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THE MOVIE: Marley & Me

Owen Wilson • Jennifer Aniston
DIRECTOR: David Frankel

Poster image of puppy Marley THE CONCEPT:
Based on the book
by John Grogan.
Successful newspaper columnist John Grogan (Wilson) is happily married to Jenny (Aniston), another talented reporter. Their life in West Palm Beach, Florida, seems ideal until the day they adopt a puppy, Marley. The yellow Labrador who grows into a 100-pound steamroller of unbridled energy, who turns their lives upside down…

U.S. RELEASE: December 25 2008, Nationwide
• Rated: PG


JENNIFER ANISTON on playing Jenny Grogan:
Puppy Marley and Jennifer Aniston“It was on the page and it was something that was extremely important to us, because this book has such an audience and such a fan base and these are two people that are actually here on the planet and you want to honor their story.”

“They came and visited the set early on and were in the obedience school scene. It was kind of strange and a little nerve-wracking. Like, ‘I wonder what he’s thinking about me playing him.‘ And as Jennifer was saying, it was on the page and it made sense.”

ANISTON on what she thinks the appeal of the book is?:
“It’s a true story; a simple story and I think people go to movies and they escape with these big crazy plotlines, and here is a movie where people are actually going like, ‘That’s me,’ or, ‘I did that.’ Even if you don’t have a dog, you’ve been in a relationship and it doesn’t even have to be a married relationship, just partnered life.”

Owen Wilson and Marley“It’s strange because it does seem that it’s not just America. We were talking with John Grogan he said in Argentina they love the book. I guess there’s something in the story that has a universal appeal that people are able to connect with.”

ANISTON on the most challenging scene with the dog:
“The scene where we were taking him to get neutered. That was definitely a challenging scene in the car because we also had Matilda, the trainer who’s fantastic, in the back seat. It was a lot of action for the dog.”

“Clyde [who plays Marley] was always good at getting his stuff [right]. Getting the puppy to imitate he was going to the bathroom took a long time, because he had a little stool that he had to sit on.”

ANISTON on the rumor she adopted one of the dogs who played Marley:
“I didn’t, but both of my dogs are adopted, but that was years ago. I almost adopted the dog that’s in the poster. What was the name of that dog?”

Chaos follows Marley“Tank? Chud? Judd! There were so many dogs playing Marley that it was like doing a Vietnam movie where you didn’t want to get too close [to any of them] because you knew that that dog might not be there the next day. And some of the people that did adopt some of those puppies then called [the trainers] saying they were having behavior problems.”

Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston and Marley with a snowman“The reason I wanted to be in this movie is that it wasn’t the girl trying to get the guy or the guy trying to get the girl, the chase and then you end the movie where they ride off into the sunset. This is sort of the sequel to that, where you get to see the ins-and-outs of a relationship and see them over 15 years and have this human thread that takes you through, and have it be funny just because life is funny and dramatic. I just loved it.”


WILSON on the end of the movie where the elderly Marley dies:

“I knew those scenes were coming up and I was kind of nervous like ‘Gosh, I hope I feel something so they don’t have to get out those fake tears,’ the glycerin, and that was on stand by. But I didn’t really need it because as soon as Copper, the dog who played the old man Marley, as soon as you saw this dog it was hard not to start getting kind of emotional. That was what was nice about the movie that the situations didn’t ever feel contrived.”

“Those were really hard [scenes to do]. That was the last two weeks for me of shooting so it was kind of fortunate that that came at the end, because you don’t always get to shoot in order. Those were the days where I couldn’t read the sides in the trailer in the morning because I was just bubbling over with emotion and I was hoping that I would be able to look at the lines while I was on set and remember them.”

WILSON on whether he felt the movie should have ended differently:
“We were talking about being true to the book and people love that book so much that it really wasn’t a choice. You have to tell the story and honor that story. There can be something beautiful about being together as a family for the whole cycle of life and not shying away from that.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Twentieth Century Fox
Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #701, December 2008 cover

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