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SHOW DOGS

Features
RAJA GOSNELL - Director

Raja Gosnell is the film's Director and has a history of highly successful family movies including SCOOBY DOO, THE SMURFS, BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHA and BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE.

When Raja received the script he said it felt like "a fun throwback movie" explaining that, "live action family movies are somewhat of an endangered species these days as most family entertainment is now animated" so when the opportunity to direct SHOW DOGS came his way, it felt like a "fun challenge" that he wanted to be a part of. Raja talks about his experience of working with Will Arnett saying, "Working with Will Arnett is an absolute joy. He's so professional and understands the camera and the movement of the set. He's known for his outlandish characters but in SHOW DOGS he's a straight up leading man and has all the charm, insecurities, bravado and vulnerability that you want in a movie star."

Natasha Lyonne plays Mattie, an "FBI canine consultant and is from the canini world." She's there to help Max and Frank navigate their way through the world of high end dog shows. Raja explains how Natasha welcomed the opportunity to show her "softer character" and "play more of the comedy that she's been known for.'' Raja describes how he found her "delightful in this role."

Raja goes on to talk us through the voice-over cast starting with lead dog Max, and why they went with Chris "Ludacris" Bridges to voice him. "Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges was our first choice. He has a warmth and humanity to his voice." He goes on to describe Max's important character arc; "Max is an ill-tempered, grumpy loner and his journey is to learn to work with someone else. The lesson's that Max learns are some of the most heart touching things in the whole movie."

Stanley Tucci (Philippe) is "a character who, despite being thrown out of the dog show world in disgrace, still has an immense love for it and understands the huge gravitas of the show dog world." For Raja it was an "honor" working with Stanley and describes how his French accent is "amazing" and he predicts that Phillipe is "going to be one of the most beloved characters" of the movie.

Karma, played by Shaquille O'Neal, is a "very cool character who drops in and drops these nuggets of wisdom." Shaq has "so much personality and is so funny and brings his own quirks to the character of Karma."

Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias is "an amazing comedian" and his voice "pairs brilliantly with the hyperactive pug, (Sprinkles) who is always enthusiastic and happy." Raja goes on to say, "the amount of words per second that Gabriel can get out along with his explosive laugh and delivery makes for an amazing combination."

Alan Cumming (Dante) - Raja and Alan had worked together on The Smurfs so we happily reunited in the world of dog shows. Here in SHOW DOGS, "Dante represents the snobby exclusive nature of the Canini. He plays a very proper, cutting English show dog. He's the five time champion who regards Max as an outsider."

When asked about the experience of working with dogs, Raja talked about the joy on set and how unique the experience was saying, "These dogs come onto the set and they know they're the stars of the movie. They're like athletes, they train for certain things that they have to do and come onto set with so much joy and enthusiasm. It gave me so much respect for these dogs and their innate personalities but also for the trainers and coaches that work with them. They have such a unique bond with the dogs and their ability to communicate with them is jaw dropping."

When asked how much work the dogs were in post-production, Raja explains "the only things we're doing in post-production, in terms of the dog's performance, is eyebrows and mouth and a few eye shapes. The rest is 100% the dog's performance."

When asked what he loves the most about the film, he explains that it's the universal appeal of the movie. He loves the idea that "a child, a parent and a grandparent can all sit together laughing at the same joke, enjoying the same moment." The movie has "a lot of ingredients that are just flat out fun." He really hopes the audience will "enjoy the ride."

WILL ARNETT - Frank

When asked what attracted him to the project Will said, "I tend to do a lot of different shows and projects, and it was one of those movies I told my kids about and I pitched them the idea and they loved it. It's fun for me to be able to do something I feel like they, their friends and people that age will really respond to."

Arnett describes his character as, "Frank is an FBI agent who susses out that there are some bad guys who are trafficking animals. The investigation leads to a dog show in Las Vegas - Frank has to go there and that's when he gets teamed up with a Rottweiler named Max. Frank begrudgingly takes Max on as his partner and they set off on an adventure to Vegas, to enter the dog show and capture the animal traffickers."

Talking of his co-star Natasha, Arnett was highly complementary. "Working with Natasha is great. She's a lot of energy in a small package because she's physically quite small but she's got this ferocious personality in the best way. She brings a ton of energy and she's crazy funny. She's one of the funniest, smartest people I know."

Commenting on the unique experience of working on SHOW DOGS, Arnett said, "Coming to work every day and getting to work with all these great dogs is really, really fun. I'm a dog lover and I have to sometimes stop myself from constantly petting the dogs because I forget they're working. I've got to say, working with these dogs in a lot of ways is better than working with humans. They're much more respectful and their needs are very simple. They just want to eat and make everybody happy. They're constantly smiling, it seems. They're just having a good time."

