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George Lopez on Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Published October 2, 2008 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Walt Disney Pictures
Beverly Hills ChihuahuaBeverly Hills Chihuahua
You might scoff at the title Beverly Hills Chihuahua. You might dismiss it as just another talking animal movie. However, George Lopez, who provides the English speaking voice of one of the dogs, sees the film as a much more significant metaphor.

George Lopez a Beverly Hills Chihuahua

“Look, there's a lot of compelling stories in Hollywood of how people make it against all odds, but to be one day from being put down and then the next day you're on every billboard and you're the star of a movie is unbelievable,” said Lopez. “It's unfortunate that he's a canine and really won't ever understand what that means but I think it's a metaphor for all of us. I had kidney disease and I didn't know what my life was going to be like after my surgery, or even before, what the quality of life was going to be. In this movie, it's Disney and they always do movies that pull at your heartstring and this one's no different, and it was more of a romantic story than I imagined it to be when I was recording.”

Papi’s part grew as Lopez improvised more and more dialogue based on the real dog’s actions. “I don't know about the other actors, but I, being a comedian, I would look at the thing and go, ‘I could do something better than this.’ And [director Raja Gosnell] is like, ‘Oh yeah? Well let's do it like that, and then we'll do it the way you want to do it.’ And then in most cases, they used my [version]. Like that scene where they're in the police office, Sam and Papi, Papi's sitting in the chair and Piper walks up, and the dog just kind of looks over to the side as a dog would. So I said, ‘Hannah Montana at 3 o'clock!’ All the dog did was that and I put a joke in there. So that kind of stuff was nice. It adds to the movie.”

A pet owner himself, Lopez was impressed by the tricks professional movie dogs could do. “I have three chihuahuas, and they're not as still as that dog, I'll tell you that much. I mean, these dogs, they go everywhere, and their heads move everywhere, and they shake. I have a dog that it could be 90 degrees outside, and if she's outside, she'll run up to the window and just start shaking like she's in Antarctica. You're like, ‘It's 90 degrees outside!’ But they know, they're like, ‘You gotta let me in, man, I'm shaking! It's freezing!’ So the fact that they had them so still and moving so freely that they do look like human actors. I mean, you forget that these are dogs. When they run out of the dogfight thing, you're not surprised they don't run in 20 different directions. They all run in the same direction. I don't know what kind of bacon they have over there, or what of chicken they use, but that's some powerful stuff.”

Lopez was still a slave to whatever the dogs performed on the set. “When they started to get footage and send it back, then we started to kind of match the dog because you don't want to do four sentences and the dog only moves his mouth a little bit. Then they did it with CGI, so we were able to make it seem real. In the old days, they just took peanut butter and put it under the mouth and the dog would talk forever, like a lecture.”

Beverly Hills Chihuahua opens to theaters on October 3.

For the poster, trailers and more movie info, go to the Beverly Hills Chihuahua Movie Page.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Walt Disney Pictures

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