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Cats and Dogs Voice Actors Curl Up with Kidzworld!

Maybe you have pets and wonder what they are saying but you don't get to speak for them. James Marsden, Bette Midler and Christina Applegate got that chance in the new action adventure Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.


You might have seen the original film Cats and Dogs on video or DVD. It has taken nine years and much more sophisticated computer abilities and advances in puppetry to bring us to that film's sequel.


We were with the cast of the movie (the real Cats and Dogs) as well as the humans who speak for them recently in Beverly Hills and asked the human actors the scoop on doing voice work in a talking animal movie, personal pets and even fave childhood toys.


Kidzworld: Tell us about the cat or dog each of you voiced.
Bette: I’m a cat. I play Kitty Galore. She's an Egyptian sphinx cat. She’s hairless except for a little hair on her tail. She’s very cranky because she’s been rejected by her beloved human family and she’s determined to rule the world. When I first started, [I just saw] a sketch. As the time went on, the backgrounds of the other characters got more and more filled in. That was very, very exciting to watch. I’ve never experienced that before.

Cats And Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreBette Midler as Kitty Galore

James: I play Diggs. He’s the German Shepherd. He’s a dog that worked for the police force, but was rejected because he had difficulty following orders. He has a lot of raw ability and talent, but unfortunately his ego eclipses all of those natural abilities. He's recruited by this separate group of dogs to thwart Kitty Galore and, ultimately, has to team up with cats, which is the end all, be all. He has to overcome his own sense of pride to work together with them. I like his confidence and his boldness. He doesn’t really know about teamwork so much, but he’s very comfortable in his own skin.


Cats And Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreJames Marsden as Diggs the German Shepherd

Christina: I play the cat Catherine, who is the agent from MEOWS. She’s an incredibly sophisticated, smart agent who’s very spy-like. And, she begrudgingly has to be teamed up with these dogs, in order for her to stop Kitty Galore, who is about to destroy her universe. I love her. I think she’s a really wonderful, rich cat.


Cats And Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreChristina Applegate as Catherine the cat

Kidzworld: Who is a cat or dog person?
Bette: In real life, my pet passed. I’m a non pet person at this point.


James: I’m a dog person. I’m allergic to cats so, by default, I’m a dog person.


Christina: I am a both person. I love all the animals. All shapes, colors, sizes and species.


Cats And Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreThe REAL Pets of Cats And Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Kidzworld: What was the process of doing the voices? Did you all get to work together at all? Was there a big moment where you discovered your “inner animal?”
James: It was an interesting process. When you’re in a film or doing television and you’re in front of the camera, you have your expressions in your face and your body language. This experience for me was challenging because you really do rely on your voice to convey emotion, to play a scene. It was important to find the voice that matched the physicality of the real dog, and to match the energy that was needed for the animators.


For this type of movie, you’re in a dark room with a microphone sitting in front of you and not a lot of imagery to go along. We just had the director, saying, “Say that again, but remember that what you’re yelling at, that you can’t see right now, is actually 50 meters ahead of you, so you need to be a little louder.” It was very gratifying to see the final picture with all these puzzle pieces coming together.


Christina: It took me a minute to figure out exactly what was going on. My first session with them, I had worked on [my TV show], “Samantha Who?” until nine o’clock in the morning, and then I had to be there at 11, so I wasn’t in the best possible condition to start doing this kind of voice, and [the director] kept saying, “More energy, more energy.” With a lot of other animated movies, they can animate though in the eyes of the character, and they can animate physicality but for this, these are real dogs and cats so it really was a cat sitting there. So, we had to convey so much through the voice. It took me a minute to get used to it, but I think it turned out really well.


Bette: It's a little bit lonely because it’s just you in a dark room with a sketch of a character but you don’t work with the other actors [or the animals]. The real thrill comes from seeing the finished product. There’s nothing harder than working with animals. Those animals really looked like they knew what they were doing, but honestly, they’re animals! But it all melds together and you say, “Well, I can’t tell which part is drawn and which part is a robot and which part is a real animal.” I think it’s really an extraordinary achievement.


Christina: With our characters, at least, I was nervous because Bette’s character had to do all this stuff that a cat wouldn’t be able to, like cuddle and pet a mouse. That would be dangerous. I thought, “This is gonna look ridiculous,” and it didn’t. It was really incredible.

Kidzworld: Bette, did being a singer help you get a handle on voice work?
Bette: There are some parts of it that are quite musical. The timing is very important. Once the mouth of the character is moving, you have to phrase along with the character that’s drawn. That's musical. I will say that the fact that I’ve sung for a long time has really helped a lot with that.

Kidzworld: James, what is it about voice work that appeals to you?
James: It’s the fact that you can just roll out of bed. Vanity gets set aside. One of the fun elements of it is definitely that you get to go and really focus on one tool, which is your vocal performance. Voice work is usually not that big of a time commitment. You can go in for a couple of days or a couple of months, here and there, and just go in and play. I like being able to do that. It’s all you, when you go in and give a vocal performance. There’s a playful element to that, that I like. I would love to continue doing voice work.

