My 6-year-old nephew J has always been a bit afraid of Pablo. I could never understand why. I already had my pug by the time J was born, and his older sister M has never been perturbed by Pablo’s antics. I got a clue when J was about 3 or 4 and old enough to express his fears. “Pablo’s an alien,” he’d tell me. “He’s got three eyes.” This became his mantra whenever he saw the dog. Three eyes? Who knows what he means by that. But the alien bit? He wouldn’t be the first Earthling to see the ET resemblance in pugs.
Barry Sonnenfeld, the director of Men in Black I and II, certainly did, which brings us to our next pug-featured movie. I remember watching the first Men in Black in the movie theater, dragged there against my will because as a rule I don’t like Hollywood blockbusters. This was 1997 and I was pugless, the wrinkly-face snufflers not yet on my radar. That was soon to change. Sitting in the theater and eating my popcorn, I quickly fell under the movie’s spell. Then came the scene where Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones—don’t you think he looks a bit like a pug?) and Agent Jay (Will Smith) approach a kiosk which holds a strange-looking man and a pug. Agent Jay takes one look at the man and says that he’s in the worst disguise he’s ever seen. At that the pug pipes up, “If you don’t like it, you can kiss my furry little butt.” The dog, Frank, is really an alien in pug disguise. Watch.
Frank has a much bigger role in MIB II, becoming Agent Jay’s partner Agent F. Even with a pug in a major part, I have to admit I prefer the original. The second movie does have Frank singing the disco lover’s favorite “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. Take a peek.
Frank was played by the talented canine Mushua and his voice provided by actor and puppeteer Tim Blaney. In the beginning Frank was supposed to have a posh English accent. Thank goodness the filmmakers wisely decided to go with a classic NY voice.
MIB III is due out in theaters in May of 2012. And it will be in 3D. Will Frank the pug make an appearance? Stay tuned.