The star of this year’s Oscars in Hollywood was not one of the A list stars we are used to see gracing the red carpet, but a small Jack Russell called Uggie, who stole the show in the award-winning French silent movie, The Artist. Uggie is just the last in a long list of animal stars who have graced the silver screen, dazzling us with their performance and acting abilities.
CGI Versus Real Life
Animal themes in movies have been popular for decades, and kids are still entranced by movies such as the Jungle Book or Bambi 50 years after they were originally made. As these sorts of movies were animated, the film makers neatly stepped around the issues presented by getting large numbers of animals to perform to cue. With animation and especially with computer generated movies, animals can be made to do practically anything.
Animals which are used to perform in movies are by and large very well treated. Trainers will have invested considerable time and effort in their animals and will try to protect their investment from harm. Animals are given plenty of rest and food breaks, and most movie sets where animals are working are inspected by animal welfare charities to ensure everything is above board and as it should be. Many movies will have several similar animals on set so that for certain shots different animals can be used so as not to put all the stress on one animal only.
Obviously some animals are easier to train than others. Horses, dogs and cats can be made to do far more things than a rodent or reptile. The techniques which work best are those which offer rewards for positive behaviour rather than punishing negative behaviour. Some trainers will use herbal equine performance supplements to help keep horses focused in their training, and with dogs the trick is often getting the animal attached to one particular toy or treat to be used as a reward. It is impossible to force an animal to do something against its will, and cooperation and partnership with the trainer is key. Trainers know their animals well, and an animal which is under the weather will not cooperate well. The use of items such as herbal equine performance supplements or canine equivalents can be used to ensure an animal stays in the best condition possible.
Famous Movie Animals
Dogs and horses are probably the best known animals to have featured in the movies. Lassie was the star of several movies in the 1970s, and Black Beauty is an all-time classic. Children’s movies featuring dogs such as Beethoven were huge box office hits, and spawned a whole series of sequels. The Wizard of Oz wouldn’t be the same without Toto, and would Elizabeth Taylor have become such a star without her role alongside a horse in National Velvet? The biggest animal movie star though, in all senses of the word, was Keiko, the killer whale who starred in Free Willy.
The Equine Warehouse offer a range of herbal equine performance supplements – perfect for that budding movie star animal!