Richard Gere is one of many stars featured in a new movie, “My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story” which explores the relationship between dog and owner. A host of other stars appear with their pooches as well including, Richard Belzer, Edie DiFalco, Glenn Close and designer Isaac Mizrahi.
The NY Posts reports that the intensity of the relationships between dog and owner surprised the films producers.
Well Pet Peeps, we wouldn’t be surprised at all, would we?
The movie is being released via DVD today.
Richard Gere meditates with his dog, Billie and Glenn Close hides liver treats behind pillows for her two pups, Charlie and Jake. These are just a few of the canine-centric confessions revealed in the documentary “My Dog: An Unconditional Love Story,” out on DVD Tuesday, and featuring an array of actors, athletes, musicians and writers divulging details about their devoted pups.
The idea for the film came during a script meeting between Gere and director Mark St. Germain, who knows Gere from his work on another dog-focused movie, “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story.”
Richard Gere and wife Carey Lowell cuddle their dog Billie..
When Gere’s dog, Billie, entered the room, Gere was a different man, says St. Germain. “He was totally unguarded,” he says. “Everyone has a relationship with their dog, but for people in public life, it’s different. They can really relax around their dogs in a way they can’t around people.”
So he and producer Daryl Roth searched through their Rolodexes for famous pup-loving pals and set out to make the documentary. They ended up with more than 20 recognizable names and faces, and St. Germain spent a half-day or more with each one, hanging out on penthouse patios or strolling the grounds of country homes.
“The intensity of their feelings for their dogs surprised me at times,” says St. Germain. “When Chris Meloni talks about the loss of his miniature schnauzer in high school, he was back in that moment, reliving it. I could tell that was painful for him.”
Meloni had just rescued his dog, Frida, when he agreed to participate in the film: “[Co-star] Richard Belzer, who has an almost creepy love affair with his dog, enlisted me,” says Meloni.
Watching the film a year later, he realized how his relationship with Frida has changed. “We were getting to know each other then. Now, she looks at me with these eyes and wags her tail. That dog loves me like crazy.”
Belzer has no shame in showing his “love affair” with Bebe, his poodle-terrier mix whom he brings everywhere — to work, to premieres, to restaurants. “The dog is becoming more famous than I am,” Belzer says in one scene. “He’s been in TV Guide, he’s been in Page Six, he has Web sites devoted to him.”
Close’s pups, Charlie and Jake, also come with her to work on “Damages,” and Edie Falco’s dog, Marley, was on the “Sopranos” set every day.
Designer Isaac Mizrahi provides many of the film’s funniest moments, particularly when he explains what a psychic once told him about his past life with his dog Harry: “She said we were nuns together in 17th-century Spain.”
The film also has many touching scenes, particularly those documenting the relationship between late actress Lynn Redgrave and her dog, Viola. Redgrave, who battled breast cancer for seven years until she passed away earlier this month, adopted Viola as a companion during her treatment, and often took her to plays and movies.
Similarly, Didi Conn, best known for playing “Frenchie” in “Grease,” shares how her family’s Old English sheepdog, Madeline, changed the life of her autistic son, Danny.
“Danny has so much going on in his head, so having the responsibility of a dog has been so good for him,” Conn explains. It also led Danny to a job at a local grooming facility. “He has a phenomenal memory of dogs’ names and breeds,” Conn adds.
While the movie celebrates a dog’s unquestioning love, it also makes you wonder whether pups are really so starry-eyed about their owners. In one scene, poet Billy Collins’ dog, Jeanine, gets up and walks away while Collins reads from his work. “What kind of poetry dog are you?” Collins playfully scolds.
But Meloni figures his shortcomings are covered: “She has crapped on my carpets so often, I think it’s even,” he says.