In the age-old battle between cats and dogs, one crazed feline has taken things a paw too far.
Kitty Galore, formerly an agent for cat spy organization MEOWS, has gone rogue and hatched a diabolical plan to not only bring her canine enemies to heel, but take down her former kitty comrades and make the world her scratching post. Faced with this unprecedented threat, cats and dogs will be forced to join forces for the first time in history in an unlikely alliance to save themselves--and their humans--in "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," a comedy in 3D that blends live action with state-of-the-art puppetry and computer animation.
It's time for the fur to fly.
"Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore" is directed by Brad Peyton and written by Ron J. Friedman & Steve Bencich, based on characters created by John Requa & Glenn Ficarra. It is produced by Andrew Lazar and Polly Johnsen, with Brent O'Connor and Bruce Berman serving as executive producers. The creative team includes director of photography Steven Poster, production designer Rusty Smith, editor Julie Rogers and composer Christopher Lennertz.
People the world over adore their pets. And why not? Just look at them: a steady old sheepdog with a shaggy mop of hair, a soft, sweet purring kitten…such simple creatures, so loyal and loving, and all they ask from us is our protection and support.
Clueless humans! Guess again.
"That picture of domestic harmony is just what they want you to see," claims director Brad Peyton, who happily exposes the true story of backyard politics in "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore."
The truth is those placid furballs idling on the sofa and goofy mutts chasing their tails are really the paw-soldiers of a vast underground network of canine and feline covert agents, surveillance experts and four-legged assassins of every stripe. Heroes from both sides of the fence, they risk their lives to protect our way of life and uphold the balance of power between mankind's most trusted and fiercely competitive animal companions: cats and dogs.
It's the thin furry line between life as we know it and pure howling madness.
"Once people bond with their pets and get to know their personalities, it's easy to imagine them doing things when we're not around," Peyton suggests. "This movie is just an extension of that idea--that animals have their own secret lives. Of course, we take it a lot further; we have them using jet packs and rocket cars. But it all comes from that basic curiosity that I think most of us have had at one time or another, wondering what our cats and dogs really do all day. It's why candid clips of animals caught in the act of being themselves are so popular on the Internet."
Producer Andrew Lazar, who first introduced audiences worldwide to this battleground of paws and claws in the 2001 hit comedy "Cats & Dogs," says, "The idea that these animals are living such actively outrageous lives right under our noses is what makes it so irresistible. Cats and dogs can save the world while people go about their business completely unaware of how close they came to disaster."
With that in mind, the everyday activities of the average pet take on new meaning.
Christina Applegate, who stars as the voice of MEOWS agent Catherine, says, "It's absolutely absurd and fantastic, this whole secret high-tech world they have and yet it's presented as perfectly normal. It's as if all that other stuff they do--like purring and doing tricks, or tearing up the yard--is just designed to distract us from what's really going on."
And what's really going on is nothing less than the endless war between two species at odds since their earliest ancestors sought out the first caveman's campfire. But now, one renegade agent has upped the ante. Determined to not only break the bond between dogs and humans forever but also pit feline against feline, Kitty Galore's bid for global domination could jeopardize the future of all creatures, four- and two-legged alike.
"We don't mean to misrepresent our feline friends as all bad," says producer Polly Johnsen. "It's just this one cat who isn't quite with the program. As a result, cats and dogs must unite against a common foe and, in fact, it's another cat, Catherine, who emerges as a true hero by being the first to extend her paw to the other side."
"We thought it was time for them to team up as equals," adds Lazar.
Longtime James Bond fan Brad Peyton likens this uneasy partnership to that of the classic cold-war era scenarios in which "Bond and MI-6 are forced to collaborate with the Russians to get the über-villain who's threatening them both. They still don't like each other, but somehow they make it work."
His appreciation for the Bond mystique led Peyton to cast Roger Moore in a cameo role as the voice of MEOWS Chief Tab Lazenby--a tuxedo cat, of course, and one of the many film and pop-culture jokes offered to the adults in the audience.
Says Peyton, "We've got everything you'd want in an action adventure: jet-pack chases, explosions, fights, flights, spies, more explosions, and underground tunnels. It just happens to be with talking animals."
