Fans of Disney’s Lab Rats know Billy Unger as Chase Davenport, the teenager with bionic powers. In his new movie Billy once again plays a teenager but the superpowers belong to someone else – the family dog. Monster Mutt tells the story of teen Zach Taylor, who along with his sister try and save their pet dog from the clutches of an evil scientist.
Celebrity Teen Scoop had the chance to speak exclusively with Billy and the film’s director, Todd Tucker. Todd heads up the make-up special-effects team Illusion Industries, who worked on films such as Hook and the Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Billy and Todd gave us the scoop about their film, that has already won the award for Best Comedy at the International Family Film Festival.
Celebrity Teen Scoop: Tell us about your new film, Monster Mutt.
Todd: Monster Mutt is a family comedy starring Billy and Rhiannon Leigh Wryn (The Last Mimzy). Super Science runs amok when Max, the family dog, is turned into the destructive yet still loveable ‘Monster Mutt’. Billy and Rhiannon’s characters try to hide the giant mongrel while they search for a way to turn Max back to normal.
CTS: Billy, give us the scoop on your character Zach in Monster Mutt.
Billy: Playing Zach was a blast. He’s the older brother who does his best to take care of his sister Ashley when some really strange things begin to happen to their family dog Max.
CTS: What was the highlight of working on the film?
Billy: The highlight of this film was making it. The director Todd Tucker and his crew did an amazing job of creating positive energy that allowed the actors to take a great family story and have a lot of fun in creating the scenes of the movie.
CTS: What was the biggest challenge filming the movie?
Todd: The biggest challenge of filming Monster Mutt was that most of my cast were kids, animals or puppets. Billy and Rhiannon were total pro’s and were actually very easy to work with. The real animals and animatronic puppets were a little more difficult. It was definitely a learning experience working with all the different elements, but in the end, it all worked out great and I’m really proud of the movie.
CTS: Todd, you also wrote the story – how did the idea for a ‘monster dog’ come about?
Todd: I initially came up with the idea for Monster Mutt back when I was working on the film, The Mask. We were building the Mask “dog” puppet and I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if this crazy dog became huge and ran amok. Years later I wrote an outline and worked with screenwriter, Timothy Dolan to complete the finished script. I wanted to make a film that was a tribute to some of the great movies that I saw as a kid.
CTS: Who was easier to work with – Max the real dog, or the costumed version?
Billy: They both equally stole scenes from me.
Where and when can our readers check out Monster Mutt?
Todd: Monster Mutt was awarded 4 out of 5 Doves by the Dove Foundation and won Best Comedy at the International Family Film Festival. It is currently available on DVD at Walmart.com, Target.com, Amazon.com and premiered on Direct TV and i Tunes on January 15, 2013.