Actor W.C Fields said young children and animals are a huge no-no on the film set. Yeah, kids tend to say cute and hilarious things, and it can be near impossible not to smile when a fluffy animal is flopped on your lap, but the unpredictability of both can lead to headaches during an already chaotic day of filming.
But sometimes a script comes along that piques enough interest in an actor that they put Mr. Fields’ advice aside. These Hollywood heavy-hitters chose to trust in their animal counterparts, and it paid off — they made some incredible films with some truly one-of-a-kind actors…
1. Turner and Hooch: In this 1989 film, Tom Hanks’ character inherits his friend’s slobbering pooch, who helps him solve a crime. Hooch, Hank’s four-legged sidekick, was one of the most ancient French breeds of dog called Dogue de Bordeaux.
2. Dunston Checks In: Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander got to hang out with an orangutan while filming this movie. Despite the hilarious antics the two got into, the movie wasn’t well-received by audiences.
3. Larger Than Life: Saturday Night Live alumnus Bill Murray took advantage of the unique opportunity to meet an elephant during this movie. The two got along great, but then again how could you not want to spend time with a legend like Murray?
4. The Shaggy Dog: Robert Downey Jr. starred alongside a big shaggy four-legged buddy in this family comedy. Although throughout the movie the dog is referred to as a sheepdog, he was actually a Bearded Collie.
5. Bringing Up Baby: Katherine Hepburn was apparently fearless when it came to hanging around Nissa, the leopard who played Baby in this film. Cary Grant, however, was less thrilled by the animal’s presence and a double was used whenever he and the leopard had to make contact.
6. Ed: According to Matt LeBlanc, Ed the baseball-playing chimpanzee was actually just a guy wearing a suit with a mechanically-controlled head. The electronic head was so loud that every scene with the chimp needed to be re-dubbed.
7. Beverly Hills Chihuahua: Jamie Lee Curtis and the rest of the crew on this movie rescued Papi, the leading Chihuahua, one day before he was supposed to be put down. He went from zero to hero overnight!
8. Babe: Believe it or not, James Cromwell was nominated for an Oscar for his role as the farmer in this movie. Incredibly, 48 different pigs were used throughout filming due to the fact that baby pigs grow so quickly.
9. The Artist: Uggie the Parsons Russell terrier took the film world by storm starring in this black and white celebration of the early film era. Some actually say that it was Uggie’s performance that helped the film win its Oscar.
10. Lassie: This was the film debut for A-Lister Michelle Williams. She was lucky her first deep dive into cinema came with an adorable Collie as her co-star.
11. Every Which Way But Loose: Clint Eastwood and Manis the Orangutan were the leading gents in this film. The actor said this about his primate costar: “One of the most natural actors I ever worked with! But you had to get him on the first take because his boredom level was very limited.”
12. Mouse Hunt: Although some of the scenes used computer animation for the mouse who wreaks havoc on Nathan Lane’s character’s life, a rat was used as a body double during close-up shots of the mouse in the walls.
13. Cats and Dogs: There were plenty of animals who starred alongside quirky actor Jeff Goldblum in this film, but only one of them had another Hollywood credit. Prada, the Beagle who played Lou, was also in Star Trek: Enterprise.
14. The Freshman: Matthew Broderick had to handle a komodo dragon for this role. Unlike dogs or cats, training reptiles is far from easy, so Broderick really just grabbed the animal when he needed to for scenes.
15. Project X: Matthew Broderick (again) got to share the silver screen with animals, and this time they were chimpanzees. The cast of chimps was well-trained and enjoyed working, but all of the chimp sounds in the movie were dubbed over with human vocals.
16. Call of the Wild: This movie based on Jack London’s novel and starring Charlton Heston wasn’t well-liked by the leading actor. He described the crew as having “no filmmaking talent whatsoever.” At least he got to hang out with an awesome dog the whole time.
17. A Dog’s Purpose: Controversy surrounded this film that starred Dennis Quaid when footage leaked that supposedly showed a panicked dog being forcibly dunked into water. However, the footage was doctored, and Quaid and the rest of the actors enjoyed their time with the Hollywood pooches.
18. Ghost Cat: This family movie starring Ellen Page was about a young girl and her father who moveed into a house haunted by its previous owner and her cat. It was difficult to deliver real scares with a cat so cute and cuddly.
19. Snow Dogs: This was an overly-cheesy movie starring Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., but the Huskies used were gorgeous. Many of the dogs actually went on to star in their next feature film, Eight Below, four years later.
