Behind the Scenes with Monkeys: The Robert Vince Story

Senior Editor
04.06.10 5 Comments

If you caught my Daily Circle Jerk this morning and already read this, I apologize, you can skip to the next post.  But if I spent more than 10 minutes on something, you better believe I’m going to milk it until it lactates blood.  That’s why I’m always sending you cell pics of my dumps.  Anyway, here’s my piece on the man behind such legendary pictures as Most Vertical Primate (featuring the last airpuncher), Most Xtreme Primate, Spymate, and Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch.

Lots of film directors have a niche.  Hitchcock made thrillers, George Romero thinks only in zombie, and if super slow motion was a woman, Zach Snyder would date rape her at a party.  However, one director whose name probably doesn’t come to mind is Robert Vince. I’m here today to correct that.  Robert Vince deserves to be a household name, carved into park benches and whispered in middle-school locker rooms worldwide, because Robert Vince is a great man. Robert Vince makes movies about dogs and chimps in human clothes that play sports. To explain such a career, ironically, I must begin at the beginning.

The Duke

In 1999, a rough kid from the streets who led with his fists and, sometimes, his heart, came to Hollywood with nothing but the shirt on his back and a dream; a dream that someday, a dog would become British royalty and hijinks would ensue. I would love to post the trailer for you here, but the footage was literally too incendiary for the internet. But ensue they did, and before long, the script that Vince had co-authored with his wife Anne and Philip Detweiler would go on to become the highest-grossing movie about dog croquet in the history of VHS.

But some say trouble lurked behind the scenes.  Vince chafed under the direction of helmer Philip Spink, who seemed to have his own vision for the project.  Vince found Spink’s style “too corporate”, and when the first batch of dailies came in, he fumed that Spink was trying to turn all his work into “some watered-down pooch flick.”  Meanwhile Spink, still bathing in the afterglow of the success of his last film, a little bigfoot-basketball picture called Big and Hairy, resented Vince’s meddling, and secretly referred to him as “that two-bit mutt peddler from Simi Valley.”  Vince privately railed that he wasn’t about to take script notes from “some cheap knock-off sasquatch movie clown,”  but in the end, cooler heads prevailed.  Like Lennon-McCartney, many believe it was the artists’ conflict that eventually made The Duke what it was.


Around The Web