By Justine Browning
October 03, 2018 at 11:04 AM EDT

A Star Is Born (2018)

  • Movie

When A Star Is Born writer, director, and star Bradley Cooper was looking for a dog to feature in the film, he looked no further than his own pup Charlie.

In the drama, Cooper’s character Jackson Maine and Ally (Lady Gaga) adopt a dog together and the actor felt his personal connection to the pooch would read on-screen.

“There was no nepotism — I wanted this relationship with the dog,” Cooper told PEOPLE last week during the film’s Los Angeles premiere. “[Jackson and Ally] don’t have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story. I love dogs.”

Charlie is named after Cooper’s late father, who died after a battle with lung cancer in 2011. “That meant a lot for him to be in the film,” he shared.

Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Charlie not only appears in key scenes as the relationship between musicians Jackson and Ally grows — he’s also a key element of A Star Is Born’s emotional climax.

The 43-year-old notes his pet has begun to show signs of diva behavior following his big break, sharing that Charlie now “has an agent.”

“I don’t talk to him much anymore,” Cooper jokes. “He doesn’t return my calls. He always walks away from me unless I have food.”

A Star Is Born (2018)

  • Movie
  • R
  • Bradley Cooper