God loves a terrier. Yes, he does.
“That movie got a lot of attention and notoriety,” Eugene Levy tells PEOPLE. “It kind of became a cultish film with a lot of people in the industry. I think the reason it was so successful was because it was such funny pairings.”
So how did Levy and Catherine O’Hara prep to become Gerry and Cookie Fleck, the married couple obsessed with terriers who wound up with the winning Norwich terrier, Winky?
“We went to a lot of regional dog shows,” Levy says. “It’s pretty amazing that the movie is so close to what it really was like. It can be a strange world. People take it very seriously. Sometimes it’s very cutthroat.”
O’Hara adds, “It’s not that far off from the beauty pageant world.”
O’Hara recalls the movie’s final scene, when Levy – her husband with literally two left feet – has to take Winky (whose real name was Brillo) around the ring after her character twisted her ankle.
“All the other people in the show except for the main cast were real dog owners or handlers, and when Eugene was going out to do the scene where he wins, a few of them were standing near me,” she says. “They were saying, ‘Wait, why does your dog win? I don’t understand, my dog should win!’ And I was like, ‘Uh, because it’s in the script?’ ”