Premiere of the movie ‘Show Dogs’

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OK, I have to say I love comedian and actor Will Arnett (he just Development stopped and he plays Batman in the Lego film) and the charming singer, writer and actor Alan Cumming (Instinct, The good woman). These are just two of the many stars in director Raja Gosnell’s action-adventure comedy. Show dogs in theaters May 18. And, the movie stars a group of dogs, which is always a plus when you’re a dog lover.

The story pairs Max, a handsome Rottweiler and police dog, with a human partner – the funny man Will Arnett. Much to his dismay, Max is ordered to go undercover as a prestigious show dog in Las Vegas to solve a contraband animal case. Anyone who’s ever watched a dog show knows it’s not just about getting ready and smoothing out, so we can imagine the rude awakening Max is waiting for.

Want to know more? Hunting dog had the chance to interview director Raja Gosnell about the film.

Questions / Answers About Show dogs With Raja Gosnell

A scene from Show dogs.

Dogster: What is the central theme of the film?
Raja Gosnell: A lonely macho police dog, Max (voiced by Ludacris) is forced to team up with human FBI agent Frank (Will Arnett). They go undercover at the prestigious Canini Invitational Dog Show in Las Vegas to rescue a kidnapped baby panda and dismantle the infamous animal smuggling ring that kidnapped her. In the process, Max shakes up the stifling social order of the dog show world, and Max and Frank learn to work together and respect each other.

The theme of the movie revolves around learning to trust others who are different from you. Show dogs is a nostalgic mix of talking dog / buddy-cop / fish out of the water.

Tell us a bit about the dogs and animal trainers in the movie?
Show dogs features a Rottweiler (Que), a Papillon (Razor), a Pug (Roxy), an Australian Shepherd (Elsa), a Komondor (Dar), a Xoloitzcuintli – Mexican Hairless (Mango), a Yorkie (Macho), a Basset Hound (Uzi), a Whippet (Romey) and a multitude of real show dogs and their owners. The head coach is Mike Alexander, who made Beverly Hills Chihuahua with me. The rest of the fantastic team of trainers were mainly from the UK and Europe.

Funny stories about the canine actors on set?
We shot the movie in Wales in the winter and the dogs loved the cold so we tended to keep the sets in the 50 to 60 degree Fahrenheit zone. While the human actors were shaking and the crew in parkas, the dogs had the time of their lives. Even at this temperature Our Rottweiler star was constantly drooling. It was like a faucet! Mike had to wipe it off after each take.

The funniest thing I remember is our really good Papillon trying to stay in character while watching strands of drool trickle out of the Rottweiler’s mouth.

Elsa the Australian Shepherd loved people and hugged them knowing they would catch her. Sometimes you might be in the middle of a conversation, gesturing about something and suddenly find an Australian Shepherd in your arms licking your face!

Are there other animal actors in the movie, and what can you tell us about them and their roles?
While there are other animal characters in the movie, they are all created by CGI. A baby panda named Ling Li, a tiger named Deepak and three budding cop pigeons.

Show the dogs.
A scene from Show dogs.

What do you hope viewers take away from this film?
It’s time to go back! And lots of behind-the-scenes dog show vignettes, told primarily from the dog’s perspective. These characters are proud competitors and take their world and place very seriously. Honestly, I hope the public enjoys seeing beautiful, real dogs doing what they love. While we humans had fun making this movie, I’m sure no one had more fun than these brilliant dogs.

How does the film reflect the real world with dogs today? And are there any serious dog issues he treats?
Not at all on the nose. Our characters have fairly universal concerns. Where they fit into the world (or pack), get along with others, be good at what they do. I think these are emotions shared by humans and by dogs.

Watch the film in theaters from May 18, and find out more at #ShowDogsMovie on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and on the film’s official website, showdogs-movie.com. Also check out the trailers on YouTube.

Live Casting: Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne
Voice distribution: Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, Shaquille O’Neal, Alan Cumming and Stanley Tucci
Realized by: Raja Gosnell
Written by: Max Botkin
Rated: PG

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