Filmmaker James Gunn’s love for dogs unintentionally sabotaged filming for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Gunn was unable to resist playing with the dog actor, Slate, who played Cosmo the Space Dog, between takes. This caused Slate to become excited and distracted, making it difficult for him to focus on shooting scenes. However, Slate’s presence on set provided valuable reference material for visual effects and helped adjust lighting for the character of Cosmo.
Gunn is known for befriending the actors he works with and often recasts actors he has enjoyed working with in the past. In the case of Slate, his tactic backfired as his interactions with the dog actor caused filming delays. Stephane Ceretti, a visual effects production supervisor, explained that Gunn’s love for dogs led him to play with Slate during breaks, resulting in the dog losing focus when shooting was set to resume.
Despite Slate’s inability to be used for shooting, he still appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as the physical model for Cosmo the Space Dog. Oscar-nominated actor Maria Bakalova provided the voice for Cosmo and also acted as the physical stand-in for the character, with Slate being used to adjust the lighting to match the presence of a real dog on the screen.
Ceretti’s work with Slate primarily revolved around using him as a reference for visual effects. Slate’s involvement showcases the evolution of the character of Cosmo throughout the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. Cosmo first appeared in the original movie as a cameo by dog actor Fred. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the character’s gender was changed and Bakalova was cast to bring the character to life with VFX, emphasizing emotion.
Both Gunn and Bakalova were enamored with Slate, with Bakalova describing him as the movie’s “very friendly on-set mascot.” Despite her positive experience with Slate, Gunn’s love for dogs ultimately prevented Slate from appearing on-screen in person.
In conclusion, James Gunn’s love for dogs inadvertently caused filming disruptions during Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. However, Slate’s presence on set served as valuable reference material for visual effects and lighting, contributing to the portrayal of the character Cosmo the Space Dog.