Imagine a life where you’d be fortunate to get 15 years before you were done. Imagine constantly trying to please others, doing whatever you could to earn their love, only to be treated by some as subhuman. Now, after about a decade and a half spent battling for Hollywood table scraps, tabloid targets [movieperson id="1646"]Jennifer Aniston[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="168601"]Owen Wilson[/movieperson] are ready to admit that their lives have gone to the dogs — voluntarily.
MTV News caught up with the dynamic duo as they promoted [movie id="362765"]“Marley & Me,”[/movie] an endearing tale of canine companionship, based on John Grogan’s best-selling book of the same name, opening Christmas Day. As we tossed out questions about long-lost pets, giving away movie endings and getting peed on during a take, we found them more than happy to play ball.
MTV: “Marley & Me” is coming to theaters, and it’s a movie about a very special dog. Could you tell us about a special pet in your life and what its biopic would be like?
Owen Wilson: Well, “The Story of Dmitri.” That would be [something].
Jennifer Aniston: I think your story of the dog that disappeared in the thunderstorm.
Wilson: Nutmeg? Our first. The Dalmatian. We had her for a long time, and towards the end of her life, she ran off in a thunderstorm. And then the Labrador we had for a long time, he also ran off in a thunderstorm towards the end [of his life].
Aniston: How old were you when you started to go, “Hmmm … “?
Wilson: Thirty-three, I guess. I started to wonder about this coincidence. But I feel like the dog I have now is the first dog that was all mine. And you feel really connected.
MTV: Hopefully he won’t run away.
Wilson: Oh no, I have an Australian cattle dog and they call them “shadow dogs” because they just stick right by you.
Aniston: Yeah, my shepherd does that. She’s always right [on my lap]. I don’t know why she does that.
MTV: Is that who you’d like to make your biopic about? Your German shepherd?
Aniston: No, I’d want mine to be about Norman. If there was a way to put Norman in a movie [I'd do it], because his expressions are just perfect. I want to do a short film called “Cut to Norman” and just have all these little vignettes, and then we could cut to Norman.
MTV: What kind of dog is that?
Aniston: I have him now. He’s a Corgi terrier/ Australian shepherd. He’s a mutt. He’s great and adorable. He’s a human being in a dog suit.
MTV: An unfortunate part of being a dog owner is that we usually live longer than our pets. I was talking to your co-star [movieperson id="235333"]Eric Dane[/movieperson], and he thought it was OK to talk about the sad ending to “Marley & Me.” Do you think we can break the normal “spoiler alert” rules?
Aniston: I disagree. Do you?
Wilson: To talk about the ending? I don’t know.
Aniston: That’s a tough one, because some people know it if they’ve read the book.
MTV: I know, personally, I went in thinking it was a fun dog movie.
Aniston: And you hadn’t read the book?
MTV: No, and I have a Dachshund, so the ending was tough to watch since I wasn’t ready for it.
Aniston: Do you mean to prepare people for it? Or just, like, give away the ending?
MTV: Well, the way Eric explained the plot was as the life of a dog, from start to finish.
Aniston: That’s a good way to say it. I think that’s a beautiful way to say it.
Wilson: There you go.
Aniston: It’s the story of the life of a dog, and the 15 years of that dog’s life with this family and with this couple.
MTV: Could a “Marley & Me”-like film ever be made about a cat?
Wilson: Yeah, I don’t see why not. But cats are a little bit more aloof.
Aniston: You don’t get as much action out of a cat. [They laugh.] There would be a lot of sitting.
Wilson: Do cats even learn their names?
Aniston: I don’t know. They just sort of [hang out]. We don’t have cats — can you tell?
MTV: You’ve both made lots of great movies over the years. Jen, what’s your favorite Owen Wilson film?
Aniston: Besides this one? Oh God, I love [movie id="208454"]“The Royal Tenenbaums.”[/movie] I just love that whole movie. [movie id="93894"]“Bottle Rocket,”[/movie] of course, which is where I first discovered him.
MTV: Did you see “Bottle Rocket” back in the ’90s and say, “I need to work with that guy”?
Aniston: Always. I actually did always say that. And then I remember thinking, “Oh, he’s one of those actors. He’ll never want to work with a sitcom star.”
Wilson: Aw, c’mon. [They laugh.] And now, here we are! An old married couple.
MTV: Owen, what’s your favorite Jennifer Aniston movie?
Aniston: I knew you were going to put him in that position. [Laughs.]
Wilson: I guess I really like [movie id="132066"]“Office Space”[/movie] and [movie id="272882"]“The Break-Up.”[/movie] And I also really like that one where you’re working at a grocery store.
Aniston: [movie id="212908"]“The Good Girl”[/movie]?
Wilson: Yeah, that has a real sad, kind of beautiful quality to it. And that character, especially.
MTV: A lot is made out of chemistry. So when you watched these films a decade ago as young actors, did you think, “My chemistry could work with that person”?
Wilson: I think you don’t really know until you get with the person. So much of chemistry is if you’re gonna agree on the way stuff should be played. Otherwise, you’re in a scene going …
Aniston: “Oh, you’re going to play it that way?”
Wilson: “That’s not what I would have done.” And the best is when you get somebody doing it better than you imagined. That’s what I felt like with this one.
Aniston: Yeah, we both lucked out in that department.
MTV: Marley is a bad dog in the movie. But in real life, how were the dogs? Did they ever bark during your best take and ruin it?
Wilson: Or he’d lift his leg and decide it’s time to mark his territory.
Aniston: Or there were times when he’d perform the best in the scene, but you’d feel like you haven’t gotten it. But that’s what you get for working with a dog!
Check out everything we’ve got on “Marley & Me.”
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