The Dog from The Artist Has all the Right Moves

Michael Hazanavicius’s The Artist is a black and white, silent film that’s currently collecting awards hand over fist while it builds up Oscar buzz, and even though it sounds like exactly the type of fussy, masturbatory experiment in form that makes people hate award shows, I saw it and it was actually really good. Perhaps due in no small part to the scene-stealing performance of Uggie, a 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier who plays the protagonist’s dog. And so convincingly! Thanks to BestWeekEver, we have a new batch of pictures of Uggie (who also appeared in Water for Elephants) rocking the red carpet at a UK charity screening for Dog’s Trust. SPOILER ALERT: He also skateboards. EEEEE!

Says Uggie’s trainer: “A lot of dogs in the film business are overtrained. They have a repertoire of 100 tricks. Uggie has just 20 tricks. He doesn’t have all the things that movie dogs have, which is why he’s so natural.”

Uggie doesn’t need all those fancy tricks! He’s not an actor, he’s more of a reactor. He’s the John Wayne of dogs!

Uggie comes from a humble background. At 7 months, he was living with a family that was going to send him to the pound after he did something no dog should ever do. “He had bitten a goat in the garden,” says Omar von Muller, Uggie’s current owner, who adopted him when he heard the story. “Most of the time, when there’s a nice dog with a lot of potential energy, I hate for them to go to the pound. I groomed him to be a performing dog.”

He had a rough childhood, like Mark Wahlberg (“Get out of owah gahden, ya stinky awriental goat!”), or Charles Bronson! He wasn’t one of these pussy Disney Channel dogs we have today.

According to Hollywood legend, at the first Oscars in 1929, Rin Tin Tin scored the most votes, but the award for best actor went to Emil Jannings instead. Still, that hasn’t stopped Movieline from launching a campaign on Uggie’s behalf (#ConsiderUggie). Although Uggie does not speak English or use a phone, he does have his own Twitter account.
Despite all the critical acclaim, Uggie is facing retirement. At 9, he doesn’t have any other gigs lined up, and he spends most of his days lounging by the pool or playing with Muller’s 6-year-old daughter. “His health is good, but he has a bit of a shaking syndrome that white dogs get,” Muller says. “People will think he’s nervous or cold, but it’s a neurological thing.”  [TheDailyBeast]

Oh man, a natural actor, a rough childhood, skateboarding skills, and he’s got a shaking syndrome? This dog is like John Wayne, Charles Bronson, and Michael J. Fox all rolled into one. Plus he’s a dog. I’m sold.
[a couple more pictures over at BestWeekEver]