Citing differences in scope between this film and its predecessor, Lazar says, "This is bigger in every respect--the action, the set pieces, the sheer number of animals in each scene. We'll get a full view of DOG Headquarters this time and look inside the rival cat agency, MEOWS. The bigger landscapes allowed our trainers to use the environments to get more sophisticated performances from the animal actors and that, combined with advances in computer animation, means more fluid action on screen."
Some of it will even bounce, claw and leap off the screen, thanks to a 3D presentation designed for kids and family audiences, which includes numerous breakout moments throughout the story. "This is the perfect kind of comic action that lends itself so well to a 3D experience, and that just adds to the fun," says Johnsen.
This new adventure also boasts a larger company of characters, reuniting some fan favorites from the first film while adding new players on both sides of the conflict.
With so many vocal roles to cast, Johnsen relates, "We looked for distinctive voices that would project a personality and immediately set that individual apart. In the early stages of production, when we didn't have the animals' mouth movements in yet, it was just the voices that let us know who was talking. The second you hear a voice you should think, 'that's a Beagle,' or 'that's a Russian Blue.'"
"We were so fortunate to work with this fantastic group of actors," says Peyton. "With this kind of a movie, actors rarely get a chance to interact in person, but even so, their work came together in a way that created its own chemistry and in that sense they truly were an ensemble."
"It's a lot of fun," says James Marsden, who voices rookie agent Diggs, a German Shepherd with leadership issues. "This movie doesn't take itself too seriously, although, at the same time, the characters behave as if the fate of the world was really at stake. Dogs using headsets and computer keyboards, throwing grenades; it's all played straight and that's what makes it so funny. The more determined they are, the crazier it is."
Well, that's certainly one point of view, though Bette Midler might disagree. Starring as the voice of Kitty Galore, the scariest, loopiest, fur-challenged feline to swipe a claw since the maniacal Mr. Tinkles earned a permanent time-out at Doggie Alcatraz, Midler says, "I've been asked if I believe people are going to like this movie because they think their animals talk to them. Well, I don't know about anyone else but I had an animal that did talk to me. She was a Jack Russell terrier, a dear friend of mine, and she spoke in complete sentences."
Let's get ready to rumble.
The Long Shot: Diggs
"I hear he's a loose cannon, a real dingo."
While Kitty Galore grooms herself for greatness, another drama plays out on the streets of San Francisco. S.F.P.D. K-9 Officer Diggs is about to execute the latest in a series of screw-ups that will land him back in the concrete kennel.
James Marsden understands how the over-eager German Shepherd sabotages his potential. "He has the best intentions in the world but not the best judgment. Wanting to be the maverick, the hero, he recklessly takes the lead in every situation, with disastrous consequences. He's likeable and has real ability, but no self-control. Sadly, for all the confidence he shows on the outside, he's beginning to have real doubts." Read more
The Top Dogs at DOG: Canine HQ
"We sniff more butts before 6:00 A.M. than most dogs sniff all day."
Down in the subterranean base of DOG HQ, the nexus of worldwide canine operations, it's business as usual: dogs watching surveillance monitors, breaking code, building and testing new equipment, and working out. Diggs struggles to take it all in.
"He's our eyes and ears in this scene. Diggs shares the audience's point of view. As he's introduced to the wonders of this place, so are we," says Lazar. Read more
The Threat: Kitty Galore
"The age of the dog as man's so-called best friend is over! In 48 hours I shall unleash The Call of the Wild."
"I don't think Kitty is misunderstood; she's just evil," Bette Midler states, confessing, "I like her a lot. She's great. Villains are the most fun to play, they're so over-the-top and usually the silliest. Here you have a wonderful combination of evil and absolute ridiculousness, which is irresistible."
A former MEOWS agent, Kitty went rogue after losing all her fur in a depilatory vat that she fell into while trying to escape guard dogs at a cosmetics lab. Shunned by the human family who no longer recognized her, she landed on the street. Now a few hacks shy of a hairball, Kitty is one sour puss bent on avenging her losses on a grand scale.Read more
The Strategy… and the Secret Weapon: Mr. Tinkles
"The last bird who stood this close to me… well, I enjoyed his company with a plate of Fancy Feast and a nice saucer of milk."