20. White Fang: A young Ethan Hawke acted alongside an actual wolf-dog hybrid in this Jack London tale about interspecies friendship. The animal’s actual name was Jed, and fans of horror films might also recognize him as the dog from John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Being an animal in Hollywood is probably pretty rewarding; they don’t feel the stress the humans go through and they’re pampered while on set. Acting is just one way animals make a living…
1. Customs security isn’t the only job for doggos at airports. Piper, a border collie from Michigan, received a specialized position chasing thousands of birds, foxes, and groundhogs off the runway. Clad in noise-canceling headphones and protective goggles, he kept planes and animals safe — a dream job for any dog.
2. You may not have considered it, but dogs can work in tech now too. This dog helps develop video games, providing designers with realistic movements for digital puppers. We hope they copy his look too because we’d play anything to see this cutie.
3. Gigantic Saint Bernards were once bred in the Alps by monks to rescue people in the snowy mountains. They carried a barrel around their necks filled with brandy to keep people warm. These days, they prowl the mountains as more of a tradition, but you might still be able to enjoy a cocktail or two if you find one!
4. In today’s fight to protect bees, Bazz the Australian Labrador was a legend. While protected from head to toe to avoid any stings, Bazz smelled the bees and detected which ones were sick and thus a threat to the hive. He sniffed those hives like nobody’s beeswax.
5. Airport security pups have to smell all kinds of people and their belongings. Your unwashed clothes, your sweaty butt, and that Swiss cheese sandwich in your bag will all be checked by hard-working security snouts. Not to mention the drugs in your luggage…
6. Does this little guy look familiar? Uggie the Jack Russel was rejected by his first two owners but was rescued and became a star. He was famous for woofing and waggling in Water For Elephants, The Artist, and an episode of Key & Peele.
7. While Uggie was of course not ugly, neither was Handsome Dan! He was the mascot of none other than Yale University, attending sports games and other school events to raise the spirit. The original Dan appeared in 1889, and the gig has since been transferred from one bulldog to the next. What an honor!
8. It’s not just humans who need to protect their heads when they get down to work! This pooch who inspected holes on construction sites made sure he donned his hard hat every time he ventured forth. They don’t call him a very good boy for nothing!
9. Perhaps one of the oldest dog jobs is being a sled dog —they’ve been around since the 10th century! Getting through deep snow by car, train, or even horse is rough, so these fit pups help people get from A to B in places like Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. Mush, mush!
10. Just when you think you’ve seen it all at Walmart, an overweight corgi rings you up while you’re buying your weekly groceries. Better keep an eye on Courtney while she’s bagging you up — especially if you’re buying any puppy snacks!
11. Of course, there is also the most famous dog job: the K-9 position. Many tough canine officers help the police by searching for people, dogs, weapons, and bodies, by bringing down runners, and by keeping their human partners safe.
12. Dogs may not have any fins, but they usually love being in the water and are pretty good swimmers. For those who aren’t as skilled in the water, these pooches can come to your rescue and bring you back to shore. Being on the beach is not the worst way to spend the day for a dog!
13. A less physically exhausting gig for dogs is being a therapy animal. Playing with these pooches can help relieve stress and even treat anxiety or depression. As colleges become more focused on their students’ mental health, they bring these pets to the school during exam week. Now everybody can rest easy and ace those tests.
14. While these two might look like an odd duo, they actually get along like a house on fire! Why? Because this dog spends his days protecting this chicken and several others from any potential threats, like mean ol’ coyotes!
15. This tiny pup does a really big service for humanity. When humans or pets go missing, especially during a disaster, search and rescue pooches like this one make it their mission to find and save them. This cutie is definitely up for the job.
16. Similar to the K-9 police squad, there are also plenty of dogs in the military. They can smell bombs and landmines, track enemies, and protect wounded soldiers — or even drag them to safety.
17. The Durian isn’t a simple fruit to nosh on, and it isn’t easy on the nose either. Famous for its strong, stinky odor, it should probably not be sold by someone with a great sense of smell. Then again, dogs sniff butts too, so maybe they’re not so picky.
18. Some people get an electronic alarm system, and others get a guard dog. Most home-protecting dogs are big and strong, but these little guys might be just as intimidating. Have you ever had a Pomeranian snarl at you? Better stay out!
19. Some dogs only serve their owner, but it’s still a lot of work. They can guide the blind, warn the deaf, aid the disabled, avoid injury during seizures, or even calm down people with psychological disorders like PTSD or OCD. These pooches really are a human’s best friend.
20. Lil’ Grandpa was one of many, many office dogs residing in New York City. When he wasn’t accidentally peeing in the corner, he gave cuddles and morale boosts to everyone at the swanky media office he worked at.