How much do all these movie dogs—Uggie in The Artist, Blackie in Hugo—get paid? Are they as pampered human movie stars?
—Janice M., via the inbox
If you're asking whether the Uggies of the world get their own air-conditioned trailers on location, the answer is: Often!
And in those cases, yes, there is a star on their front door and the dog's name in gold foil, or, at least, in paper made of succulent chicken livers.
However, a dog's Hollywood life isn't all treats:
First, the pay question. I spoke with someone from Amazing Animal Productions, which supplies animals for movies and TV and so forth. (Their animals are in the Mark Wahlberg movie Contraband and also appeared in Cowboys and Aliens. You can also look for Amazing Animals in the upcoming The Hunger Games.)
"Dogs usually get paid by the day, or maybe a weekly rate," says Sid Yost, head trainer at the company. "Daily, it's $350 to $400 for the day, doesn't matter how good they are."
(A really, really cool attack dog may charge $500. Boone Narr, whose company, Boone's Animals for Hollywood, supplied the critters for Stuart Little, the Pirates of the Caribbean series and many commercials, says that some dogs get paid even more if they're totally amazing stunt dogs.)
If the dog is going to work for several weeks, say, on a movie, the talent may cut the producers a break and give 'em 20 percent off. But there are often rules: Dogs must have access to their favorite treats, courtesy of the producers, for example.
As for travel, animals are often required to do so to promote a project. (Uggie, for one, is everywhere.) In those cases, there's a good chance that the dog may even fly first class. In his own seat. Really. That's how Bodie, the dog in the Skechers commercials, rolled recently on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, Narr tells me.
And oh: The dogs likely stay in better hotels than you.
"It's often a Marriott, Hilton, or [at least] at Holiday Inn or Weston," I am told by Yost. "It's really phenomenal, the incredible service the animals get."
However, not all is fair in the world of Hollywood animals.
"The are no pay residuals for dogs" the way there is for human actors, Yost tells this B!tch. "That's a shame, because of how much dogs and animals have been a part of the history of motion pictures and TV commercials."
That's right. Uggie—unlike That French Guy Who Stars in The Artist—must work forever or risk a life of cheap kibble!