In the face of such sweeping peril, cats and dogs must join forces. Thus, Butch and Diggs find their nascent partnership has grown to include MEOWS operative Catherine, who bravely puts all nine of her lives on the line with them, to bring Kitty down.
Describing the edgy alliance, Christina Applegate says of her character, "She's a tough, smart, fearless cat, raised with the stereotypical distaste for dogs, but she's willing to open up and take this chance. They're working together for a common goal but are still a little bit at each other's throats from the get-go." Read more
Animals, Animatronics & Computer Animation
"When I say 'Wag your tail,' you ask 'How hard?'"
With the exception of bird-brained Seamus and Kitty's fearsome henchcat, Paws, the film's leading four-legged roles are all played by flesh-and-fur animals--in combination with their animatronic doppelgangers and computer animation. Nevertheless, Andrew Lazar says, "Audiences shouldn't be aware of what's real and what isn't. The technology has advanced in leaps and bounds since the effects in "Cats & Dogs" which were cutting-edge a decade ago." Read more
Designing a Pet-Centric World
Where a jacket with tails really means… a jacket with tails.
Brad Peyton and production designer Rusty Smith agreed that DOG headquarters should have a large central area that offers viewers an immediate sense of its depth and energy. "The bulk of it is contained in one very large subdivided central area that opens from the rocket car dock," notes Smith.
When Diggs first arrives with Butch, the large view simultaneously takes in a gym, with dogs training on treadmills, and a bathroom, which consists of a row of fire hydrants. From there, a U-turn reveals the lab and, above it all, Lou's office. Smith describes the décor, complete with NORAD-like surveillance monitors, as "a little retro, with a nod toward spy movies, and a lot of cool, small-scale furniture." Read more
BRAD PEYTON (Director) is a Canadian-born writer/director who established himself with "Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl," which garnered a Genie Award nomination for Best Live Action Short Drama in 2004.
Peyton also created, directed and served as executive producer on the Canadian Broadcasting Company's 2005 humorous stop-motion animated television series "What It's Like Being Alone."
Peyton has several writing/directing projects in development with various studios, including a live action romantic comedy "Billy Grimm," which he wrote; "The Doubtful Guest," based on the Edward Gorey novel; and "The Spider and the Fly," which is based on the poem by Mary Howitt.
RON J. FRIEDMAN & STEVE BENCICH (Screenplay) most recently collaborated on the animated adventure "Open Season," a 2006 Annie Award nominee for Best Picture. They also teamed on "Chicken Little," which garnered numerous honors, including nominations for the Annie Award, Saturn Awards, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and the People's Choice Awards. Prior to that, they co-wrote "Brother Bear," an animated family adventure that earned an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, Best Picture and Writing nominations from the Annie Awards and a Saturn Award nomination.
Friedman and Bencich's creative partnership has also resulted in the novelty song "Squirrels," which placed among the Funny Five on the nationally syndicated "Dr. Demento Show" for 15 weeks in a row.
Previously, Friedman wrote a number of short films, among them "Paul McCall," which screened at more than 60 film festivals and won over 20 awards in 1996, including the First Place Student Emmy for comedy from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, The Gold Award at the Festival Der Nationen in Austria, a CINE Eagle Award, the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association's Crystal Reel Award and the Best Shorter Film Award at the 1996 Lo-Con.com Film Festival in Los Angeles. He also owns and operates Filmmaker.com, a popular online resource that he created as a forum for filmmakers to exchange technical and creative information.
Bencich's work has also earned film festival honors, including the award for Best Video Programming at the Saguaro Film Festival in 1994 for a sci-fi farce, "Battle for the Planet of Cheese." His 16mm film "Grandma" was awarded Best Experimental Film Short at the 1995 Black Maria Awards. Additionally, Bencich served as head writer and director for "TV or Not TV," an episodic comedy that aired in Phoenix in 1992-93 and won a Rocky Mountain Regional Emmy. His comedy writing and directing experience also includes founding, directing and performing with Nothing Personal, a troupe at the Improvisation Comedy Club. He has also written, directed and performed at hundreds of theatrical competitions.
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