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DAVID STRICK'S HOLLYWOOD BACKLOT : ON SET: 'Hotel for
Dogs'

Who let these dogs out?

June 26, 2008|Susan King

Photographer David Strick spent literally a few dog-day afternoons capturing the canine action on the set of the family film "Hotel for Dogs," which is slated to open Jan. 16. Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin star in the comedy adventure about two orphans -- a teenage girl and her younger brother -- who learn that their new guardians won't allow them to bring their beloved dog, Friday, with them to their new home. But they find the perfect solution when they discover an abandoned hotel and transform it into a doggy Plaza Hotel for Friday and his four-legged buddies. The film, based on Lois Duncan's 1971 children's book, marks the feature debut of director Thor Freudenthal, who admits he is more of a cat person than a dog fanatic. "But I have to tell you I was very tempted during this shoot to take one of the [dogs] home with me. They are so well behaved and beautiful." Nearly 90 dogs appear in the movie, with seven pooches playing the leads. Before production began, Freudenthal spent two weeks with the trainers to select the perfect hounds for the film. "It was important for me in the hero group of dogs to have a variety of types," says Freudenthal, who picked a huge mastiff and a teeny Boston terrier to play best friends Lenny and George. And Friday is played by a Jack Russell terrier.

Make that two Jacks. "One is a runner, and you get him in wide shots," Freudenthal says. "The other one has the most adorable and expressive face, so you get him for the close-ups." Three locations were used for the doggy hotel: The lobby area was shot at the Park Plaza Hotel in MacArthur Park, the hallway sequences were filmed at the Alexandria Hotel in downtown L.A. and specific rooms in the hotel were built on a sound stage near Chinatown.

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David Strick is a veteran photographer whose work in capturing entertainment productions has given him access to behind-the-scenes Hollywood.

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