Almost two years were spent raising and training a total of 27 ducks for the movie Love Birds. Prior to the movie shooting, the ducks underwent six months of intensive training with their trainers, going home with them at night, travelling in cars, bonding while watching T.V and even having baths together.
A range of tricks and behaviors were required of the ducks, including: staying down, flying, sleeping, preening, feeling comfortable in general with the actors and crew, and of course, remaining calm while sitting in a box or man bag.
All our duck actors provided their own special talents, but Arny and Trey were selected as the most unique. Arny was our hero duck, who fell in love with the camera and his co star actor Rhys Darby.
When you see a duck ‘talking’ in the movie, pecking Doug, dancing, being carried in a box or man bag, that’s Arny.
Trey played his parts like a true professional: getting cuddled, standing, lying down, grooming himself and even wearing a silly hat.
There were a also variety of other ducks used, including Laiko, who went for the iconic ride over the Auckland harbor bridge, and Boone who played Pierre sleeping.
Chay played Pierre taking off and flying from the lawnmower and Matt was the duck running around the house at the beginning of the film.
After receiving the script for Matariki we knew it was going to call for a very special dog to pull off the required action convincingly. The film called for the dog to not only have a very special bond with his master in the film, but to also suffer at the hands of a rouge car leaving the dog injured and dying. During the preproduction phase while auditioning dogs for the role, we came across Harley a young energetic Staffordshire Bull Terrier who had the “X” factor. Harley not only had the visual appeal required - tough but lovable - he also proved to be a natural at learning new behaviours. Harley went from a fun loving guy hanging out with his owner at work greeting customers daily, to a convincing animal actor within a matter of weeks. Harley’s trainer is so proud of the results they achieved on this project, that she considers his injured and dying scenes as some of the most convincing animal acting she has achieved to date.
Photo showing Actor Edwin Wright holding Harley. Photo taken by Matt Klitscher.
As part of Genesis Energy's latest ad campaign, Animals On Q trained a variety of Pukekos to perform tricks, such as turning on light switches, pulling electric cords, tipping paint cans over and painting zebra crossings for pukeko chicks to cross the road.