Dog-handling in ''Men in Black'' made headlines this week

By Ivette M. Yee
Updated July 25, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Men in Black may be a crowd-pleaser, but it’s not pleasing all dog lovers. According to a studio source, Columbia has been receiving complaints about Tommy Lee Jones’ shakedown of Frank, the movie’s scene-stealing, alien-inhabited talking pug. While Jones’ dog handling does indeed look harsh on screen, Eric Brevig, MiB‘s visual-effects supervisor, insists that neither of the canines who took turns playing Frank was harmed. Not only did Jones put the pups at ease by playing with them off camera, but the on-camera dog also wore a harness under its tiny ”I Love New York” sweatshirt. ”Tommy Lee was holding the harness,” says Brevig. ”He would shake the pug a little bit and then we’d stop…. The trainer would give the dog a treat, and he’d be happy.” Gini Barrett of the American Humane Association admits she has received one anonymous complaint but says the organization approves of the filmmakers’ treatment of the animals.

Men in Black

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 98 minutes
  • Barry Sonnenfeld