Piper Perabo has been acting for some time now, but Manolo Cardona is making his first appearance in an American movie alongside Perabo and the rest of the cast of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, which hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has provided us with an interview with Perabo and Cardona and here's what they had to say.
Have you seen the movie yet?
Piper Perabo: I was really excited because when we were shooting it, we had the dogs there with us. They're taking their marks and doing their things, but we didn't have a script. But there's a big difference between seeing lines on a page and seeing them perform. So, when I saw the movie screened for the first time, it was the first time that I heard all the voices and it was amazing, the difference that different actors bring. And I think Andy Garcia as Delgado is so amazing. He brings this real empathy and kind of tough, macho friendship to his relationship with Chloe that is really incredible.
Manolo, expand on that for me. You're working with Piper. You're working with Jamie Lee. But with all these dogs, like Piper said, all that dialogue and stuff is missing. How, how does that impact you when you're working in front of the camera?
Manolo Cardona: Well, we didn't know as humans in the movie, that the dogs speak in between. So for me it wasn't difficult. I haven't seen the difference between seeing it in the lines and seeing it in the movie.
When you're doing it you have to perform with the dog. Is there like a whole army of handlers standing there trying to get the dog to do something?
Manolo Cardona: Definitely. Definitely.
What's that like?
Manolo Cardona: That was hard. You have to be very focused and concentrate in the scene and what's going on there. Yes there are a lot of trainers trying to tell the dogs some commands and try to make them do things. You have to be in your thing there.
When you first heard about this project, Piper, how did you first find out about it? Does somebody say, "Hey. We got this thing, Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
Piper Perabo: When I first heard about it that wasn't the original title. Actually, there was a different title. I read it. I always watched Disney movies when I was a kid and this is like, to me, the classic Disney adventure movie. And I had never been to Mexico, either. So, to me, even going and making the movie was sort of this adventure. We traveled all over the country. We had trains and trucks and we were in the jungle and we were on the coast. So, for me, the experience of it also really was very like the story and this kind of exploration of the country. I was really excited. Those Disney films, to me, as a kid, they meant a lot. I got a lot out of them.
How 'bout you, Manolo?
Manolo Cardona: I was very, very, very excited every moment. Every step, every process that I've been through the movie always has been very inspiring to me. I realized what I've been doing, like, a Disney movie and my first American movie and this great story with all this great cast and it's a beautiful script and I was like, "Wow. Wow." Every day was like, "Wow. Wow." It was great.
Now, where are you from originally?
Manolo Cardona: Colombia.
Have you worked there yet?
Manolo Cardona: Yeah. Definitely.
I thought that this was really a cool postcard for Mexico.
Piper Perabo: Totally.
I hadn't really thought about it. It was, like, gee I think I want to go to some of those places. Do you what I'm saying? Did you have that feeling? Was it a real positive vibe?
Manolo Cardona: Definitely. Mexico is like my second home. I used to live in Mexico for a lot of years and coming back with this movie and find these different places that I have never been with these great people around. It was great. Amazing.
You know, they're shot in Mexico and its like, "Ooh, man. It's dicey. Dangerous."
Manolo Cardona: Yeah.
And this, this seemed very warm, very, very cool.
Piper Perabo: Mexico is so beautiful and the people and the different cultures that are there and all the different landscapes we shot, in the desert and the jungle and the coasts and in the big cities. I don't know if I would have gone to all those places if I was just visiting on my own. And also to be working with Manolo and the others actors who are Mexican, who knew their country very well. You could meet their families and we had dinner at their homes and these kinds of small, local restaurants. And it's such a beautiful country and it was kind of such an intimate way to see it.
Manolo, are you a dog person?
Manolo Cardona: Definitely. But I don't have a dog right now.
If you could have one, what would you have?
Manolo Cardona: Maybe a French bulldog, I think.
Manolo Cardona: Yeah.
Now, how is a French bulldog different? I mean, I can picture in my mind the English bulldog. How is the French bulldog different?
Manolo Cardona: He's smaller and more compact. My brother has, has one and it's beautiful.
Did you develop any special relationships with any of the dogs that were working on the film?
Manolo Cardona: With Papi, definitely. It was, it was like a crush there, like, I love you.
Was there only one Papi or more, how many Papis?
Manolo Cardona: There were a few, to do like stunt things and it was like six, I think.
Piper Perabo: But mostly it was Rusco, most of the time.
Manolo Cardona: Yeah. Rusco did all the movie.
Does Rusco answer to Rusco or does he answer to Papi?
Manolo Cardona: Rusco is the real name of the dog that plays Papi.
Piper Perabo: You have to call, if you want him, you have to call Rusco. I never thought about this, but, animals who work in movies. You can't change a dog's name, like every job they get. You know what I mean? You're Lassie and then you're Benji and then...you're going to be really confusing. You've got to stick with the one name.
Now, how 'bout you, Piper? Did you have a special dog while you were working?
Piper Perabo: Well, the dogs that I like... I like Frank, who's the little pug, who's a friend of Chloe's. He's really famous. He's from Men in Black. So I had kind of like a star crush on Frank. And then, if I was going to take a dog, I would want El Diablo, the big bad guy, the Doberman.
Piper Perabo: He was my favorite of all. Even more than Frank.
Do you have a dog?
Piper Perabo: I don't have a dog right now. I travel so much that I can't really be responsible for one.
If you could have one, what would it be? Would you get the big Doberman?
Piper Perabo: Yeah. If I could have one, I would have stole El Diablo.
What is it about the big Doberman? Is it the security factor or something?
Piper Perabo: Well, I live in New York, so it would be nice to have such a big dog, but I also think they're beautiful and so graceful and elegant. I don't know, there's something about them that I really like.
Give me your, your final impressions about working on Beverly Hills Chihuahua. I'm assuming you haven't even had the chance to meet all these other tremendous cast members. I mean, it's an incredible cast. Have you even met Andy or Drew? I mean, the list just goes on and on.
Manolo Cardona: From the actors that did the voices the only that I had the great opportunity to meet is Plácido Domingo. We were shooting in Puerto Vallarta and he was about to do a concert in Guadalajara. We see that he's coming and Piper goes, "its Plácido. Let's go to see Plácido. We should do it" and the producers talked with Plácido and they, he invited us, Piper, a friend from the crew and me to see him in Guadalajara. And it was an amazing experience.
Piper Perabo: It was amazing.
Manolo Cardona: Yeah. Amazing.
How about you, Piper? Have you had a chance to meet anybody yet?
Piper Perabo: Drew is the only one. I know Drew just from life. But, I'm really excited to meet the others. I met Plácido when I was with Manolo, obviously, which was incredible. It's strange to have done a movie with so many people that you haven't met yet. And there's so many talented, incredible actors that I'm a fan of just personally, like Andy Garcia, Luis Guzmán, that I'm dying to meet.
You can watch both Piper Perabo and Manolo Cardona in Beverly Hills Chihuahua when the film hits the shelves on DVD and Blu-ray on March 3.