (sorry, but it’s a relevant point in this case) is tolerable, taking it in stride as Fisher chides her for being so young, thin and beautiful.
As Gary sat in a chair next to Fisher and watched — his tongue hanging out for the entire interview — the actress explained she leaped at the chance to recreate Princess Leia (now General Leia) in the new Star Wars film (The Force Awakens).
Then again, she added, actresses of her generation generally do jump when a role with some substance comes along.
“I’m a female in Hollywood over the age of let’s say 40 … or then we could also say 50 … You don’t have to be asked if you want to work at that age,” she told Robach. “You’ll see someday.”
“I’m over the age of 40,” Robach responded. “I hear ya.” Robach (and don’t we all want some of what she’s drinking?) is 42.
After viewing a snippet from her screen test with Harrison Ford for the original film, Fisher admitted she doesn’t like watching herself on the screen so much these days — but said that she has no problem viewing younger versions of herself.
“No, that’s ok, I’m 19, why wouldn’t I like that? You like it less as you roll along. I can’t say that to you, but people who are normal, who have other genes, they don’t like it as much … Not that you have an advantage with the DNA jackpot or anything.”
It wasn’t your typical star on TV promoting a new movie — but then again, just as Gary isn’t just a dog, Fisher’s not just a movie star.
She’s an author and screenwriter, and has been outspoken about her past drug problems and her mental health issues. In fact, she is pretty outspoken about everything. “I think in my mouth, so I don’t lie,” she told Robach.
Fisher joked that she brought Gary along because his tongue matched her sweater, and because he had screened the movie.
“The tongue wasn’t out of his mouth before he saw the movie … It will happen to everyone,” she said. “It’s worth it though. That’s how good it is. You won’t care that your tongue is out of your mouth like that.”
Gary, in addition to being her beloved pet, is actually a therapy dog who helps Fisher cope with her bipolar disorder.
You can keep up with him on Fisher’s Twitter page.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 7th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: acting, actresses, age, amy robach, bipolar disorder, carrie fisher, carrie fisher's dog, french bulldog, gary, good morning america, hollywood, mental health, movie, movies, princess leia, star wars, the force awakens, tongue, video
The Jack Russell terrier was put down Aug. 7 in Los Angeles after battling prostate cancer.
Uggie, who also appeared in “Water for Elephants,” was best known for his role in “The Artist,” which won five Academy Awards in 2012.
According to his IMDb biography, Uggie was saved from being sent to the pound by animal trainer Omar Von Muller.
Uggie received a Palm Dog award at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for “The Artist,” and his performance in that movie led to a campaign (unsuccessful) to establish an Oscar category for pets. Uggie was the first dog to leave his paw prints in cement outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
The Jack Russell terrier was a California native, and in his youth he was apparently a handful. His owners were on the verge of surrendering him due to his troublesome behavior when Von Mueller — seeing some raw talent in the pooch — took him in.
“One of the most important thing is that he was not afraid of things,” Von Mueller said in a 2012 interview. “That is what makes or breaks a dog in the movies, whether they are afraid of lights, and noises and being on sets. He gets rewards, like sausages, to encourage him to perform, but that is only a part of it. He works hard.”
Uggie first appeared in TV commercials. His big break came when he was cast in “Water for Elephants” in 2011.
After “The Artist,” Uggie appeared on numerous talk shows, was hired as a Nintendo spokesdog and appeared in an adoption spot for PETA.
Uggie’s “autobiography” was published after he achieved movie fame, and the book was dedicated to Reese Witherspoon, his co-star in “Water for Elephants.”
“For Reese, my love, my light,” the book’s opening dedication reads.
His death was first reported by TMZ, which managed to relay the news without its trademark snarkiness — even though Uggie once nipped at host Harvey Levin during a visit to the the show’s studio.
