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A Dog's Breakfast

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Editorial Reviews


Interview with the director of A Dog's Breakfast, David Hewlett

Tell us about your background and how it prepared you for the making of this film.

I have been making films from the other side of the camera (as an actor) since I was 14. My friends and I used to spend our entire summer vacations causing chaos running around Toronto, Canada armed with an 8mm Cine film camera making short films. They were entirely self-funded and we would beg, borrow or steal equipment, locations and post-production time to get them finished. They were the best "vacations" I ever had. Those experiences were the reason I became a professional actor. Being on Stargate Atlantis has afforded me the time and the money to try to relive those fantastic experiences. This time with me at the helm!

What or who was your inspiration for writing and directing "A Dog's Breakfast"?

My biggest influences for the script were "A Fish Called Wanda", "Fawlty Towers" and the original "Pink Panther". In order to stand out and get noticed, many first time filmmakers go to extreme lengths to be dark, twisted and edgy. Rather than trying to shock people into taking notice of my work, I just wanted to make people laugh. I wanted it to be enjoyably silly. I really liked the idea of all the different aged members of a family being able to sit together and share a giggle. Making those early short films with my friends was the biggest inspiration. But, I also read a lot of books and watched a lot of DVDs in preparation for "A Dog's Breakfast". "Garden State" was a fantastic first film by another actor-turned-director (Zach Braff) that really inspired us to get on with making our own movie. Robert Rodriguez was another huge inspiration. Here is someone who just went out there and made a movie, all on his own. His book "Rebel Without A Crew" is like a road-map to your first film and made it sound so do-able. He had to sell himself for medical research to get the money to fund his work. I just have to save the universe, on Stargate Atlantis. I didn't think we had any excuse not to spend our hiatus making "A Dog's Breakfast".

Is this the first project in which you've starred and directed? How was that experience?

This was the first time I'd ever done two of the three jobs I ended up with on "A Dog's Breakfast"! Directing was completely new to me and it was the skill-set I was most worried about. I have done a fair amount of writing over the years, but this was the first complete script to make it to camera. And then on top of that the fact that I'm actually acting in just about every scene as well -- I don't know what I was thinking! Well, actually I do. It was two less people to feed and schedule around! I would definitely re-think trying to do them all simultaneously again. I kept forgetting to call 'action' or remembered and then forgot my lines, I was a mess! That said, once I got into the swing of it, writing and directing was a dream come true! I was finally able to take part in every aspect of filmmaking. I'd been privy to aspects of it over the years, but seeing a film through from conception to release and even dabbling in the marketing side of things was incredible. I can't wait to do it again! I'm half way through the script for the next project which I'm hoping to have someone else pay for this time! Over 20 years later and I'm still making films during my holidays, and they're still the best "vacations" I could wish for!

You chose to cast several cast mates from Stargate:Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 in your film (your sister Kate, Paul McGillion, Christopher Judge, Rachel Luttrell). What prompted the decision and were you worried it may mislead people about the content of the film (thinking it was sci-fi or associated with Stargate)?

I just worked with my friends and family, it's always worked for me in the past. I know how tough it can be for first time directors and I wanted to surround myself with top-notch and supportive talent. I'd be crazy not to take advantage of those connections! One of the reasons we chose to make Ryan a "sci-fi" actor was to be able to give a little nod to the Stargate fans with his "Starcrossed" clips. So far "A Dog's Breakfast" hasn't been mistaken for a sci-fi movie, so I think we're good, there. The reality is that I knew Stargate audiences were going to be interested in the project so I tried to make a humorous film that would appeal to them. But people outside of the sci-fi world are also enjoying this movie, and it's certainly not exclusively for Stargate fans. If you own a dog you're going to like this as you're in what I call our "Pet-Nerd" audience. That said, the film (and even more so the DVD) certainly has a few giggles that will appeal to those "in the know".

What about the DVD: will there be any extras that you can tell us about?

I can't wait to see the response to the DVD! We've complied a ton of extras that adds a whole new level to the film. We've got a number of "deleted scenes" that are really funny, but just had to go in order keep the running time down. I really miss them, and I'm so glad that now they'll see the light of day. The big seller to me is what Jane has done with the Behind-the-Scenes. Jane Loughman is "A Dog's Breakfast" producer and her background was producing at E! and for Entertaiment Tonight. She's used all those skills to put together a series of mini-documentaries that are so much fun! One of the things that I hate on many DVD's are these repurposed marketing pieces that are dumped on the DVD. You end up having to watch half the film again! We set out from the beginning to have these designed specifically for the DVD and it really shows. This is the kind of DVD that I would buy for the extras!

