Danny Woodburn Talks About Acting With Dogs In Santa Paws2
Have you heard? From the Creators of Disney Buddies…Santa Paws2: The Santa Pups! is available on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack & HD Digital.
Just seeing a movie totally devoted to puppy awesomeness is enough of a reason for me to want to watch it. Now I have another reason. I found out my friend, Danny Woodburn, is starring in it. How much fun is that!
I couldn’t help but want to know what it was like for Danny – who has worked alongside Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts and others – to have co-stars who, well, had a very different acting style.
These are Danny’s answers to my questions.
As an actor, how do you prepare differently for scenes where you are acting with a dog vs another person?
There is little difference in preparation, but the style takes some getting used to. It’s good to know the dogs’ lines well enough so that the fluidity of your dialogue seems natural. Richard Kind plays the voice of my main pal-around pooch, Eddie the Elf Dog. Richard and I never get to work together as he comes in much later to record his dialogue. I work directly with Kirsten Hanson who has been the script supervisor since I came to the franchise. Kirsten calls out all the dialogue for the dogs off set, with some help from Joanne Gerein, our assistant director, feeding the dogs dialogue for the actors to respond to. She is wonderful and creative and I give her a lot of credit.
Do you find that dogs or people are better at remembering their lines (or behaviors)?
The main pooches that have played Eddie are Sunshine and Anastasia both incredibly smart Jack Russells. Their trainers live with and consider these dogs a part of their family who they get to go to work with everyday. An actor will often miss his/her camera mark whereas these ladies always seem perfect every-time. And they are good kissers (the dogs that is)
Seriously, I am always cognizant of their safety especially on outdoor shoots. The dogs are kept warm and given special heaters in their wardrobe. The real challenge though, is not overlapping my lines with a trainer yelling “Over here! Here girl. Leave it! Go mark! AHT AHT AHT! STAY GOOOOOOOOOOOD! …That and trying not to smell like chicken and hot dogs by the end of the day.
Do you get involved in any of the training with the dogs?
Yes. I have to work closely with newcomers and get them used to me so that they are comfortable. This amounts to a lot of play time pre-shooting with them which i love.
How many dog actors were there in the movie?
There are eight main puppies – four who are young and four who are old, with a few doubles. Three Eddie’s (JRTs) and about a dozen or so extra and bit players.
What was the most fun you had working on the movie?
I loved being creative with Eddie and sharing an impromptu moment. I would say an off the cuff line to Eddie (Anastasia) and he would (she would) look at me on his (her) own with some expression, or give me a sloppy kiss.
There is a scene where we break Mrs. Claus out of jail and I suggested that I stand on the back of Eddie (JRT) to see in through the bars. It looks hysterical with Eddie looking like he is supporting my weight on his tiny body. In reality I am in a harness being fully supported above him, or it was magic.
To see the official Santa Paws2: The Santa Pups website, please click here.