In a new documentary, stars like Edie Falco and Richard Gere give viewers an intimate look at their best friends in the business

By Helin Jung
Updated May 24, 2010 11:45 AM

What is it about people and their dogs?

It was a question playwright Mark St. Germain asked the day he had a meeting with Richard Gere. The actor had called St. Germain to meet about a project, and communication felt stiff until the minute Gere’s dog walked into the meeting room.

Gere got down on the floor to play with his dog, and then he started opening up to St. Germain.

Afterward, St. Germain called Daryl Roth, a longtime friend and theater producer in New York. He thought Roth, a “crazy dog-lover,” would have some answers for him: What is it about people and their dogs?

“People that are very public figures, in their private lives, the time they spend with their dogs is the most honest, and wonder, and unconditional love,” Roth told him.

Suddenly, the notion of celebrities and their dogs became compelling enough for the friends to produce a documentary. Using their deep connections in the acting and arts communities, St. Germain and Roth started calling people like Glenn Close, Isaac Mizrahi, Edie Falco and Chris Meloni, who all agreed to participate in the project.

All they needed to give was two hours of their time, in whatever environment they wanted –and they would only have to talk about their dogs. Proceeds from the documentary, which the filmmakers decided to call My Dog, would go to the animal welfare charity of each subject’s choice. The resulting film is a very intimate, personal look at how dogs bring out people’s humanity, no matter how famous they are.

“It was just a moment with their dogs,” Roth tells “These are people that are always asked for things, but dogs don’t want anything other than love from their masters. These are people who really need that quiet and private time, where they can just be themselves.”

St. Germain, who directed the film, says that the celebrities were all very happy to participate and talk about their pets. The pets were happy, too.

“There was not one unpleasant, unfriendly dog we dealt with, period,” he says. “The same goes with their owners.”

Sadly, one of the subjects, Lynn Redgrave, died after a long battle with breast cancer a week before the film’s New York screening. Roth considers the film to be a tribute to the actress, whose dog Viola is now living with Redgrave’s daughter, Annabel.

“There was a certain sadness,” Roth says, “and yet a certain joy that we captured her story.”

My Dog is available May 25 on DVD.