“I have worked with many celebrities, but people were literally queueing around the block to see this tiny furry star,” said Wendy Holden, who ghost wrote the book. “There was something about him that changed people. Women especially adored him. People approached him far more readily than a human star.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 13th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: academy awards, animals, dead, death, died, dogs, entertainment, jack russell terrier, movies, Omar Von Muller, oscars, pets, the artist, uggie, water for elephants
In terms of its story line, White God isn’t too different from any other movie in which the bullied rise up and get even with the bullies.
What makes it different — and makes it shine — is that in this case the bullied are abused and mistreated dogs, a species that already knows (perhaps better and more instinctively than us) that there is strength in numbers.
Perhaps the most talked about scene in the much talked about Hungarian film — winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Prize Un Certain Regard Award and an official selection of Sundance Film Festival — is when a pack of 250 dogs, all mutts, stampede through the streets.
And what makes that scene even more impressive is that it was achieved not through computer graphics, but with dogs.
Director Kornel Mundruczo first issued a casting call for 100 dogs for the scene, then decided bigger would be better. More than 200 dogs ended up being involved, many of them from local animal shelters.
The scene serves as the movie’s climax, and it was a first of its kind achievement for the dog trainers involved.
Under the leadership of Hungarian dog trainer Árpád Halász, a team of humans was able to train the dogs to stampede in a pack in what was, in reality, a massive rush for treats.
One of the dog trainers involved, Teresa Ann Miller — daughter of a trainer who worked on films like Beethoven and Cujo — was interviewed about the movie on NPR this week.
Miller helped cast and train the two dogs who shared the role of Hagen.
The movie’s story begins when a young girl is forced to give up her dog, Hagen, because it is of mixed-breed heritage. Her father, unwilling to pay the fee required to keep a mutt, abandons Hagen in the streets.
Young Lili tries to find him, and Hagen tries to find her, but eventually he joins forces with, and becomes the leader of, hundreds of other abandoned, abused and mistreated dogs living in the streets.
As a pack, they rise up to seek revenge for the indignities they’ve suffered at the hands of humans.
(If the film has one fault, it’s the notion that dogs would seek revenge. They’re better than that.)
Miller told NPR that director Mundruczó wanted the stampede scene to look as real as possible — a goal complicated by the fact that no one has ever seen hundreds of domestic dogs running as a pack.
It was first rehearsed with 100 dogs running together.
Trainer Halász watched and then said, “What about 150?” Miller recounted. “And 150 looked so good that he says, What about 200? And each time Árpád learned, as he acquired the dogs and introduced other dogs into the pack, that it was possible.”
It took four months to prepare for the scene, she added.
“And that was amazing to see; that was fascinating. I’ve never seen it done. I’ve never seen such a large pack of dogs run together. And, quite honestly, I don’t think we’d ever do it here (in the U.S.) just for the time that it takes. It’s so much easier just to CGI it, but the director didn’t want that effect at all.”
Posted by John Woestendiek July 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, abused, animals, dog, dog training, dogs, entertainment, film, hagen, hungarian, hungary, mistreated, mixed breeds, movies, mutts, neglected, pack, pets, revenge, stampede, streets, trainers, training, white god
The Huffington Post reported that the “Les Misérables” star was walking her dog on the day after Christmas and found herself being followed by a man with a camera.
When Esmerelda pooped, Hathaway dutifully scooped it up in a yellow plastic bag, and knotted the top.
Then, the website reports, she placed the bag on the windshield of the unidentified photographer’s car and walked away.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 30th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actress, animals, anne hathaway, bag, car, dog, dogs, entertainment, esmerelda, les miserables, movies, paparazzi, paparazzo, pets, photographer, poop, pooparazzi, scoop, waste, windshield
A 40-year-old DreamWorks animator — one who worked on animal-themed children’s movies such as “Kung Fu Panda” and “Madagascar 2” — has been arrested on an animal cruelty charge after a surveillance camera videotaped him beating a neighbor’s muzzled dog with a hammer.
Young Song pleaded not guilty in court yesterday and faces a preliminary hearing next month. He allegedly climbed a fence into a neighbor’s yard in Pasadena. Surveillance camera video shows the 16-month-old dog being beaten but does not reveal what Song did with the dog.
