An old showbiz adage says not to work with children or animals, yet the film had a bit of a menagerie of creatures. Boone’s Animals for Hollywood collaborated with the filmmakers to make all the animal scenes work effortlessly. The main creature is a parrot that lives with Henry. The bird serves as a catalyst for a story point when Kate learns she can affect animals -- including a climatic scene of a mad dash to the airport with Henry and a talking parrot channeled by Kate. Two parrots were trained to squawk on cue for mouth movements, to throw bird seed and give a number of reactions.
“It was weird working with a parrot, but all the animals were great,” says Rudd. “The trainer was just off camera for a scene in the living room when the parrot suddenly starts talking to me. The bird got a particular cue to flap its wings, hide its beak under a wing or throw bird seed, and on every take the bird had it down. Judging from its repetitive squawk, my guess would be it had studied Meisner technique!”
Cats and dogs were also used in the veterinarian office scenes, including Lake Bell’s very own Margaret Bell, a blue nose Staffordshire Bull Terrier that she rescued and adopted. She makes her feature film debut as the dog with the “itchy ass” visiting the vet’s office. “I was a very proud mama that day,” notes Bell.