Netflix’s Man vs. Bee signals Rowan Atkinson’s return to our screens after the comedy legend made a name for himself in the likes of Blackadder, Johnny English and Mister Bean.
While the 67-year-old actor may be the star attraction of Man vs. Bee, the show is arguably stolen by Rowan Atkinson’s canine co-star Cupcake the dog.
The stage-stealing pooch has captured the hearts of many fans, but what do we know about Cupcake? What breed of dog is he and what was the filming process for Man vs Bee like?
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Cupcake’s antics in Man vs Bee
Man vs Bee took off on Netflix on Friday, June 24, 2022 and while the series may star Rowan Atkinson, it’s Cupcake the dog that steals the show.
The mischievous dog is quick to cause trouble when he manages to force his way into the house library where he begins to jump on furniture and rips out several pages from a priceless illuminated manuscript.
As the episodes progress, Cupcake has a run-in with the neighbor’s cat before biting Trevor’s butt, causing the hapless housekeeper to fall face-first into some of Cupcake’s poop.
It’s not all the fun and games for the pooch, though, as one of Trevor’s efforts to stop the invading bee sees him fumigate Cupcake by mistake (the real dog wasn’t used for this scene ) which leads to a very awkward video call with the dog’s owner, Nina.
What race is Cupcake in Man vs. Bee?
In Man vs. Bee, Cupcake is played by a collie-poodle cross named Pixel.
According to a Netflix press release, the six-year-old collie poodle was provided by Gerry and Cathy Cott of AZ Animals who train animals for all sorts of filming projects, from commercials and TV shows to feature films.
Prior to filming, Pixel and her owner-trainer, Rosie Ison, spent 12 weeks of pre-production practicing the various stunts required, using storyboards to map out the various tasks she would be expected to perform.
“We considered over two dozen candidates, but in the end we only offered Pixel a casting tape showing that she was performing a few of the tasks they needed,” Gerry Cott explained. “The secret is to cast a dog whose temperament and character is as close as possible to the dog character that is written, and also a dog capable of the kind of precision Rowan needed.”
“Pixel is playful, full of energy and very focused on her toys, with endless enthusiasm for games and great emotional intelligence,” Gerry continued. “Cupcake’s on-screen actions are all completely normal canine behavior, just with the volume turned up to 11 – his boundless energy and, dare I say, ruthless enthusiasm are evident from the start. My biggest challenge was simply keeping up with her!
Rowan Atkinson talks about his work with Cupcake
Speaking to the British Comedy Guide ahead of Man vs Bee’s arrival, Rowan Atkinson explained what it was like to share his scenes with Cupcake and detailed the filming process involved.
“The dog was delicate, as dogs often are: very well behaved, very kind,” the actor said. “But, I guess it has to do with the very rigorous, very repetitive training that dogs have to go through to do the amazing things that they do: they are easily put off.”
“All of a sudden there was a loud bang, or someone walks in the wrong direction or something. And then suddenly, for two hours, we cannot shoot with them, he explained. “You think, ‘we’re supposed to shoot the dog for these two hours, what else can we shoot?’ and suddenly, the shooting schedule goes out the window. So it was sometimes tricky.
Man vs Bee is available to stream now on Netflix after its release on June 24, 2022.
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