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‘Nine Lives’ Director on Working With Animals: ‘Dogs Are Easy and Cats are Hard’

Felines were definitely the dominant species at Monday’s world premiere of EuropaCorp’s cat comedy “Nine Lives” at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

“The cat is king when you’re shooting a cat movie,” Jennifer Garner declared on the blue carpet. “They really are the ones in charge.”

Malina Weissman, who plays Garner’s daughter in the film, agreed.

“I love cats, but they are sometimes divas,” she explained. “Sometimes they’ve very cooperative.”

Director Barry Sonnenfeld was in a reflective mood about working with animals, noting that he had done so extensively on the “Men in Black” movies.

“Dogs are easy and cats are hard; they don’t care about praise,” he asserted. “We had great second unit directors who took care of it during the nights.”

The story is fairly simple — an uptight businessman, played by Kevin Spacey, finds himself trapped inside the body of a cat. Garner plays his wife and Robbie Amell portrays his son.

“I really wanted to be in this movie, even though I am super allergic to cats, dogs, and horses,” Amell admitted. “As an actor, you just want the part and once you do, you just figure out how to make it work.”

Mark Consuelos, who plays the villain, admitted that the cats seemed to sense that he was not a fan. “I think the cats would have tried to eat me if they were bigger,” he added.

Several of the film’s cats — Lil Bub, Nala, Pudge, and Waffles — attracted plenty of attention, even though Waffles appeared on the verge of falling asleep. Trainer Derek Liu said that’s what Waffles wants to do all the time.

“He’s a very chill cat and nothing bothers him,” he said.

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