It can be hard working with kids, and even more so with animals, but Lisa Kudrow manages both in her new role as Lois Scudder in Hotel for Dogs. She recently took some time to tell Buzzine's Emmanuel Itier about the joys of each, and maybe a few of the pitfalls as well.
Emmanuel Itier: Was being bad fun?
Lisa Kudrow: Yeah, at times they had to tell me, “Can you soften that a little? That was a little too mean.” [Laughs]
EI: Do you have any dogs?
LK: Yes, we have a toy poodle. He’s white. He looks like a stuffed animal.
EI: His name?
EI: They are smart dogs.
LK: Yes, they are very smart. He understands complete sentences. If you give him a command, he looks at you, and when you say, “No, just go back into your house.” Then he turns around and goes back into his house. It’s crazy.
EI: How old is he?
LK: He is six. He’s cute. I always grew up with big dogs. This is the littlest dog I’ve had.
EI: You don’t really have anything to do with the dogs except for the one hiding from you?
LK: Yeah, that was fun! The scene in the kitchen — that was a big scene with the dog. That was a lot of acting for the dog. It took less than I thought it would. It took less than a day.
EI: Are the dogs divas?
LK: No, I think they’re just hungry so they give them food and they do whatever they need to do. They eat a lot throughout the day. They are not divas at all.
EI: Was it the first time you’ve worked with a dog?
LK: Yes, it was.
EI: Did you have dogs growing up?
LK: Yeah, we had a Great Dane when I was two. My parents got the biggest dog they could find, I guess. He used to sit on me and shove me off the couch and pee on me, just to let me know I didn’t count. And he’d wag his tail and I’d go flying across the room. Then we had a German Shepherd who was a show dog.
EI: What about the kids?
LK: I do like kids, and these kids are extraordinary.
EI: Do you think Emma Roberts is a talented actress?
LK: Yes, I think she is very talented. She was one of the draws for me to do this. I saw Nancy Drew and I think she was so great.
EI: Does your son have any aspirations in the acting area?
LK: I think he thinks it would be fun. He actually read lines with me when I was home working on this, and he was good. He’s ten years old. His school offers opportunities, too, to be in plays. He’s a performer, no doubt, whether it’s acting or music or stand-up. He loves it. In every school production, he stands out and he can’t help it — and he’s not doing it on purpose. He barely responds to the audience, and he gets into the performance zone and he just goes. But he wants to own a mall, so who knows?
EI: If your son asked you to get him a manager…?
EI: When can he do auditions?
LK: When he’s an adult and he can decide for himself. That’s it. I feel like he needs to be in school. School plays are okay. He needs to be in school with friends and then, when he’s older, he can decide for himself. That’s the way I did it.
EI: What age did you do your first movie?
LK: I was in my twenties. I think it’s a huge burden of responsibility to be successful when you are young. It’s very tricky.
EI: Did you have any regrets when Friends ended? Do you wish you could go back to that time?
LK: No, not go back. I miss it because it was really fun, but no, I don’t feel like we could go back because it wouldn’t be the same.
EI: Do you think there will be a movie version?
LK: I keep hearing about it, but I don’t know. If it could be done, sure. Sex and the City was a single-camera show and Friends was multi-camera in front of an audience, so it’s a pretty different feel. It would be tricky to pull off. I don’t think our creators are desperate to do anything.
EI: What do you think about Hollywood today?
LK: It’s changing a lot. It’s been changing for a while. With films, they’re getting tougher to be made because how do you make your money back? That’s the big issue. It’s just harder. Making a movie is kind of like opening a restaurant.
EI: Are you a good cook at home?
LK: I can cook, but I don’t. Luckily, I have a housekeeper who likes to cook a lot, and she’s really good.
EI: What’s your specialty?
LK: Roast chicken I make really well, not that that’s really hard. The way I do it, I stand over it and baste every fifteen minutes and make a gravy over it.
EI: What do you do when you’re not working?
LK: I play video games with my son, except now he likes games which involve fighting and which I don’t love to play. I like racing games because you can win!
Nickelodeon's 'Hotel for Dogs' is released in theaters on January 16, 2009.