Dogs are indeed great candidates for acting roles, thanks to their capacity to learn and adapt. However, it’s crucial for them to perceive acting as a playful game. This involves rewarding them when they perform specific tasks correctly. Yet, sometimes, this approach can also lead to unexpected challenges.
During the filming of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” in 2005, an interesting issue arose. In one particular scene, where the wolves (played by dogs) were meant to search a hut for children, the film crew cleverly hid pieces of meat inside the hut to make the dogs’ search appear authentic.
The challenge emerged when the dogs enthusiastically discovered the hidden treats. They couldn’t contain their excitement and ended up sticking out their tongues and wagging their tails vigorously.
This presented a dilemma for the filmmakers because the wolves were supposed to come across as menacing and focused, not playful. To resolve this, they had to employ CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) to digitally replace the wagging tails with a more serious and menacing demeanor in post-production. This innovative solution allowed the film to maintain the desired tone and atmosphere.
- It’s true that such challenges can be more common when working with dogs in film productions. Dogs are often eager to please and express their happiness when they believe they’ve successfully completed a task, often by wagging their tails. This natural behavior can be problematic when they are portraying characters that are meant to be menacing or serious.
- However, it’s important to note that this claim doesn’t have a reliable source beyond instances like the filming of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” While there may be anecdotal evidence of similar situations in other productions, there isn’t a comprehensive source or study that definitively confirms the frequency of such occurrences. Each dog’s behavior can vary, and their training and reactions can be influenced by numerous factors, making it challenging to generalize.
If dogs in films are to act particularly malignant or scary, CGI is used more often. Like here, for example, when I am Legend is shot.
Of course, this is a zombie dog anyway, which would have required digital post-processing.