Movie fans and forum regulars will be well aware of the release of the latest Robin Hood movie. The film features an all-star cast and one rising star of particular interest to us in the form of a large grey dog, Megan.
Megan Denton-Miller - Picture courtesy of Alasdair Denton-Miller
I was surprised to find her a laid back and relaxed hound, despite her recent movie success. Her new found fame seems to rest comfortably on her withers. To this interviewer Meg seems a consummate professional and dedicated thespian, but I'll let you decide. The full transcript of our interview follows.
How did you get started in the movie business?
Possibly doesn't own a deerhound.
I've always been fascinated by the world of show business. When I was a pup, I used to sit in front of the telly for hours watching Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Toto. I never thought that one day my dream would come true and I'd be on the big screen myself. I was just lucky I guess. One day my personal assistant got a phone call from an Agent who was looking for a Deerhound for the starring role in a new film to be directed by a human called Wriggly Scott called "Dog in the Wood". Well, of course I sent him some of my better photos and was asked to audition at Shepperton Studios. It all happened really quickly. The next thing I know, I went to meet Wriggly on set and he fell in love with me immediately. I often have this effect on humans. He offered me the leading lady's role in the film right away. I was to have a companion called Maid Marion. Her role would be to feed me, groom me and make sure I got somewhere comfortable to lie that showed off my best side. She was quite nice, I think she was called Cate Blankett or something like that.
One of the extras in the film was a funny man who smelled of Kangaroos. Rubble Snow or something…I can't quite remember. I recall he was a bit rude. Funny for a mere human to annoy me I know, but he was persistent. He even insisted I sleep with him one night, although when I did give in, it was purely platonic I can assure you. More for his enjoyment than mine. That Cate said that she kept a dagger in her garter and if he touched her, she'd cut something of his off. Well, I have a mouthful of big sharp teeth and made sure he got the same message from me. He didn't smell very good, I can tell you that! All that running around in chain mail and leather..
Your reputation as a method actor is well documented, but what can you tell me about the preparation for this role?
|A Robin Hood Street mime?
Now that's acting.
This was an extremely demanding role for me. First of all I had to get in shape. After all, I fully expected to be lying around most of the time. On these big movies, they often shoot scenes many times over, so I knew there'd be a lot of incredibly tiring lying down to be done. I started my work out programme with my usual running about and madly chasing things routine, but for historical accuracy, I had to learn how to run with horses and not to eat the chickens on the set (I mean.. how bizarre can it get?). The "down stays" were one of the biggest challenges on this shoot as I get bored easily and like to mooch off and sniff things. Of course, on a busy film set you can't do this and may have to stay in the same place for at least ten minutes. I have to say though that this annoying forced staying in one place is completely different from the usual voluntary staying in one place on one's back for hours at a time. It's very annoying, but one does what one has to for the fans.
Of course, what I thought was one of my best scenes ended up being lost on the cutting room floor, but that's the risks of the game. The "Dog Eating Chicken Breast" scene would have been a masterpiece of cinema worthy of Attenborough himself. I put myself through at least eight takes of appearing to enjoy being flung a cooked chicken breast, catching it and pretending to hungrily devour it. It was tough work, I can say!
After filming what is sure to become a huge success ‘Robin Hood’, what’s next?
Right now, I'm "resting" between jobs, but I fancy a bit of Shakespeare if the chance comes up. Maybe one of the "dog-hearted Daughters" in King Lear, although I object to Billy's treatment of Dogs in general. I'd also like to work with that chap George Lucas, as I don't think any of his films have had enough Dogs in them yet.. and I've written a screen treatment called "Hound Wars - Return of the Dog Toys" that I'm sure he'd be interested in. I'd play the part of the Space Princess.. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing quite how comfortable it is to be weightless on a starship.
If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them?
I'd normally give you the typical politically correct answer and say "Ghandhi" or "Churchil" or "Buddha" or something, but for a change I'm going to come clean as you seem to be a nice lad. I'd really, really like to meet my local Butcher from a bit closer than normal, which is from the wrong side of the plate glass window. As for what I'd say to him, it's simple: "Everything in this shop is mine, now bring it to me one piece at a time".
If you were a biscuit, which would you be?
One of my humans brews beer, and he makes biscuits from the spent grain, eggs, molasses and peanut butter. They are the best dog biscuits this side of Java. I'm not really sure what kind of dog biscuits they have in Java though.. but I do know it's along way away.
What is the longest you’ve gone without a bath?
I do hope you're not going to print this! But as this is between friends, I'll let you into a little secret. I never go more than three months without a bath. I'm not a showy kind of girl and most of the time I like to sniff around in the fields, chase little furry things and generally do all the fun stuff that us girls like to do. But sometimes, when I think I'm beginning to smell really nice I let my humans bully me into washing off all of those lovely doggy fragrances and clipping my claws. Sometimes, I even let them brush me too.. but normally I'll give them a friendly nip or two if they dare to pull my fur while they are doing so.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
My Giant BeanBag. I refuse to go anywhere without it. I mean, what's a Hound to do if she can't spend most of the day lying comfortably on her back, legs splayed out in the air? Anything else is just not civilised, and if desert islands don't come with beanbags, then I'm not going!
My second luxury item would be a meaty bone. Actually, it would need to be a steady supply of meaty bones, preferably cow's thigh bones. After all, once you've tried the best, forget the rest!
Finally, the third item would have to be a personal chef. I just can't get on with that common dry dog food and prefer to have my humans prepare my meals especially for me. I like lots of fresh meat and vegetables, and I'm rather keen on a nice green salad with a little vinaigrette. Oh. And a little bit of cheese before bed if at all possible. By the way, you wouldn't happen to have any Brie with you..?
What’s your standpoint on the recent election and resulting coalition government?
Now that's a really good question. I quite liked that nice Mr. Cameron at first as he's got a good Scottish name, but then I saw that he went to school in England, so he probably hasn't done much real deer stalking. That funny looking Mr. Brown actually is from Scotland, but he looked a bit too large to have done much running through the Glens as well.. to be honest, he looks like he's eaten a bit too much Tartan Shortbread to me.
As for the result, to be honest. I'm not that bothered.. as long as nobody taxes posh collars, chicken wings and meaty bones, I'll let the humans pretend to be in control for now.
What’s your favourite toy?
|Meg: A dog going places?|
I really like Children playing football. Or Children cycling. Either one is fine as long as there's something to chase. I'm really not very fond of vacuum cleaners or power tools though, and any toy that just lays there by itself bores me.. although this Tennis ball I've got in my mouth right now is quite fun. Hold on a minute.. I've got to go and bounce it off the floor and catch it a few times..
Hairy or smoothy?
To be honest, I don't really care as long they run around a lot.
Squeeky or silent?
Oh, they ALL squeak darling.. normally it's something along the lines of "Meggy leave the ball alone"..
Megan "Ificanseeitit'smine" Denton-Miller is appearing courtesy of DM Entertainment Ltd.
Aged almost 5 years, Meg stands 30" at the shoulder and weighs about 38Kg. She deigns to spend most of her time with humans Alasdair, Elisabeth, Alfie, Max and Izzy.. all of whom know their proper place and have been brought up acceptably.
Meg doesn't talk much about her ancestry, although it's generally known that she comes from an undocumented relationship and was brought up on a hill farm in Wales with her mother. Her father was around briefly while she was a pup, but she hasn't seen either parent since she was very young.
I'd like to offer my sincere thanks to Megan and her human's Alasdair Denton-Miller and family.