Kidzworld: Bette, in the movie, Kitty Galore is hairless because something happens to her fur. If anything happened to your fabulous hair in real life, would you also go maniacal and try to destroy the world?
Bette: No, no, no, never. Something happens to my hair in real life every day and I don’t. A long time ago, when I first worked in the theater, I was in Fiddler on the Roof. One of the girls in the play had tried to straighten her hair and her hair fell out, literally, and she didn’t even blink. She went out, got a hairpiece, slapped it on and went out and gave the performance of her life. I never forgot that. I thought, “Wow, check that out.” From that time on, I never thought twice. I just look around, grab a hairpiece and put it on.

Kidzworld: Christina, could you compare doing this to doing the voice of a Chipette in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel?
Christina: It was very different, considering the Chipettes could be anybody. You really don’t recognize [the voice] because it’s just high-pitched gibberish. That’s a little bit more taxing because you have to talk a lot higher than you normally speak, and really slowly. Everything has to be incredibly exaggerated, so you really feel ridiculous. Then they speed it up and it doesn't sound like you. For this, I didn't want to push it that much. What’s great about this film is the human quality that all these animals have. That’s why kids love it.

Kidzworld: I'm sure there will be toys available from this movie. Does anyone have a favorite childhood toy?
Christina: I remember having all the dolls from this L.A. restaurant called El Coyote. I didn’t have Barbies, but I had hundreds of these Spanish dolls that were dressed like the waitresses there. I loved my little Conchitas. I had a few of them.


Bette: Actually, my mother made our toys. She made a rabbit for me, and I still have it. He had little corduroy overalls. My mom was really a seamstress. She was fantastic. But, in those days, they used to have patterns and all the women would buy them. The pattern would come with the fabrics and you would put it together. The stuffing too. That was a great little enterprise.


James: [looks sad] I had Star Wars action figures.

Video: Cats And Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Trailer

 

 


Lynn Barker, an editor and entertainment journalist for several websites, magazines and newspapers, has been active in the entertainment industry for many years.


Have Your Say

Are you a dog person like James, a cat AND dog person like Christina or a NON pet person like Bette? Let us know by posting your comment below!


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Entertainment In The Forums

AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Movies:
Hello and welcome to the first installment of my new series "Alpha Reviews". Whenever I see a new movie, I'll write a review of it here. Don't worry, the first part of the review will be spoiler free, and I'll make sure to give a warning when I talk more about the specifics of the movie.  Today I'll be looking at Roland Emmerich's sequel to (arguably) his greatest work, Independence Day. His original alien disaster film came out in 1996, and while it wasn't a major hit with the critics, it trounced the box office by raking in more money than any other film of that year. Over the past two decades, love for the movie has only grown, and it's now seen as the ultimate popcorn movie.  So how did the sequel hold up? Well...it's not easy to tell. On the one hand, there are some things that this movie did really well. On the other, this movie had moments that I absolutely hated. This is such a hard movie to crituique. Not because there's nothing to critique, but because there's so much right and wrong in the movie that making a final call on it is hard to do.  For one, the story is serviceable. I can buy pretty much everything that they're saying. While there are a few obvious plot holes, impeccable writing isn't what you expect from ID.  The characters vary from the fun and interesting to the idiotic and annoying. Jeff Goldblum does a great job here, and so does Bill Pullman and William Fitchener. As for the new characters? Not so much. The (arguably) two main characters are played by discount Chris Hemsworth (Liam Hemsworth), and discount Micheal B. Jordan (Jessie Usher). Neither give a stunning performance. And my goodness, there is one character in this movie who is so stereotypical and unrealistic, that it literally made me facepalm when I saw it. You'll know who I'm talking about if you've seen the movie. But, the movie is set up so that everyone gets a healthy slice of screen time, so it's okay.  The action is phenomenal, but kind of unoriginal. The first real action scene we have is the destruction of London. Know what it looks exactly like? The destruction of Paris in 2012. Know who directed 2012? Roland Emmerich. Now, I'm one of the few who enjoyed that movie, so I'm fine with it. And most of the other scenes do have a more original feel to them. But, this guy doesn't stop at copying his own movies. There's an action scene where they're on the moon, it looks exactly like Prometheus. I guess I can forgive some of this, but come on, really?  The nostalgia was WAY off the charts. I count this as a category for review because it's what old movie sequels do now. Some do it at the right amount, some don't do it enough, and some...like this film...do it all the time. Almost everything is recycled from the past movie, and there so many callbacks that it's hard to remember them all. But I will give it credit, some of them had me laughing. But, some of them made we want to scream "You're not even trying!" in the theater.  All in all? I'd say that you need to see this movie if you had any enjoyment out of the first one. But, just know that this has a lot more nonsense to put up with, even though it does give much of the entertainment value of the first one in return. I can't guarantee that you won't be disappointed, but if you go into it expecting a mix of good and bad, you'll be glad to see the good parts of a true classic film on the big screen once again.  That's it here. What were your thoughts on the movie? Who do you think gave the best performance? What did you want to see more of? Post what you think about Independence Day: Resurgence below. 
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