September 11, 2015 | Posted in Famous TV & Movie Dogs

MarleyTHE MANY MARLEYS FROM “MARLEY AND ME”

There were actually 22 dogs portraying Marley during the making of the engaging 2008 film starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson. The real Marley, beloved pet of John and Jenny Grogan, had inspired the story after they adopted him as a puppy to prepare themselves to become parents. But the 12-pound pup grew into a Yellow Lab weighing over 100 pounds. He got into everything and “naughty” was his middle name.

For the film, the numerous dogs were hired to portray Marley at various stages of his life. Some dogs were hired because they excelled at specific activities, as well. Clyde was the name of the acting dog who got the most screen time. He was three years old during filming and could play Marley through a few stages of life, particularly the goofy or fun-loving stages. He’d been found prior to filming by Susan Wooley and Dean Kawaga, who adopted him from the shelter where Susan volunteered. He was stubborn, loved attention and loved to eat everything – including paper. He wasn’t a bad dog, though. In fact, he had to be trained to appear untrained so that he would perform a bad behavior on camera and feel it was the right thing to do. He received a $1500 fee for doing the film and the fee was donated to a Lab rescue group.

During a scene where Marley has a necklace in his mouth and is chased because he won’t give it up, three trainers were hidden around the set. Clyde, as Marley, picked up the necklace and the trainers took turns calling him towards them. He’d run in one direction, then turn and run in the next direction, looking like he was evading being caught.

Another spunky dog actor was Rudy, who had been born in 2000 and was rescued from a Tampa, Florida shelter with 24 hours remaining before he was to be euthanized. He portrayed Marley during physical scenes such as ripping apart a snow man, swimming, playing catch, or eating a birthday cake.

A dog named Jonah played what they called “Mellow Marley” on the set, when the title dog was meant to be sleeping or just being relaxed.  Brownie was another animal actor who played Marley, in his middle ages. He was still perky and spunky but a little less rambunctious than Clyde.  For Old Marley, a dog named Copper was employed.

Puppies were also hired to play puppy Marley and Marley’s puppies. At the conclusion of the film, 11 puppies needed to have homes found for them, but it wasn’t difficult. There was a long list of executives and others involved with the film that were anxious to give a home to one of the little Labs who’d made their acting debut.

Stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson are both animal lovers and enjoyed working with the animal actors so much that they brought their own dogs (Wilson’s “Garcia” and Aniston’s “Norman”) to the set to join in the fun between takes. Norman even did a cameo appearance during a beach scene. The human actors were well-liked by the dog actors but one of the trainers revealed the secret to getting a dog to give a kiss on screen. It’s all about ham-flavored baby food. It apparently has a taste most dogs love and it comes closest to matching human skin color. Strategically placed on the human, it’s a sure-fire way to get a dog to deliver that kiss on command.