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102 DALMATIANS

About The Production (Continued)

Kevin Shepherd runs a dog shelter. He is a trusting and somewhat naïve individual, who believes that Cruella, like the dogs he rescues, deserves a second chance. He is completely enamored with the new animal loving ‘Ella' who steps forward and saves the shelter from certain closure and he completely believes in her rehabilitation.

It was producer Edward S. Feldman who first spotted the talents of young British actor Ioan Gruffudd and thought of him for the role of Kevin. "I was at home in the States watching ‘Hornblower' on the Arts and Entertainment channel. Ioan Gruffudd just blew me away. I said then that if I were going to make a film in England, the first person I would hire would be Ioan. Then the director met him and it was not a hard sell. He too realised that this young actor was destined to be England's next major star."

For director Kevin Lima, Gruffudd had all the qualities he was looking for. "I wanted someone who was solid, who has an innocent sensibility about the world, who is honest. Ioan Gruffudd is a complete stone, extremely down to earth and genuine, almost naïve in his directness."

Little did either know when they met Gruffudd, that they were indeed witnessing the greatness of his acting ability, simply in his portrayal of someone who was comfortable working with dogs.

Gruffudd explains, "I'm from the city and have never been around dogs, never owned a pet dog, nor had friends or neighbors with dogs. When it came to the screen test, I was asked to go and play with the dogs and you'd never seen any actor convince a director that he'd been around dogs all his life better than I did! Actually, I was a bit intimidated when I looked at the Bullmastiff who plays Drooler. But, then of course I got to know him and realised how gentle and well trained he is."

In addition to coming to grips with his new four-legged friends, Gruffudd also found himself partnering a new two-legged friend, namely Alice Evans who plays Cruella's distrusting probation officer, Chloe Simon.

As a much-needed antidote to the manipulative relationship between Cruella and Le Pelt, "102 Dalmatians" offers the audience a wonderfully refreshing and genuine relationship between dog shelter owner Kevin Shepherd and probation officer Chloe Simon. But, to add tension and another level to this relationship, director Kevin Lima, wanted an actress who audiences could believe would have the confidence to confront Cruella.

"In direct contrast to the character of Kevin, I wanted someone who didn't trust anyone, who looks at all sides and has no naiveté. Chloe challenges everything, and Alice Evans is perfect for the role. She is much more worldly than Ioan, she speaks several languages fluently and has a greater sense of the world. She certainly looks at things in much less of a trusting way, which seems in keeping with Chloe," explains Kevin Lima.

For Alice Evans, landing the role of Chloe was a dream come true. Although British, she had spent recent years living in Paris, where her acting career really took off. Fluent in both French and Italian, she is now an established television and film star in both France and Italy, although until "102 Dalmatians," she has remained less known to British audiences.

"I'd been offered many film opportunities in Britain, but I was conscious of not making the wrong decision, though I waited until the r

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