Into the Wild (2007)
"Everybody wanted to pet the wolf, but we had to make sure we got through all the scenes before all that. We'd trained the wolf to snarl over a hunk of meat. He looked mean, but there was no aggression. It was all on cue. So, once they were done filming, we told the crew they could come over and pet him, but it was kinda funny. Nobody came up to him after that."
My Name Is Bruce (2007)
"We filmed that at Bruce Campbell's house [in Southern Oregon]. We camped at his property and he fixed us dinner. We had our dog play his dog. In the scene that comes to mind, Bruce's character was drunk, and he pours a bunch of 'hooch for the pooch' into the dog's food bowl. The dog just looks at him like, 'Whatever, this is my dinner?' and starts drinking down the whiskey (actually chicken broth)."
Lean on Pete (2017)
"We presented the director with 30 horses through pictures and video, and out of that group, nine horses were selected by the director for him to meet at the ranch and that is when he fell in love with the horse that portrays Pete. The horse has a prominent role and did a very nice job. Horse racing is kind of a minor piece. I'd love it if it was more of a Homeward Bound kind of a thing, but it is a very touching story about a boy and a horse."
"That was shot in Portland with Diane Lane. It's this cyber-crime movie where a deranged killer puts up a live link of him murdering people. So, the very beginning, when they're establishing that this guy is crazy, he basically live-streams a kitten lured out onto a glue trap. We had the kitten come out on a fake trap—just a piece of plastic with cellophane over the top—and then the production made an animatronic kitten that matched it perfectly. It was pretty hysterical. They probably spent tens of thousands of dollars on four puppeteers working this little tiny kitten for literally a second of screen time."
The Hunted (2003)
"They had a mock-up of Kosovo down in Portland's industrial district, and we had horses pulling wagons and dead bodies. That was an interesting one, because the movie was filmed just after 9/11 and everybody was so on edge. They were shooting off all these fake bombs during the filming of this scene, but nobody had told the National Guard. They thought that the city of Portland was under attack for real and scrambled two fighter jets that went flying over our set, trying to figure out what was going on. It ended up on the news that night."
Grimm (2011-2017, NBC)
"We had 100 rats on an episode. That was funny. There were 30 that we'd trained to do specific behaviors like run to a station, so when cameras pan across we could have 15 or 20 rats running from one side of a scene to the other. Most of those caged rats ended up going home with our trainers and living long, full lives."
Portlandia (2011-present, IFC)
"A lot of Portlandia is shot improv, so we can't step in and give the animal a treat because they'll just roll on. Our cat Max, who also plays Majique in Grimm, was so good. He actually started to improv with the actors. Like, Kristen Wiig's pointing a gun at one of their characters, and the cat goes up and starts whacking her to get the gun out of her hand."
"We've actually done, I think, two or three Jennifer Aniston movies, so she's gotten to know us pretty well. We were on with a puppy that had fallen asleep in her lap. They were ready for her next scene, but she was like, 'Nope! You'll have to go to the next one!' Production had to halt everything because she would not disturb the puppy."