When asked if he had a favorite dog, Arnett found it tricky to answer. "I really love a lot of the dogs. The dog that plays Daisy is an Australian Shepherd and she's so beautiful and young. She's only a puppy. She's a really a sweet dog and has so much energy but is smart and eager to get it right. You have Razor who's this little Chihuahua and he's got such a funny temperament. Q is the dog that I spend the most amount of time with on set and I've really grown to love him."

Working with filmmakers was a highly collaborate experience saying, "Our director, Raja, is just the loveliest guy. He is incredibly inclusive and open to new ideas. He always has a pretty firm shot list but within that framework he's very flexible and I love that part of it. The producers have done a great job of creating an environment where that can exist, giving us the time and the resources. It's been awesome. Deepak, the producer, has got so much experience over so many different projects, and he is a real lover of life. He really wants everybody to be able to reach their fullest potential."

Commenting of the overall appeal of the film, Arnett said, "I think what audiences will enjoy about this film is they can go as a family and there will be something in it for everybody."

"Some people have described this movie as Miss Congeniality for dogs. It's a really a fun twist on an action film, and a fun adventure film the whole family can enjoy."

NATASHA LYONNE - Mattie Smith

"It's sort of my dream movie. I love dogs and really felt like my entire life has been leading up to this moment." Natasha Lyonne talks of her enthusiasm for the SHOW DOGS project. "It's clearly the role I was born for. I'm a huge fan of Will's, Stanley Tucci and Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Alan Cummings and Shaquille O'Neal. These are really my favorite people so I was just really excited."

Natasha Lyonne stars in SHOW DOGS as Mattie Smith, describing her character as, "Mattie has won Best In Show many times and this is her world. Will's character comes into it looking for help. Mattie is tasked with assisting Frank and Max to blend into the dog show. It's a bit of a challenge but she's up to it, as long as he plays by her rules." Talking of her co-star, she joked, "Will Arnett is so well suited to the role because I really believe he works for the FBI. Really, Will is a blast to work with and play off of. It makes my job very easy and fun."

Although Daisy is her number one, Lyonne confesses a passion for Rottweiler's. "I will say that Max, played by Q, is a sensational Rottweiler. I grew up with Rottweiler's so I'm sort of predisposed to really loving them. I get right in a Rottweiler's face. I like to put my hands right in their jaw and Q seems to really enjoy that sort of manhandling approach."

Working with the director Raja was a treat for Lyonne explaining, "Who is better equipped to make SHOW DOGS than the man who made BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA? Nobody is the answer! I really love that this is a movie I'd have no idea how to make. They're constantly bringing in the VFX globes and everything is about how they are going to CGI this and that. He's made these kinds of films before and that experience level makes for a very calm, safe environment. It's such a specific skill to be able to make these movies and make them great."

Lyonne shares her hopes for the SHOW DOGS audiences. "Something that we've really paid attention to is trying to make sure that Mattie is a good foil for Frank. We talk a lot about Tracey and Hepburn, those kind of dynamics, where the woman is an equal match and will give him a run for his money.

"Also, the bad guys in the movie are really doing a horrible thing, trying to sell endangered species. Hopefully that will be part of the takeaway; a reminder of just how real animals are and how important it is to take care of them.

"Finally, I hope the takeaway is really to remember that it's always better to be weird than it is to not be. If your inner person is a show dog type, go ahead and be one because you may as well honor your inner self. Respect the show dog."

OMAR CHAPARRO - Senor Gabriel

Omar Chaparro describes his villainous character of Senor Gabriel as "a very wealthy man but a liar. He always looks good but he is someone you don't want to trust and you don't want to mess with him. He's kind of dangerous."

Chaparro describes himself completely different than his character emphasizing his love for dogs. "These dogs, I love them. I work with the dog Karma, who is a Komondor breed - he is huge and looks like a massive mop." He compared working with dogs vs. humans saying, "I've never worked with dogs before. Someone is talking to you, you talk back. With a dog it's different, they have different complications. What I was surprised about is that there aren't any human leading characters in this movie, all the leading roles are for the dogs." When discussing working his with his human co-stars Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, Chaparro said, "They are very nice guys, fun to work with. Natasha is always playing around. And Will is a very nice guy to talk to. They're both very professional. I'm so happy to work with them. I feel so grateful and lucky to be in this project."

Chaparro hopes that audiences will enjoy SHOW DOGS and see a different perspective saying, "As humans we think we're the smart ones but, in this movie, you're going to realize it's the opposite and it's a very fun thing to watch. I love the script. The writer is very clever because he wrote this story to be watched by everyone, not only kids but adults too. It's a family movie, a great movie, very funny and it's going to make you laugh for sure."

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