Canine beats master out of role
New Jersey native Brendan Kelly has spent the last couple of years building on his resume as an actor in Hollywood. After completing speaking parts in two of producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s projects, “Con Air” and “The Rock,” the producer and “Rock” helmer Michael Bay took notice not only of Kelly’s skills, but also of his French bulldog, Franky.
Bay called Kelly while the helmer was in pre-production for “Armageddon” and made the fledgling thesp a surprising offer: He wanted Franky for a part in the new pic.
Kelly didn’t mind that his dog was offered a gig instead of him; after all, like all thesps these days, all he really wanted was a chance to direct.
So Kelly came up with the idea to film Franky’s experiences in Hollywood. He’s proved his helming chops with “Franky Goes to Hollywood,” a 12-minute docu starring Franky and co-starring none other than Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Billy Bob Thornton and Steve Buscemi.
The A-list thesps are featured in the pic conversing about per diems and other insider thesp things with their canine co-star; it could even be argued that “Franky” offers a rare inside glimpse into what thesps do while lounging in their comfy trailers on big-budget pics.
The doc preemed to a large, enthusiastic audience at the Hollywood film fest, and both Franky (who earned a not-too-shabby $20,000 for his performance) and his owner are expanding on their newfound careers.
“Disney may make a cartoon about Franky, and Steve Buscemi was so thrilled with the film that he took it to A Band Apart and pitched me as a commercial director,” Kelly said. “I’m working out a deal to direct my first feature, and as for the future, I hope to call upon (the “Armageddon” actors) again, but this time I’ll pay ’em.”