The funnyman talks about his new film on DVD and his experiences on the set
George Lopez has kept America laughing for years and years and now he's making us laugh with just his voice, as Papi in Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3. We were provided with an interview with Lopez talking about his new film, and here's what he had to say.
So, tell me about your reaction to seeing it all put together.
bold|George Lopez: You know, I, I was a little impressed by the fact that I, it's more of a love story than I, than I thought it would be. And that it's very funny and it moves along and the other dogs, Luis Guzmán, Piolin, Cheech, Andy and even Eddie, all the voices are fantastic. Chloe, Drew Barrymore's voice is, is just brilliant. It's so sweet and you just love that voice. And her friends, I think, are funny. Her dog's friends that are all pampered and it's just great.
Normally, on an animated project, when you talk to the actors, they almost never see each other. They almost never work together. How did the voice acting work for you on this? Did you work with other actors?
George Lopez: Well, you know, I was telling one of the producers that I thought the best thing for my relationship with Chloe in the movie, which is really all of my part. Papi benefited greatly by being able to record with Drew Barrymore (Chloe) the first time to spend some time with her and sing to her and do that whole beginning of the movie with her, because it's set off that they were in love. You got to see the other person and work with the other person. Then going in there and becoming more street and ad-libbing a little more and them adding more lines and then going back in and scheduling other recording sessions, going back in. There were fifteen separate individual recording sessions after my initial. I was only supposed to do one, at first. So, I loved every time they'd call me to go and do more lines. I loved them.
I know in classic Disney Pixar, the first thing they do is record the voices, so sometimes people will work two, three years out before the finished picture. How long of a process was this for you?
George Lopez: It was about a year. I hadn't seen any of the stuff that they shot in Mexico. So, the process took about a year and then they'd come back and they'd test things. They were even testing things early on. And then you saw things where the dog's lips weren't moving yet and they, you know, they were going to move eventually. Even if the dog moved his head slightly, they would show it to me and they'd say, "Do you think you can put anything in this?" I'd go, "There's nothing there." They'd go, "Well, well, can you put something in there?" So, we'd find stuff to put in really fast and, and when seeing the movie it played more heartfelt and it was really very genuine. I thought that Mexico was portrayed beautifully in it. The shots are fantastic and in a movie with three thousand Chihuahuas, it can't be that bad.
Well, tell me about, that, that, how positive it was, I think, as a postcard to Mexico, but also for Latin themes. Were you at all concerned? It would have been real easy to take something like this and really kind of take it in a different direction.
George Lopez: Yeah. You know, the, the movie had a different title in the beginning and I wasn't crazy about the first title of the movie. But Beverly Hills Chihuahua, I think is better, more understandable, broader, general title and a better title than the original title. I worked with actors like Andy Garcia, who you know is fantastic. I mean, he inherited the family in The Godfather and Edward James Olmos and Plácido Domingo. You just think that, all right, Disney's investing in us and they're really reaching out to get some of the best talent that they can find. When they get behind a movie that they love, I think even they're surprised by the reaction, and the positive vibes that Beverly Hills Chihuahua is getting and the notoriety already. But they put a lot of money in initially with the viral campaign, the Internet campaign and that great trailer. Then the other trailer of Papi standing on the rock with all the little Chihuahua girls swooning and him talking. It really set off this whole kind of warrior, 'we're not going to take it anymore' attitude. A "No mas" kind of thing that, that, that's really kind of nice.
When you first heard about the project....
George Lopez: Yes. I thought they were crazy. I thought they were. When I first heard about Beverly Hills Chihuahua, I thought, no. This, this is ridiculous. And then you read the script and you close the script and you go, "They aren't going to be able to do that with real dogs. How are they going to do that?" You're going to see the strings. But they did. And Raja, I think Raja is the unsung hero of this whole process, the director of this movie, who had to get dogs to run in unison and the trainers, all the trainers and all the people and all the dog wranglers. And they used real dogs. They got rescue dogs in Mexico. And Papi was a rescue dog. One day from being put down. So I think from the ground up it had, it had the right energy.
Now, have you ever done any projects where you're, like, on the opposite end, where you're working with animals in front of the camera? Have you ever done that yet?
George Lopez: You know, I had a dog on my show that tried to bite my son on an off camera thing one day and he disappeared. You know, we wrote him out, I think. He was holding him and he took a bite out of him and he just kind of faded away. They'd be like, "What happened to your dog?" I came home one time in one show going, "Didn't we have a dog?" But we slit him out, but I've never worked with animals, a bunch of kids, but no animals.
Were dogs a part of, of your life?
George Lopez: Well between my wife and I we've purchased dogs. But when I was a kid, we never bought a dog. If a dog went by our house, we'd look to see if he had a collar and if he didn't, we'd go grab a couple pieces of bologna and try to lure him into the yard. (laughs)
And did they, did you have some that stayed? Any that were, like, long term visitors?
George Lopez: You know what? We had some. There was a Doberman one time running around the neighborhood and they only know one master. So, we had some bologna and he got up on me and his paws were on my shoulders and his face was in my face and I thought, "What am I doing?" And then my uncle said, "They only know one master!" And I ran away. He stayed, he stayed there. That was a bit odd.
Are you a dog person now? It doesn't sound like you're really a dog person.
George Lopez: You know, I have dogs in my house and much like teenagers at some point, they leave the parents. Even though they're in the same house, they live independently. I think that's how I live with the Chihuahuas. Eventually, they'll come back. When you see all of them on the bed with your wife and your daughter and there's no room for you on the bed, they just kind of look at you like, you know, there's another T.V. in the other room, then you start going, "All right. The Chihuahua thing, it's getting a little bit out of hand."
So, you have Chihuahuas at your house.
George Lopez: I do. I have three of them.
Okay. Tell me more about these three Chihuahuas.
George Lopez: Well, they can spread out all along a bed. They don't, they sleep, they're kenneled. So, they sleep in the kennel at night and then they go out and they, they take naps in there. They, they love it in there. It's very nice. I, I'd sleep in a kennel. Are you kidding me? Roll up in a, in a, in a sheepskin, uh, blanket. Where's George? Oh, he's, he's in his kennel. I'd sleep in a kennel. It's very warm and, and comfortable.
What are their names?
George Lopez: Chico, Trixie and Monte. Yes, I'm still cool. Believe me. Even with dogs with those names. We had a Chihuahua wedding in the backyard last, last summer. And they fought. The mother-in-laws fought and the bride lost her dress halfway through the ceremony.
A Chihuahua wedding in the backyard?
George Lopez: And I thought, you know, I've been to a wedding like this. (laughs)
So, did you just go to Raja and say, "Okay. Here's, here's a whole bunch of script notes for the film."
George Lopez: Yeah, 'Raja, here's all my background with Chihuahuas.' But in seeing them and my voice, I think, with stand-up etc is unique enough that I was able to put in some edgier stuff even for Disney. Just the voice, the kind of crisp and then straight, really kind of tight in there and I think it works out good.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3.