Disney Using Real Dogs in Live-Action ‘Lady and the Tramp’

Real dog “actors” are being utilized in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp re-imagining headed to Disney+.

Thomas Mann, who plays Jim Dear — owner of Lady (voice of Thor: Ragnarok’s Tessa Thompson), the refined and pampered cocker spaniel who falls in love with Tramp (voice of Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Justin Theroux) — told Collider the live-action spin on Walt Disney’s 1955 animated classic is “an enhanced version of the world” that audiences saw before with human characters who are “a little more fleshed out.”

“They’re not these passing faces that you barely get a glimpse of. You get to know them a little bit better. And also, there are real dogs,” Mann said.

“Who doesn’t want to see two real dogs kiss over a plate of spaghetti? That is the main draw for me. You get the charisma of real dogs in there. Lady and the Tramp came out in 1955. I understand people who are like, ‘Don’t mess with the original,’ but they aren’t re-animating it. It’s a live-action remake. So, why not?”

Mann confirmed the dogs were on set and filmed “every day.”

“They were on set and they weren’t even trained. They found these dogs and started training them about three months before. They just wanted to find the perfect dogs,” he said.

“The main dog’s name was Rose, who played Lady. It was crazy because they didn’t know they were working, so they would run off in the middle of a take, and then come back over.

“You have to be extra patient because you have to be good every time for when they are good once. It was a lot of fun. It was so cute, every day, to just have a bunch of dogs to play with. It made the job a lot less stressful.”

The new iteration of the classic story is “a little more dramatic” than the animated version, but Mann was sure to point out it’s not “a full-on drama” but is instead “a little more grown up, in its own way, and a little more sophisticated.”

“It looks beautiful, in the few things that I’ve seen, from the way it was shot. The production design, alone, is pretty immaculate,” Mann said. “Just wait, it will be amazing! These dogs are movie stars.”

Kiersey Clemons (Dope) plays Jim’s wife, Darling, with Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) playing Darling’s dog-hating Aunt Sarah.

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Joining Thompson and Theroux as the animal cast are Ashely Jensen (DuckTales), Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures), and Benedict Wong (Avengers: Infinity War).

Lady and the Tramp will debut exclusively on Disney+ sometime after the streaming service launches in 2019.