Film, theatre, television and commercial actor Matt Shevin, whose credits include starring in the 2020 Lifetime TV movie “Her Secret Family Killer” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” has kept busy during the COVID-19 quarantine by co-starring opposite his 8-year-old Blue Nose Pit Bull, Ricky.
So far, Matt has shot 68 videos, recreating iconic movie scenes from films ranging from “The Hunger Games” and “The Hangover” to “The Graduate” and “Psycho.”
He calls this endeavor “Inside the Actor’s Quarantined Apartment,” gives major credit to Ricky for the project’s success, and believes that this compilation of videos with a dog and human team acting out so many different movie scenes is something that hasn’t been done before.
Ricky and me:
So, how did this dog and human acting duo first team up? The human half of the team relates that he wanted to get a pit bull due to having an affinity for them and having had one in the past.
However, as a puppy, Ricky was in pretty bad shape. In addition to being dirty and the victim of a spraying skunk, he also badly needed to put on weight.
Shevin saw to the care, obedience training and feeding of his newly adopted four-legged friend, who, nowadays, sports silver fur so glossy it almost appears polished and weighs in at a very healthy 96 pounds.
While raising Ricky and working as an actor and writer, Shevin also started a blog, https://insidetheactorsstudioapartment.blogspot.com/.
When the COVID quarantine hit, the actor, who lives in Los Angeles, California, had an interest in making a video to keep busy. His friend suggested the idea of recreating iconic movie scenes.
The first scene, from “Casino,” was shot in March.
Once the creative juices were flowing, things moved quickly, with two or three videos being made per day on some days and almost 70 videos being created over just a few months.
Ready for his closeup:
The puppy kindergarten and follow-up training over the years that Shevin did to help Ricky grow into a well-mannered dog seems to have paid unexpected dividends, as Shevin found that his furry co-star took direction really well.
“He’s proof that you actually can teach an old dog new tricks,” Shevin says. “I’ve got him wearing wardrobe and wigs, and he’s reacting on camera in ways that amaze me. I’ve become a Hollywood dad.”
As for some of Ricky’s best unexpected reactions on camera, there are many, according to Shevin. A favorite includes the “Caddyshack” scene in which Ricky slightly cocks his head to the side while listening to the dialog and actually appears insulted by the comments being made about the hat he is wearing.
Another surprise from Ricky came when he lied down as if on cue after being “shot” at with a toy gun in a scene from “Unforgiven.” Although the hard-working canine actor might simply have been ready for a nap, the timing was perfect.
An overall favorite scene recreation of Shevin’s is from “Forrest Gump.” In this montage, Ricky plays Forrest listening to an overwhelming array of possible shrimp dishes.
“I feel like sometimes he knows he’s on camera,” Shevin says, adding that, regardless, Ricky (who likes to stand outside and greet people and even has “regulars” who bring him treats) enjoys the attention.
Production and publicity:
Because the idea is that the scenes are made at home during quarantine, they are definitely not meant to be technically accurate recreations, but, rather, humorous spoofs of classics and blockbusters. Shevin says sometimes the makeshift props that have obviously been found or created at home deliberately add to the “quarantine” motif. Inasmuch as finding the funny beyond the props and his dog’s natural reactions, he says he will usually think of a movie and then kind of let it “marinate” it for a while until he decides how to approach it.
While humorous in nature, the videos have been good practice too, not just for acting, “but with the technical aspects, including lighting and shooting,” notes Shevin, who has also appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
He adds that another upside is that the project may help create some good publicity for pit bulls.
Dog days of summer, and coming up on “Inside the Actor’s Quarantined Apartment”…
The human/canine acting duo are currently taking a hiatus to enjoy the beach, but Shevin plans to return in front of the camera with Ricky and keeps a list of movies from which he wants to take a crack at recreating scenes.
Some projects that could be in the works for the future? “127 Hours,” “Captain Phillips,” “Iron Man,” or “Edge of Tomorrow” are all on the list, according to Shevin.
How to find the videos:
Below are two: One is their recreation of a scene from the movie “Big,” and, in the other Ricky shows off his drawing talent in a scene from the “Titanic.”
The rest of the videos can be viewed at the following link: https://vimeo.com/channels/quarantinedactor