Authorities say the dog is missing and presumed dead.
Song was being held on $40,500 bail, according to authorities, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“When our officers first viewed the videotape, one of our officers had tears in his eyes. He’d never seen anything like this before,” said Steve McNall, who heads the Pasadena Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “In my 31 years at this animal shelter I’ve never seen anything like this.”
McNall’s agency, which is licensed to investigate crimes involving animals, is conducting the probe. It made the arrest in conjunction with Pasadena police.
According to authorities, the suspect shot the dog with a pellet gun, then returned with a hammer and began chasing and striking the animal.
The Times reported that Young works as a “surfacer,” an artisan who creates the look and surface qualities for animated characters, props and environments. Young’s credits on animal-themed films also include “Shark Tale” and “Bee Movie.”
The motive for the attack is not clear. “It might have originated as a barking issue, a noise issue, and then escalated into something else,” McNall said.
If convicted, Song could face more than four years in prison, the district attorney’s office said.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, animator, arrested, beaten, bee movie, california, charged, dog, dogs, dreamworks, german shepherd, hammer, kung fu panda, los angeles, madagascar 2, movies, neighbors, pasadena humane society, pets, shark tale, shot, steve mcnall, surfacer, surveillance, video, young song
For all those wondering what Steve Carell would do after “The Office,” now we know: He has agreed to star in and co-produce a new movie about talking to a dog.
It may sound cutesy, but it’s not.
“Dogs of Babel” will be a film adaptation of the 2003 novel by Carolyn Parkhurst, described as a tragic story of love and loss, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Carell — pretty much a virgin when it comes to serious drama — will play a linguistic professor who comes home to find his wife dead in the backyard.
When the police rule the death an accident, the professor has some doubts, and he attempts to teach his dog Lorelei — the only witness — to talk, so he can learn about the final moments of his wife’s life.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: actor, animals, books, carolyn parkhurst, comedy, dogs, dogs of babel, drama, entertainment, film, linguistics, loss, love, movie, movies, pets, steve carell, talk, television, the office
“My Dog Tulip” — J.R. Ackerley’s classic account of how a dog entered his life, stimulated his curiosity, broadened his horizons, and brightened his otherwise cranky golden years — is now out as an animated movie, and the book has been reissued in paperback.
“Unable to love each other, the English turn naturally to dogs,” the British writer wrote in what’s perhaps the most famous line of the 1956 book about the bond between dog and man.
“Sometimes love really is a bitch,” reads the tagline, updated for the times, of the new movie.
The movie came out late last summer, directed by Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, who are also responsible for the hand-drawn animations that, on screen, are like a New Yorker cartoon come to life.
The film is narrated by Christopher Plummer, in the role of Ackerley, and also features the voice of Lynn Redgrave, who died in May and to whom the movie is dedicated. One review called it “the most sophisticated dog movie ever made.”
It tells the story of a lonely gay man who has all but given up on finding a longtime companion and “ideal friend” in the human world.
Enter Tulip, or, as was her name in real life, Queenie, a German shepherd Ackerley acquired from his neighbors when he was “quite over 50,” and with whom he would spend the next 15 years.
“She offered me what I had never found in my life with humans: constant, single-hearted, incorruptible, uncritical devotion, which it is in the nature of dogs to offer.”
Ackerley died in 1967, and though the book is now 55 years old, it retains a sense of freshness attributable to the fact that Queenie was his first dog. His keen observation of inter-species interaction is that of someone who just landed on the planet, as opposed to being an old hand with dogs.
“It seemed to me both touching and strange,” he says at one point, “that she should find the world so wonderful.”
We long-time dog lovers know exactly what he means. It’s what makes dogs so lovable — they see the world as wonderful, and, no matter how curmudgeonly we may be, they help us see it that way too.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 30th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ackerley, animals, animated, animation, bond, books, books on dogs, connection, dog books, dogs, fierlinger, german shepherd, jr ackerley, literature, movie, movies, my dog tulip, paperback, paul, pets, queenie, relationships, sandra, tulip