But top animal flight simulator Julie Tottman spotted star quality in Neopolitan Mastiff Monkey – who went on to sprinkle some animal magic on the Harry Potter films .
tamper starred as gamekeeper Hagrid ‘s andiron Fangs from the fourth film onwards
Julie, 50, who ’ mho credits include Game Of Thrones, 101 Dalmatians and several James Bond films, has written a book about how she turned starving, indocile Monkey into the pawl who played Fang in the celebrated movie franchise .
She says : “ I had an blink of an eye connection with him. When I found him he was urgently malnourished, and desperate for love and care. I had no idea if that would make him a good frump for the movie but I knew I wouldn ’ triiodothyronine be able to resist trying ! ”
As Harry Potter ’ s head animal trainer, Julie trained over 250 animals for the movie franchise between 2000 and 2011 – from owl to cats and even spiders .
One of the key animal characters is Fang, the andiron belonging to gamekeeper Hagrid, played by Robbie Coltrane .
Julie likes to use rescue animals for films to give them a newly animation credit : Damien McFadden
When Julie rescued him he was a ‘bag of bones ‘ but quickly bulked up with regular meals credit : WENN
In the first three films the function was played by a Neopolitan Mastiff called Hugo, who memorably splattered presenter Fern Britton with drool during an appearance on This Morning .
But with just weeks to go before filming began on the fourth episode, Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire, the decisiveness was taken that ageing Hugo needed to retire – leaving Julie with a big hole that needed urgently filling .
She recalled : “ I knew it would be a adult challenge to replace him in such a shortstop time frame. Neapolitan Mastiffs are a rare engender and they can be quite catchy to work with. TIme was not on our side. ”
Devoted to animal wellbeing, Julie constantly tries to use rescue animals where she can – so started by ringing round dog rescue charities. She explained : “ I always tried to cast rescue animals for movies because there are then many deserving animals languishing in shelters who are desperate for a new life sentence .
“ It breaks my affection to think of the cruelty and negligence humans can inflict on animals, but no matter what horrors a animal has endured, a bit of kindness and some careful train can turn them into stars .
Monkey became a firm favorite with the form including Robbie Coltrane
Julie did n’t have long to get Monkey screen-ready but hush managed it credit : Damien McFadden
“ The universe writes them off, but I knew from know that rescues are frequently the hardest work, most loyal and love animals. ”
After hitting several dead ends, Julie finally struck it lucky with a specialist mastiff rescue charity who had a Neopolitan Mastiff the same blue color as Hugo. But there was one problem – his previous owner had abandoned him claiming he was aggressive, which would barely make him a adept suit for a set full of child actors .
Julie decided the cad was worth checking out anyhow. She explained : “ Often owners say a andiron is aggressive as an excuse to get rid of them. But nine times out of ten it ’ s because they weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate prepared for how big the pawl got or how expensive it is to feed them. People prefer to blame the dog than blame themselves. ”
equally soon as she set eyes on Monkey, then known as Hercules, Julie knew she was right to have trusted her gut .
Although full of department of energy and intent, he was in a good-for-nothing state. She recalled : “ He was incredibly skinny – short more than a bag of bones. A Neapolitan mastiff should have skin that hangs loose over the solid rock candy of their body, but this andiron ’ second folds were like old tabloid draped around his bony frame. It broke my center to see how he must have been starved and neglected by his early owners. ”
Monkey had been abandoned by owners who claimed he was poisonous credit : Getty
Julie ‘s new book details the floor of Monkey and his travel to becoming a movie star
What ’ s more, it was clear Hercules was bathetic and affectionate – a far cry from the poisonous beast his former owners had made him out to be .
She added : “ He looked up at me with a expect of such gradualness that I immediately knew that any I had heard about his aggressive side must have been wrong. I could tell this was a frump who merely longed to be loved. ”
Renaming him Monkey to suit his cockamamie, brash nature, Julie decided to take him home to Tring, Hertfordshire, on the spot .
She knew he needed feeding up, attention and something to put his energy into – so the film could be just what he needed .
Julie was creditworthy for a number of animals on the film including Crookshanks credit : Damien McFadden
But it was even a race against time to get him ready .
She said : “ normally, if I was starting from rub with a new dog I ’ five hundred want at least twelve weeks working with them before taking them on set, starting by merely building a relationship before moving on to simple commands and finally the specific moves they ’ d need for the film. The Goblet of Fire started in less than half that time. ”
In her reserve, Julie describes how tamper went from course clown to a ace turn who thrilled his young co-stars, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint .
But that ’ s not to say there weren ’ t a few mishaps along the way. On one occasion, Monkey launched himself at a invaluable, anamatronic dragon – thinking it was a supersized frank plaything and not a bespeak masterpiece that had taken the prop department months to conceive .
And another scene saw him shower the whole set in drivel – after shaking his massive head at just the amiss time.
Julie said : “ He was a big, gawky lout of a dog who barely had a bent for making you laugh. ”
Monkey deplorably died in 2013 after developing cancer, but he is immortalised in the Warner Brothers Studio Tour near Watford, where a video recording showing him being put through his paces by Julie is projected onto the wall .
She says : “ His personality shines through the screen. even though we had to say goodbye to him, I know he ’ ll live on for fans and people who remember him – and that for me is the real charming. ”
- Copyright © Julie Tottman 2021, extracted from Rescue Me published by Sphere, an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group at £9.99.