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SECONDHAND LIONS

About The Production (Continued)
One of the more colorful elements of the production was the variety of different animals that were involved. This menagerie was kept happy, well fed and expertly trained under the auspices of Gary Gero's Birds and Animals Unlimited in Southern California and the film's animal coordinator/trainer Stacy Gunderson. Birds and Animals Unlimited (B.A.U.) has for over 30 years provided quality animal talent to film production, television and commercial programming, and has been at the forefront of establishing safety and standards of care for animals used for show business purposes. Gunderson was the head trainer on Snow Dogs and Zeus & Roxanne, and some of her numerous trainer credits include Inspector Gadget, Dr. Dolittle, Jungle Book II and Homeward Bound II. A graduate from Moorpark College with an A.S. Degree in Exotic Animal Training and Management, Gunderson trained and worked on stage at the Universal Studios' Animal Actors Stage Show.

The filmmakers wanted to assemble an "Our Gang" dog pack composed of different types and sizes that live with Hub and Garth. According to Tim McCanlies, "at first the dogs, like the uncles, sense Walter as an outsider, but they are the first to accept him into their group." In addition to five strays, the pack is complemented by five other trained dogs whose film work between them includes Sweet Home Alabama, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Zeus and Roxanne and Dr. Dolittle 2.

The four Yorkshire pigs weigh in at around 250 lbs and each possess unique "acting" abilities, such as lying down on command or running.

"We were shooting with one of the pigs," Kyra Sedgwick remembers, "and he kept ruining the scene. Although I have to say, the animals have been great, just this one pig kept getting up in the middle of the scene where he wasn't supposed to. After six or seven takes, the trainer calls out ‘Bring in the new pig.' There's another pig? And we haven't been using the other pig? And of course, the new pig did it perfectly, and I'm thinking, I'm only going to work with this new pig from now on."

The lions are owned by Brian McMillan, and trained by McMillan, Rick Glassey and Marie Reeves. McMillan came to America from Britain as part of the Ringling Bros. Circus and found a home and career in Hollywood. One scene in the film required the lion to behave aggressively towards one of the characters. McMillan stood in for the actor during the stunt. "She (the lion) knocked me down and started to wrestle," McMillan describes. "Lions love to wrestle. They can hold you with their mouth and not put any pressure on you, because they know you and they think it's playtime. Their claws, even when they're playing, can rip the clothes off your back. While we were shooting the scene, I'm thinking ‘how many costumes do they have?' I lost most of my wardrobe!"

Three 200-250 lb African Lions played the role of Jasmine the lion. The lead lioness was Pasha, who is two and half years old, along with a back-up lioness, Torig, also two and a half years-old; along with a three year-old male, Kenya, also known as Kenny. The lions, which call Southern California home now, make their debuts in Secondhand Lions.

"The choice to go for younger lions to work alongside the actors was made on the basis that they were still trainable, still playful. And as the lion in the movie was rejected by a zoo, it comes to the uncles' farmhouse considered to be secondhand," Tim McCanlies explains. "Not unlike the uncles, who

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