Interview with Lisa Kudrow on Hotel for Dogs

The former Friends star talks dogs, dog-divas and her latest movie “Hotel for Dogs”

Actress Lisa Kudrow earned her fortune playing the kooky coffee drinking, guitar playing Phoebe Buffay in mega-hit comedy Friends. She’s also earned acclaim for her roles in films “Analyse That,” “The Opposite Of Sex” and “Wonderland”. Her new movie once again sees Kudrow singing but there’ll be no smell cat in this canine centric cast. Here the former friend talks about the movie, dog-divas and her singing “career”.


Q: Rule number one of movie making is never work with children or animals, you broke both rules for this movie, are you good with dogs?

A: Yeah, we have a Toy Poodle. His name is Woolly and he looks like a little white stuffed animal. Sometimes they don’t act it but poodles are smart. Woolly understands complete sentences. If you give him a command he might not do it, but if you say ‘Woolly, go back into your house’ he will. It’s crazy. He understands it. I grew up with big dogs, so Woolly is my first little dog.


Q:How big were your dogs when you were young?
A: Really big (laughs). We had a Great Dane when I was two-years-old. My parents found the biggest dog they possibly could. He used to sit on me, shove me on the couch and pee on me just to let me know I didn’t count. He’d whack his tail and I’d go flying across the room. Then we had a German Shepherd. He was a show dog, although we never showed him. I did pretend to show him when we’d walk in the park. I would try and be his master and he would allow me.

Q: There’s a great scene in Hotel for Dogs when you’re in the kitchen with Friday, the cute Jack Russell terrier, and he is hiding from you. What was that like to shoot?

A: That was a big scene for the dog. It took his trainers a lot of time to train him to do it and we shot it in one day. The dog and his trainers are just so good. I thought it would take longer, but no, he is a star.


Q: Were there any dog divas on set?
A: No. They were never late to set or anything like that. You know why? They’re hungry. The trainers show them food and they’ll do what their trainers want. They eat a lot during the day.

Q: What about rule #2 of movie making, how did you get on working with younger actors Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin?

A: These kids are extraordinary. They are so mature and professional. There was a lot being asked of them. Adults, when they are done with a take, can go and do what they want. They can call their friends and do whatever. For kid actors, once they are done with a scene they are straight back to doing school work. There’s no rest. They don’t even grimace when they hear ‘OK, back to school’. They’re just problem free. I loved being around that because it sets a standard for everyone else – adult actors and the crew.

Q: Is it true you wanted to do this film because of Emma?
A: Sure. Emma was one of the big draws for me to do the film. I saw Nancy Drew and thought she was so great. I think it’s tougher for teenage actors. You know, they have so much more going on. When they are in school, it’s tough because socially there are distractions, but she is so professional. She knows how to compartmentalise when it is the right time to do work, to do school work and to talk to her friends. When it’s time to work, she is right there.


Q: Your son, Julian is 10-years-old now. Does he want to be an actor like his Mum?
A: Sort of. I think he thinks it would be fun. He actually read lines with me when I was working on this and he was really good. School offers opportunities for him to be in plays and he is a performer. There’s no doubt, whether it’s acting, music, stand-up comedy or talk shows. He loves it. Every school production he is involved in he stands out and he doesn’t do it on purpose. He just gets into this performance zone and he goes. But, he wants to own a shopping mall, so that could be his occupation (laughs).


Q: Your singing in Hotel For Dogs is almost as worse than when Phoebe sang in friends, are you really that bad stringing a tune together?
A: I try to be as bad as I possibly can, it’s actually not that hard for me. . I can be better, but it’s fun to be bad. If I was good it wouldn’t be funny.


Hotel For Dogs is now showing at Irish cinemas everywhere.