Disney’s Santa Paws Q & A’s with the Producer’s

Q & A’s with Director/Producer/Writer Robert Vince & Writer/Producer Anna McRoberts

Q – What are your most memorable Christmas moments? You must have had those moments, because this music is touched with a bit of magic!
A – Robert Vince: My most memorable Christmas moments are with my family in Malibu, CA with my kids. My favorite childhood memories are with my five brothers and sisters in Vancouver when we used to build snowmen in our back yard. Yes, the music in the movie is very emotional and was created by Brahm Wenger who is a composer we have worked with since the original Air Bud movie.

Q – Why do you think talking puppies are so popular?
A – Anna McRoberts: I think talking puppies are so popular because we’ve always lived in a world in which we can only imagine what our pets/dogs are thinking. With talking puppies, we’ve opened up a whole new level of magic and imagination.

Q – Another major difference compared to prior films was the use of notable Disney talent with Mitchell Muso, John Ducey, Madison Pettis and even a song by Debbie Ryan. Was this coincidental casting or did Disney want to use their notable talent from the Disney Channel?
A – Robert Vince: Casting varies in each and every film and is determined on a case by case basis. The casting choices on this film was actually made by me and Anna McRoberts my producing and writing partner.

Q – Which was your favorite dog to work with?
A – Robert Vince: My favorite dog character is Rasta who is voiced by Chris Massey. There is just something hilarious about a Jamaican dog with dreads.

Q – After Santa Buddies last year and now The Search for Santa Paws, can we expect an annual holiday-themed Buddies movie?
A – Robert Vince: You never know! All I can say is that you will more than likely see a sequel to Santa Paws (of course, we already have a story in mind).

Q – For “The Search for Santa Paws”, you literally found yourselves a new star with young actress Kaitlyn Maher. For such a young child, was she easy to work with, especially around the dog (that plays Paws)?
A – Anna McRoberts: We first used Kaitlyn as a voice on Santa Buddies and we were beyond impressed with her talent and presence and knew we had to put her in front of the camera next. Kaitlyn is an amazing person, very intelligent and a consummate professional. She was a true pleasure to work with. She is also a real dog lover and if I may speak for her, I am sure she might pick the puppy scenes as some of her favorites. In addition, her and Paws became very fast friends.

Q – What was the funniest blooper that happened on set with the dogs and/or kids?
A – Robert Vince: When you work with kids and animals bloopers occur daily. In the dancing scene “I Do Believe In Christmas,” the girls were so excited they kept falling off the beds.

Q – Where did HuckleBuckle Toys come from? Your imagination or life experience? I love that name! Rolls off the tongue!
A – Anna McRoberts: Thank you! When we were writing the script, we needed a name that served several purposes. Firstly and most importantly, it needed to feel magical, that Hucklebuckle Toys was a store where anything could happen. Secondly, it needed to be able to be shortened and still work as a name, so that James and Kate Huckle, who shortened the name long ago, could return to their original name Hucklebuckle once they got in touch with the true meaning of Christmas. The magical name Hucklebuckle serves as a marker of belief, once James and Kate “learn to believe” in the magic of Christmas, they see the importance of changing their name back and continuing on the Hucklebuckle legacy.

Q – Was the film Miracle on 34th Street an influence?
A – Robert Vince: Yes it was actually just as much an influence as Annie, A Wonderful Life and a movie we did a number of years ago called Chestnut. We also looked at all the Christmas classics. It was our goal to create a film that would become a perennial favorite during Christmas.

Q – How did you come up with the idea of the Christmas icicle?
A – Robert Vince: Anna came up with that concept. We loved it for a number of reasons. For example, it was the implied environmental issues and we also wanted to explain where the magic came from and that the spirit of Christmas is stored in the icicle all year long.

Q – Do you have dogs of your own? What breeds?
A – Robert Vince: Yes I do! In fact I recently brought home one of the Golden Retriever pups from a film we just finished shooting. Her name is Emily-Rosebud, she is 18 weeks old now and the best dog ever. She is sitting at my feet as we chat.

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