More of a cat person? You might change your mind after watching the furbulous Show Dogs, a comedy adventure that mixes hilarious live action with cutting edge special effects. Here we introduce the film’s cracking cast of characters (some with fur, some without), with a little help from director Raja Gosnell.
Voiced by: US rapper Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (Fast & Furious series).
Max is a gruff, tough NYPD police dog who dislikes company almost as much as he dislikes crime. After accidentally blowing Federal Agent Frank Mosley’s cover during a high-stakes operation to bust the ringleaders of an animal smuggling gang, Max gets a chance to redeem himself – by posing as a contestant at a prestigious dog show.
Raja Gosnell on Max: “Max is an ill-tempered, grumpy loner and his journey is to learn to work with someone else.”
Bite-sized fact: Ludacris – a three-time Grammy Award winner and 17-time nominee – was Gosnell’s first choice for Max. “He brings a warmth and humanity to the role,” said the director.
Played by: Will Arnett (The LEGO Batman Movie).
Frank is an uptight FBI agent on a mission to bust a big-money animal smuggling gang – only for Max to accidentally botch his carefully planned sting. Given a second go by their bosses, Frank and Max pose as a contestant and owner at the glamorous Canini Invitational event in Las Vegas. There’s just one problem – neither of them knows the first thing about dog shows.
Raja Gosnell on Frank: “He’s a straight up leading man and has all the charm, insecurities, bravado and vulnerability that you want…”
Bite-sized fact: Poor old Will Arnett went through 20 pairs of trousers during the scene where Max tugs on his clothing. In his enthusiasm, Q, the real-life dog who plays Max, kept tearing them.
Voiced by: Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada)
Philippe is an ageing French Papillon who was once a big name in the show dog world. But he was thrown out for reasons we won’t give away here (you’ll have to watch the film to find out!), and now he’s determined to right wrongs by transforming Max from scruffy street dog into ‘Best In Show’. Ooh la la!
Raja Gosnell on Philippe: “Despite being thrown out, Philippe still has an immense love for [the show dog world] and understands the huge gravitas…”
Bite-sized fact: Show Dogs was filmed in Las Vegas, where the bulk of the action is set, and Wales (specifically locations in and around Cardiff).
Voiced by: Gabriel Iglesias (Coco)
Sprinkles – full name: Buncha Rainbow Sprinkles Junior The Third(!) – is an excitable pug who speaks at a million miles an hour and certainly isn’t backwards in coming forwards when it comes to the ladies. He loves walks, drinking out of toilet bowls and jacuzzis and – to Max’s surprise – proves to be a very able deputy.
Raja Gosnell on Sprinkles: “A hyperactive pug who is always enthusiastic and happy. The amount of words Gabriel can get out along with his explosive laugh and delivery makes for an amazing combination.”
Bite-sized fact: There were 40 different dogs on set for the Caesar’s Palace Pool Bar party scenes.
Voiced by: Alan Cummings (TV’s The Good Wife)
Dante is cute on the outside, ferocious on the inside. And when we say ferocious, we mean ferociously snobby. As a five-time champion, he takes the Canini Invitational very seriously, and isn’t about to let an uncouth youth like Max steal his thunder.
Raja Gosnell on Dante: “Dante represents the snobby exclusive nature of the Canini. He plays a very proper, cutting English show dog. He’s the five-time champion who regards Max as an outsider.”
Bite-sized fact: The film’s all-star vocal cast also includes basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal as Karma, a laid-back Komondor with huge dreadlocks, and RuPaul as the sassy Persephone, the world’s most, er, unusual-looking dog.
Played by: Natasha Lyonne (TV’s Orange is the New Black)
Kind, knowledgable and funny, Mattie is the FBI’s canine consultant and a highly regarded figure within the Canini world. She has won the Canini Invitational several times and knows exactly what it takes to succeed. She’s happy to help Frank and Max – as long as they play “by her rules”.
Raja Gosnell on Mattie: “Mattie is there to help Max and Frank navigate their way through the world of high-end dog shows.”
Bite-sized fact: Natasha Lyonne, who is an Emmy nominee for her role as Nicky Nichols in Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, is a huge dog fan in real life. “It’s sort of my dream movie. I love dogs and really felt like my entire life has been leading up to this moment. It’s clearly the role I was born for.”