Shooting in Slippers
Talking Dogs and Sharks with authors of the Doqwalker
makers of "The Dogwalker"
spent three weeks in the
duplex apartment of producer Vera Anderson to shoot this feature film. Not only was
it cheaper but when you are shooting a movie you have to live it through
anyways, says the director Paul Duran, who was hanging out on the
set in slippers. And when they
needed to shoot a scene in a dingy-looking bar toilet, they
simply built it up in the backyard.
Same as Andersen who is
on her normal job as the Los Angeles Bureau Chief for Cine
Premiere magazine, Duran was a journalist originally. He then
started working as an assistant cameraman and
special effects coordinator on low budget indie horror films.
Later he shot movie clips for Tom Petty, and Neil Young.
Dogwalker is Duran's second feature film after "Flesh Suitcase" (to those
of you American readers who would think it's a
porn movie, or a horror movie, it is in fact a story of two
drug-smugglers). Thinking up the basic set-up evolving around
a man who is hired to walk a dog was no coincidence
for Duran. "One day, when I was during this low part of
my life, I was walking around with two dogs thinking: 'What the hell do I know
about [to make a movie out of it]? I know about walking dogs."
The idea was
born and Duran and Anderson had to find the man to play the dogwalker.
Although they hired a casting agency, which kept sending good looking TV
stars, it was themselves again who found now 27-year-old Will Stewart. Andersen
stumbled across Stewart at casting for his role but at first sight she could not
figure out whether he was a construction worker or an actor. In
fact, Stewart had appeared in Mr. Holland's Opus, Murder She Wrote and
Playing God (along with David "Mulder" Duchovny in his attempt
to get away from the X-Files). But in addition to his acting career he
describes himself as a passionate dishwasher.
those more untamed characters - a dog - turned out to be a little bit more
difficult. Although they were originally planning on using their own Scottish
terrier, perfectly in line with keeping the
budget low by eliminating outsourcing, they failed
to train him as he was too spoiled. Instead, they went for the
the exception of the older lady, the boxer's owner in the film and more
of a cat person in her real life, who had a hard time dealing with the dog
(they had to put salami on her face in order to convince the dog to lick her),
Duran, Andersen, and even Stewart all had a
thing for dogs, and animals. Stewart said his dog helped him go
through a dark period in his college days (after a brief
period in his life when he wanted to become a brain surgeon in Bozeman,
Montana, since there is no speed limit there). Duran and Anderson
went both as far as thinking about becoming vets. Andersen
has in fact explored her relationship to animals more deeply as she,
inspired by Bertolucci's 1900, was
indulging in the so called
"frog-gigging" which involves catching frogs and putting
them on a string, and then was selling them to schools.
talking about his film, Duran often brings up Tom Sawyer, and
describes Jerry Cooper as a Tom Saywer 20 years later. "I've always
had this boyhood recollection of that
scene from Tom Saywer when he is painting the fence, "
he says and continues telling the story of Tom who convinces
everybody around him that it's in fact a great thing to be doing just that and
gets offered apples and money from others for letting them do it. "And
that's how I saw the character, he is also taking
advantage of people, but not in a bad way."
dog-walking character is a good-looking young
man in a nice-looking suit who is forced to spend a night in his old Lincoln,
the type with the suicide doors. But you don't get to know much
about him really, Duran intentionally kept Jerry's life outside the neighborhood a bit
obscured. At a certain point, it is only
hinted that he previously worked as a
salesman. Duran in fact admitted to us
with a straight face that Jerry was selling waterbeds, which "used to be
a really booming business in the US in the 80īs."
Duran explained, Cooper really functions like a catalyst on all the
people around him - by taking the job of a dogwalker he enters a life of the
old woman, the dog owner, her daughter and
grand-daughter, and three bridge-playing older men. "He
is like a stranger coming to town," said Duran.
Cooper is destined to leave this little world as well and he only finds
out at the birthday party of a 16-year old girl that he has became a stranger again
and that everybody is exhausted by him.
next film is called The Shark, and although it refers to a loan
shark, there were already problems with the animal protection
authorities who wanted to make sure that Duran is not going to be harming "that