What do you want your audience to get out of this movie?

I love to make people laugh. I suppose it's the product of being the eldest and only boy in a family of 5 sisters, I'm just desperate for that kind of attention! I made this movie as pure silly entertainment. I wanted to make a new, old-fashioned comedy and I really hope that's how people see it. One of the most rewarding things that happens with "A Dog's Breakfast" is people like it enough to want to quote my own film back to me! That's the kind of response I like to see, because that's how I am about the movies I love.

The big climax, how did you film that?

Very carefully! Jane is such a stickler for detail and she made me re-write that ending section a number of times. She was adamant that there be no "cheats" -- no holes where people could question the timeline and people's motives. When it came to actually shooting it, I was so strapped for time. As it turned out the necessity to jump around with the shots in order to preserve make-up and costumes etc. made it a lot more dynamic than it would have been had I been given all the time I needed. I just wanted a nice spooky reveal that was "tainted" by Patrick's confused and paranoid state-of-mind. I like to think of it as my David Lynch "Murder She Wrote" episode.

What are your favorite movies? What DVDs do you have on your shelf at home?

Wow! There are loads, but here are a few faves, off the top of my head... "A Fish Called Wanda" "Withnail and I" Blake Edward's "The Pink Panther", "A Shot in the Dark" Robert Rodriguez's "El Mariachi", "Desperado", "Sin City" The "Evil Dead" trilogy "Mad Max 2, The Road Warrior" "Garden State" Anything with Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd or Charlie Chaplin in it! "Arsenic and Old Lace" "Sid and Nancy" "Fitzcarraldo" "Blade Runner" Danny Boyle's "Shallow Grave", "28 days later", "Trainspotting", "Millions" "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind" "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Steven Soderbergh's "Out of Sight", "Solaris"... and just about anything he gets up to!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: David Hewlett, Kate Hewlett, Paul McGillion, Christopher Judge
  • Directors: David Hewlett
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: September 18, 2007
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000F5WY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,237 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Dog's Breakfast" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

It's simple, funny, and twisted with quirky characters and great dialogue.
Christin Haws
I found this to be a really funny movie, I love that it was cast with SG actors as well, they did a great job with this.
Kyle Doede
This movie will make you laugh from deep inside, and just give you a good feeling all over.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 66 people found the following review helpful By P. Rosenberg on July 3, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You will be giggling through this whole movie.

David Hewlett has managed to create a film that evokes all the fun about the "old-fashioned" dark comedy. Think "Arsenic and Old Lace" or "A Fish Called Wanda" with a little Peter Sellers and some Fawlty Towers thrown in.

It's a wonderful, family-friendly film about a rather dysfunctional guy who can't even manage to do murder correctly. (The "violence" is all implied, in case you're squeamish like I am.) It not only features a great performance from David himself, but you also throw in his real-life sister Kate Hewlett and his friend Paul McGillion and you get a whole lot of fun. (Look for David's dog Mars to steal several scenes while in the foreground and background.)

You might recognize all of these actors (and much of the listed crew) from the TV shows Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1. If you're a fan of these shows, you'll really enjoy seeing everyone in a very different role. If you're not a Stargate fan or even a sci-fi geek, no worries. This won't really take you there, except for poking a little fun at their other jobs.

"A Dog's Breakfast" is well worth watching as David Hewlett is sure to be a name to watch in the future.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Zerocool on June 22, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Being one of the lucky few to see this film at the time of writing, I am excited for everyone who hasn't seen this. I'm happy that at last that you will be able to see this at home soon.

I can safely say that this film surpassed even my expectations (unsurprisingly high) and it did not disappoint. Given that this is David Hewlett's directing debut (no doubt under the watchful gaze of long time Yoda and chum, Vincenzo Natali among others)Hewlett exhibits a creative flair that marks this film out as distinctively his own. Natali et al were not the crutch for this project that I had feared. Newbie Hewlett seems to have successfully navigated what was probably a mêlée of creative advice well.

