Goldthwait film an odd tale

Melinda Page Hamilton, the star of Sleeping Dogs Lie, has a little fun making dog shadow puppets....

Melinda Page Hamilton, the star of Sleeping Dogs Lie, has a little fun making dog shadow puppets. Hamilton is in town for the screening of the film at the festival. (Alex Urosevic, Sun)

-- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:52 PM ET

*EDITOR'S NOTE*: Some may find the language used in the following to be offensive, but we feel the quotes are necessary to keep the integrity and texture of the interview.

Bobcat Goldthwait gives whole new meaning to the term “dog lover” in his new film, Sleeping Dogs Lie.

But the often outrageous ’80s comic-turned-film-maker says writing and directing a movie that deals with bestiality is not out of character for him.

As with his standup comedy act, when he had an idea and it made him uncomfortable or awkward, “I would always go, ‘Oh, okay, I should talk about that on stage’,” says Goldthwait, who was sporting a striking straw cowboy hat during his visit to TIFF this week.

“And this movie was the same thing. I had this idea and I was like, ‘Oooh, this is a terrible idea. I should write it as a movie.’”

Melinda Page Hamilton (Desperate Housewives) stars in the film as a school teacher about to get married when she reveals a dark sexual secret from her past that freaks out her fiance and family: While a college student, she once performed fellatio on her dog.

“It’s not the shock,” said Goldthwait, who saw Sleeping Dogs Lie become a hit at Sundance earlier this year. “It’s something else. The idea of bestiality doesn’t bother me. I don’t have contempt for her. Immediately, people think, when they hear the idea, ‘A woman blows a dog,’ that we’re all going to be pointing at her laughing, going, ‘You blew a dog!’ The challenge is to make a sympathetic character and not pity her, actually. I’m really excited when people like it ’cause then they actually identify with her.”

Goldthwait’s kamikaze style of filmmaking — Sleeping Dogs Lie is his third feature — began with the audition process.

He was still directing Jimmy Kimmel Live, a job he’s since amicably left to concentrate on film, so would persuade his producers to secretly audition people in the show’s green room.

“Sarah (his girlfriend) would be really funny. I’d watch the tapes and I’d go, ‘Well, you know, one actress or another.’ And she’d go, ‘What are you kidding me? That whore? She looks like she does blow dogs!’”

Finding Hamilton for the lead role, Goldthwait says, was the key. Then he and his pals started “borrowing items” for the two-week shoot, for which they had no budget, of course, and no permits.

“Jimmy Kimmel was going, ‘Well, why do I get a special thanks?’” says Goldthwait. “’Cause he thought it was funny that we had borrowed clothes from different shows. Like Desperate Housewives, we stole the wardrobe. But we returned it all. Like the movie, Poseidon Adventure, we had stolen a lot of (camera lens) gels from there. And Jimmy thought it was all funny when he heard these stories. And I was like, ‘Well, I’m glad you think it’s funny because there’s a lot of furniture from the show we had taken, a lot of couches, a lot of props, and actual furniture and set decoration from the Kimmel show.’”

They even helped themselves to shooting a key scene in a garage in a house for sale opposite producer Marty Pasetta Jr.’s home.

Obviously, too, finding the right dog was important. Goldthwait gave Hamilton final casting approval.

“I did insist that the dog be of a certain, how shall I say, size?” said Hamilton, who accompanied Goldthwait to TIFF.

“They literally showed me dog head shots. Some of it was a joke. You get a picture of a chihuahua, you don’t need to see anything. You just know, that’s not going to be right. ‘Right’ being a relative construct!”

But, again, it was Goldthwait’s girlfriend Sarah who cut to the chase.

“So we’re sitting there looking at the dogs and Sarah says, ‘We don’t need to see their head shots.’” She then named the part of their anatomy they should look at.

“And this kid who had just driven five hours from San Francisco, a Christian who had not read the script, he was, like, ‘What is this movie about?’ I’m, like, ‘The movie’s not really bestiality, it’s got a heart.’ Bestiality with a heart.”

Wait, it gets better.

The dog they chose is named Hooch, said Goldthwait. “And I believe he’s from the actual Turner And Hooch lineage. It wasn’t the Hooch but he definitely had some Hooch in him.”

The Cat’s out of the bag

Ever wonder how Bobcat Goldthwait got that moniker?

When he was kid he had a friend, who remains his friend today, a comedian. ”And he came in one day, his name was Barry, and he said, ‘I want to be called Bearcat,’” said Goldthwait.

“I was doing comedy, I was like 15, and I said, ‘Okay, well, you’ve got to introduce me as Bobcat now.’ And another guy, Tom, he was like, ‘You got to call me Tomcat.’ And so now, I’m 44, and he’s Barry, and he’s Tom and I’m still Bobcat. So the joke really did not pan out very well.”


Videos

Photos