lady and the tramp remake

Disney’s live-action Lady and the Tramp remake will star some real-life good doggos. The live-action film directed by Charlie Bean (The LEGO Ninjago Movie) and starring Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux will actually take its live-action category to heart, casting real live dogs in the movie about a pampered cocker spaniel who finds herself falling in love with a street-wise mutt.

Collider reports that Lady and the Tramp remake will feature real dogs in the live-action movie set to debut exclusively on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+. In an interview with actor Thomas Mann, who is playing the role of Lady’s human owner, Jim Dear, Collider learned that the human actors are acting with real dogs in the film, rather than the strictly CGI creations that have become a staple of Disney’s other “live-action” remakes like The Jungle Book and the upcoming The Lion King. Mann said:

“I really think it’s an enhanced version of the world that you saw before. Obviously, the human characters are a little more flushed out. They’re not these passing faces that you barely get a glimpse of. You get to know them a little bit better. And also, there are real dogs. Who doesn’t want to see two real dogs kiss over a plate of spaghetti? That is the main draw for me. You get the charisma of real dogs in there.”

It’s unclear whether these dogs will be partially replaced in post-production, or if the team behind Lady and the Tramp will apply visual effects to their mouths when they speak — or even if the film will go the old-school way and simply have the actors speak while the dogs bark and react. They could also simply be stand-ins for CGI creations, but Mann confirmed that they “shot with the dogs every day”:

“The dogs were there. We shot with the dogs, every day. They were on set and they weren’t even trained. They found these dogs and started training them about three months before. They just wanted to find the perfect dogs. The main dog’s name was Rose, who played Lady. It was crazy because they didn’t know they were working, so they would run off in the middle of a take, and then come back over. You have to be extra patient because you have to be good every time for when they are good once. It was a lot of fun. It was so cute, every day, to just have a bunch of dogs to play with. It made the job a lot less stressful.”

I miss the days when live-action animals populated family-friendly films rather than CGI characters, and it’s encouraging to see a Disney live-action remake actually take its “live-action” descriptor to heart. It’s too bad that the film will be going directly to streaming. But at least the actors seem to be having a ball on set (the team morale must be through the roof!), even if they are preparing to be outshone by their dog co-stars.

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