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Canine-friendly casting news: Owen Wilson as comic-strip star 'Marmaduke,' Wilmer Valderrama as 'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan

November 3, 2009 |  5:27 pm

OwenwilsonWilmervalderrama

What's hot in Hollywood?  Well, beyond just the vampire trend that, erm, will not die, we've noticed a definite surge in pet-related media lately.  (Evidence?  Look no further than the Fido Film Awards, in which animal-focused movies compete in categories like "historical hound," "rom-com rover" and "comedy canine.")

Even with that in the back of our minds, we were surprised by two recent bits of animal-themed-project casting: Owen Wilson (whose previous credits include another dog movie, "Marley & Me") as the voice of Great Dane Marmaduke in a film adaptation of the ages-old comic strip?  Former "That '70s Show" star and onetime Lindsay Lohan paramour Wilmer Valderrama as an animal trainer modeled on "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan in a forthcoming Fox TV series?  What gives, Hollywood?

The "Marmaduke" adaptation, from Fox and New Regency, "sees Marmaduke navigate a volatile Mutts vs. Pedigrees turf war, woo the purebred of his dreams and overcome a fall from grace" and will combine live-action and computer-generated graphics, according to the Hollywood Reporter.  Entertainment Weekly's Pop Watch blog appeals to Wilson directly when it pleads, "Marley & Me was fun, if a little trite, but another 'fun' dog-centric movie sort of puts you in a box you might not want to be in. Branch out, voice a cat or a chimp or an animated race car, for pete's sake." 

The actor, it seems, has opted not to heed EW's warning.  (The cast also features William H. Macy, Jeremy Piven and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie.)

Variety recently reported that the details of the comedy series based on the "Dog Whisperer" are "still being ironed out," but Valderrama is expected to star as the Millan-inspired dog trainer character.  (Fox, Variety notes, also operates the National Geographic channel, which airs Millan's own "Dog Whisperer" series.)

RELATED:
'Twilight' actress Rachelle Lefevre films PSA for Best Friends Animal Society
In wake of Tweet the giraffe's death, PETA calls on Adam Sandler to forgo the use of animal actors
Does 'Marley & Me' teach irresponsible pet ownership?

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo, left: Owen Wilson in "Drillbit Taylor."  Credit: Suzanne Hanover / Paramount Pictures.  Photo, right: Wilmer Valderrama.  Credit: Los Angeles Times

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