Lady and the Tramp: Canine Romance Comes to Life

Few studios can boast the tradition of Disney, whose animated classics have garnered countless generations of fans since 1937 with the premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This communion has sown an unconditional affection from the public, but recently it has been an obstacle for the acceptance of the remakes in live action that have struggled to find a formula that allows them to emulate the original connections. The search has gone from contextualization to almost absolute traces, while audiences wonder why we should desecrate something that is perfect. After many efforts, the reinvention of Lady and the Tramp conceived for Disney Plus could provide the long-awaited answer.

The original classic released in 1955, unlike the films that preceded it, had a modest origin. It did not emerge from the immortal fairy tales, the great literary classics, or the technical experimentation that so fascinated Walt Disney. Instead he was born from the tale Happy Dan, The Cynical Dog, published in Cosmopolitan magazine and in which the author Ward greene he extolled his love for dogs. A passion shared by the executive of the studio himself, which motivated him to a spirited transfer. The result seems simple, but it conquered love, fidelity and belonging through its messages until it became one of the most valued titles in the house of the mouse.

“That’s why I thought it would be a good move to live-action,” explained the director of the recent reinvention, Charlie bean, to Cinema PREMIERE.

“The original film is with animal characters that behave as such, but are very complex emotionally. That’s it. Has no great fantasy […], but it felt like an interesting opportunity to take real action”.

Lady and the Tramp Lady and the Tramp 1

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The power of dog magic

It is easy to remember the original Lady and the Tramp for its emotional romance between two dogs from different realities, who are united by circumstances. More subtle is his message of belonging, with characters whose differences do not prevent them from sharing concerns and needs. The most important is, without a doubt, the family, which was evident in Reina, but not so much in Golfo, accustomed to the freedoms of solitude.

Bean considered that the remake was a good opportunity to correct this situation. The director takes advantage of the jump into real action to tell us a little about the canine protagonist’s past. “I had my own ideas of what could happen to the homeless man and I wanted to explore it because they are two characters who feel different, until they realize they are not. It seemed like a very important aspect to explore now ”.

This situation is not limited to the animal protagonists, but extends to humans with an interracial couple that defies historical canons. This is because the plot takes place in New Orleans at the beginning of the 20th century, although the state of Louisiana legalized these unions until 1967. In this regard, the filmmaker explains that they were not limited by these prohibitions: “From a creative point of view we chose actors that we love for roles, in this modern age we don’t limit casting on racial grounds. “

No less prominent is that the reinvention takes advantage of its bases to explore the relevance of animal adoption with the story of a street canine whose nobility and heroism lead him to be welcomed. Even more important is that these efforts did not remain in the plot, but were put into practice with the election of Monte, a mestizo rescued and trained specifically for this project. After filming is over, the head coach Mark Forbes he formed such a close bond with the dog that he ended up adopting him. “It was something incredible, seeing how they came together on set, the bond, seeing this love story happen,” recalls the director. A true happy ending for this hobo.

Lady and the Tramp Lady and the Tramp Monte

The challenges of Lady and the Tramp

Recent Disney reinventions were billed as live action, until the nature of The Lion King (2019) defied the label with the exclusive use of photorealistic animation. Beyond the controversy generated by this decision, its antecedents go back to The Jungle Book (2016), which, far from real action enriched by a series of visual effects, entered the classification of hybrid due to its obvious fusion of elements . Although less drastic, the remake of Lady and the Tramp follows this trend by combining real and digital dogs.

“It was intimidating and exciting,” confesses Bean. “These kinds of movies are really two at the same time: you shoot all the live action – only one set was CG, all the others were real – but it was also animated because the main characters are. It was between 1,100 and 1,400 scenes in the whole movie and that’s hard to figure out […]. You go back and forth between the real animal and the animated one, and that makes it difficult ”.

The challenge was especially palpable in the mythical spaghetti sequence. Their filming lasted three days in total, a product of the difficulties involved in getting two animals to act in a certain way at the same time without the trainers appearing on screen. The challenge increases if the scenes whose gestures required animated animals are considered. Finally, there is also the enormous complication of emulating what is considered one of the most emblematic scenes, not only in the studio, but in the entire history of cinema.

“I thought a lot about how to do it technically and emotionally. I wanted to preserve that moment, do it justice and honor it. I didn’t want to steal it from the audiences and myself as part of the audience wanted to see it, I wanted to see these dogs falling in love and sharing this moment.

For now, this new version of Lady and the Tramp has already guaranteed its passage to history as the first remake of an animated classic released directly in the Disney Plus novel, something that the director describes as “exciting [por] take this film into a new era of the studio. ” As for his legacy, only time will tell if he can match that achieved by the celebrated original film.

Lady and the Tramp Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti scene

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Luis Miguel Cruz Someday I will join the X-Men, the Rebel Alliance or the Night’s Watch. Proud member of Cine PREMIERE since 2008.