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Canine actor du jour

Canine actor du jour — We chat with ”Grinch”’s dog star Kelly

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Canine actor du jour

EW catches up with Kelly, Hollywood’s hottest new canine star, fresh off her gender-bending turn as Max in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

So you were discovered at a Glendale animal shelter when Ron Howard was looking for the perfect ”Max”?
Yes, and let me tell you, I count my blessings. Now that I’m out I appreciate the little things: the tastier kibble, the fresh air, no imminent prospect of being put to sleep. It’s the grace notes, really.

So was it tough learning how to act?
I was totally lost at first, but Jim, God bless him, taught me some method tips he learned making Man on the Moon, and they really worked for me. So I’d think, ”In this scene, I love the Grinch, but I also disapprove of his actions, but I also want to lick myself.” And once I got to that place, it just came naturally.

What was it like working with Carrey?
I’m in awe of his improv skills. He did this one bit with a high-pitched whistle that was just killing me, but unfortunately I was the only one that really got it, so it got cut. But there’s always the DVD…

It seems Carreyesque when he plants your butt on May Who’s face.
I have to admit, I was a little reticent about whether that scene was necessary. But Ronnie pulled me aside and told me that it was actually based on a true incident that happened between [”Happy Days”’] Donny Most and Al Molinaro. And when you say ”Ralph Malph,” I say, ”Just tell me where to squat.”

Was it tough playing a guy through this whole movie?
Well, Linda Hunt did the same thing in The Year of Living Dangerously, and she won an Oscar. (Note to Academy!) But she got to wear clothes, so she had a leg up, as it were.

So what are your future plans?
Get an agent! I had points on Grinch, but they’re all net, not gross. I’m not even seeing a piece of the Max doll. I know the movie is about giving and blah blah blah, but chew toys don’t pay for themselves.

What do you think about the other canine talent out there?
Love Eddie on Frasier. Love him. Not sure if he’s trying to play it gay, but it works. The Taco Bell chihuahua was good, but very one-note. And then there’s Triumph… You know, I appreciate that there’s a talent there, I just wish he didn’t have to work so blue. I remember watching Full House as a pup and being amazed by Comet. Now there was a wit. All it took was one shake of the head or well-timed wag of the tail, and it said more than a hundred ”poops.”