Heidi is an , and since someone always seems to be location-shooting on the streets of Studio City, the dog and I – at least, I – have always fantasized that we’ll just happen to be strolling by, innocently looking for a pee spot for Heidi, and a will cry out: “Hey, just what we’re looking for: a gorgeous German shepherd for the scene we’re shooting right now!”
With barely a moment to study the script, Heidi, the consummate pro, would step in for the dog who had failed to show up for work that day (drug problem) and do the scene perfectly for Mr. Spielberg on the first take, not fretting about her motivation and expecting nothing but a small biscuit in reward for her moving performance.
I wonder if anyone can tell what we’re thinking, in the same way one instinctively knows pandemonium would break out among the laptop crowd at Starbucks if a man wearing a baseball cap, jeans and a very expensive watch walked in and shouted: “Hey, I’m a producer over at Universal – any of you guys got a screenplay that’s ready to go?”
At this point, we can no longer afford to be shy. Heidi just turned 9, and those “puppy” roles have started going to someone else. Face it, if she were a human actress, all she could expect now is a guest role as a judge on Law & Order: SVU or to do the samba in support hose and get kicked off in Week #2 on Dancing with the Stars.
So, earlier this week, when I happened to drive by a gaggle of people, a craft services table and a line of production trucks on Ventura Blvd. just west of Tujunga Blvd. on my way to pick Heidi up from doggie day care, I knew where the dog and I were going to be taking our walk. It was perfect – Heidi had even had a bath that day, so I knew she’d be at her fluffy best.
We seized the opportunity and plunged into the crowd standing in front of the R Lounge, expecting to be told to walk somewhere else at any moment. Instead, pretty young girls in hot-date attire cooed over Heidi, and a driver named Greg offered to hold Heidi’s leash while I took a cell phone photo of our girl. I think we were in the company of mostly crew and background players, so no one was around trying to shoo us away from the stars. No immediate sign of Steven Spielberg.
I told Greg that Heidi was looking for work, and he immediately observed that, while Heidi is an attractive dog, she “looks a little gray.” In this business, everybody’s a critic. And, really, does he believe that Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton don’t touch up their roots at this point in their careers? A good animal colorist could take care of the white frost on Heidi’s nose if necessary.
Two friendly young men came up to me and asked if they could pet Heidi. I traded the privilege for information about the production. Jozef Fahey (“I play a drunk guy”) and Rick Borrego (“I play a drunk guy’s friend”) said the shoot was for the new ABC Family series The Nine Lives of Chloe King, making its TV debut on June 14.
These two did not look like they were in charge of anything – in fact, more like Bill and Ted on an excellent adventure -- but since I had nothing to lose, I asked if they thought the shoot could use a dog. “No, it’s kind of a club thing,” Fahey said, sounding apologetic. Right. No dog, no matter how hip, was going to be part of this scene.
Fahey added that the The Nine Lives of Chloe King, adding to the spate of supernatural teen dramas featuring vampires, witches and werewolves, stars Skyler Samuels as a teenaged girl with “heightened abilities”, including enhanced speed, hearing, agility and the ability to climb using her claws.
Well, hairballs -- what are the odds that the Heidi and I would crash the set of a show about a cat girl? Obviously no place for a self-respecting dog. Besides, Heidi would probably chase the star up a tree. I dragged hopeful Heidi past the craft services table—she was clearly eyeing the snacks, right at wet-nose level—as we turned our backs on Hollywood and returned to our car. We’ll just have to wait for one of those vampire-werewolf dramas. Not only has she got the canine thing going for her, there’s no age discrimination in a show where the characters live forever.