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‘The Secret Life of Pets’ – 10 Top Facts

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Last week saw the world premiere of Illumination’s latest feature The Secret Life of Pets at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. The film, from the makers of Despicable Me, is a new animated comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day, starring the voices of top comedy talent Kevin Hart, Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet, and Jenny Slate.

Did you know? Ten top facts about The Secret Life of Pets

  1. This film marks the fifth fully animated feature collaboration between Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures. The four previous collaborations have been Despicable Me (2010), The Lorax (2012), Despicable Me 2 (2013) and Minions (2015)
  1. Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri attributes the inspiration behind the film to pets his family had owned during his childhood: “We grew up with a cat and dogs and a bird, and what I realized as I became a parent was that we all invested these pets with rich emotional lives. Whenever we’d come home we would be thinking about the joy in their faces in seeing us and thinking about them doing things that were a little bit naughty. We realized we were asking exactly what they had done while we were out.”
  1. The inspiration for Max has been cited by Meledandri as coming from his own wirehair terriors.
  1. Albert Brooks, the voice of the wise Red-Tailed Hawk Tiberius, may be recognisable to animation fans; amongst his prior voice credits is Marlin in Finding Nemo as well as an assortment of Simpsons characters, including Hank Scorpio and Russ Cargill.
  1. The drawings of Jean-Jacques Sempé have been singled out by film designer Eric Guillon as one of the key inspirations for the world of The Secret Life Of Pets
  1. The film, while set in New York, is depicted as though from the perspective of diminutive Max throughout, something that informed the design of the film’s backdrop throughout production. Regarding this process director Chris Renaud has said “To give that artificial height to our New York, we talked about the Emerald City in Oz. Except we treated our Emerald City as alabaster, white, gleaming and vertically orientated.”
  1. The film’s score was taken on by Oscar winning composer Alexandre Desplat, who was brought on board to bring a dinstictly New York vibe to the production. Desplat’s previous soundtracks include The Grand Budapest Hotel, The King’s Speech and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
  1. The Secret Life of Pets marks the feature animation debut of several of its key cast, including Louis CK, Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart.
  1. Director Chris Renaud makes a voice cameo in the film as Norman, a guinea pig lost in the vents of Max’s apartment block attempting to find his way home.
  1. During the getaway scene audiences can spot the poster for Sing, the next planned feature from Illumination, on the back of one of the buses. Sing is released later this year and features a top Hollywood cast including Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.

The Secret Life of Pets is in UK cinemas June 24th
Hear more about the film from director Chris Renaud in the latest episode of the Skwigly Animation Podcast (stream below or direct download)

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