David himself does not hide the fact that he has had to beg, borrow and steal resources to get this film made and producer (fiancée) Jane Loughman has done a remarkable job bringing this film to fruition on such a tiny budget. What this man could do given bigger budget doesn't bare thinking about . He does seem to have wet the appetite of (DVD only) distributor MGM who have commissioned a pilot of 'starcrossed' (the spoof sci-fi featured in the film). Lets hope that this relationship continues.

Hewlett demonstrates a witty, style of expression and originality unusual for a first time director. An entertainment focused screenplay, it has no pretensions and does not take itself too seriously. It doesn't make too many demands on the audience but it doesn't require you to leave your brain at the door either, a perfect balance. The film is a real testament to the director's ingenuity and understanding of his medium. I would like to see him in the future try out some different genres.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shopper on June 25, 2007
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Many more reviews can be found when you look at the DVD version of this film.
A Dog's Breakfast
Basically, it's a hysterical comedy with lots of Python-esque humor. Paul McGillion really shows his range in this one, and of course the Hewlett 'team' (brother David and sister Kate) play well off each other. Looking forward to sharing this one with both friends and kids in my family!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Shearer on June 22, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've been lucky enough to see a number of screening of this movie, and am really looking forward to it coming out on DVD. I can honestly say that it is one the funniest movies I've ever seen. The main cast is brilliant, and Kate Hewlett is not only a wonderful actress, she's wickedly funny in her role as Marilyn. This movie is pretty family safe, and we took our children, ages 8 and 13, to see it as well. Both of them laughed through the entire thing, though of course some of the humour went over their heads. For a movie made on a very small, very tight budget, I found it more appealing them some of the resent Hollywood mega-films. This is a movie I will most certainly buy, and one that I have been recommending to friends and family. If you like your comedy with a dark bite to it, then this is the film for you.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By F. Gregori on June 23, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's hard to review a movie like this without giving anything away, and I don't want to write any spoilers. So to start, I recommend everyone tries to see it.

One can already see how hilarious it is by the trailer and the few clips on the show, but let me tell you... it gets even BETTER!!

The acting is great, but if you're a fan of the Stargates, then you already know that. And Kate Hewlett, the female star, has theatrical experience, and I guess good acting is genetic in the Hewlett family. Along with the sense of humor. The sibling rivalry in the movie is great to see, and even funnier knowing that David and Kate actually are brother and sister. I can't even comment on Paul McGillion, 'cause I'd be giving away stuff, but let me pause for a second and giggle madly!! *ROFLMAO* OK, back. The other roles were fairly short, all the actors were great, and I personally hope that we'll get to see "Starcrossed" - the space opera in the movie that is to become a real TV-show soon, so we can see what Paul and Rachel can do in a comedic role (and even if that's not the direction it will take, and even if Paul and Rachel weren't in it, I'd still want to see it. It was so cheesy it was hilarious!!). A special mention goes to Mars, the poster-dog for the movie. Handsome, very natural, and apparently all he asked to do his job was a little doggie biscuit from his friends!

Again, it's hard to say more without giving bits away, and every little clip from the movie is worth watching without knowing what will happen... even though the second time you watch the movie (personal experience), you'll enjoy it even more.
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Topic From this Discussion
There is some really great "making the movie" extras...good stuff from and about the cast...David, Jane, and John (the movie's star, writers, director, and producers) give commentary throughout and it is very funny, and honestly interesting. And, I NEVER listen to commentary as it... Read More
Oct 23, 2007 by April Jennings |  See all 2 posts
film rating
I would say PG...there is no swearing, and the "violence" is more slapstick than truly scary. There is some nudity (David's lovely bum), definitely implied murder, and alot of "screaming". But it is all very funny. I think the only disturbing thing for me was that David... Read More
Oct 23, 2007 by April Jennings |  See all 3 posts
Closed Captioning/Subtit...
The DVD has captioning in English, French and Spanish.
Sep 14, 2007 by E. Chennell |  See all 2 posts
Mass Hallucination or Sock Puppetry?
To each his or her own, but why the obnoxiousness towards the reviewers? Are they not allowed to give a favorable review? And how about some constructive criticism rather than putting the film (and the people involved, including the fans) down?
Apr 30, 2008 by J. |  See all 14 posts
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