Pittsburgh Rat Lovers Club has a real bona fide Hollywood star now – Jumbolaya, owned by Lindsay and Joe, is the littlest star of “My Bloody Valentine 3D”. a remake of the 1981 cult classic horror film.
-May 15, 2008 Lindsay and Joe were contacted by an animal talent agent who needed a trained rat to appear in a major Hollywood production, filming on location here in Pittsburgh!
-Director Patrick Lussier requested celebrity photos of a trained black or gray rat to be emailed to him for consideration! We complied, sending photos of Jumby and his stunt double, Cajun.
-Monday brought a phone call from the talent agent to be prepared to shoot on location in Fawn Township on Tuesday night (all night)
-Tuesday we rushed home from work, did as much rat work as possible, packed up Jumbolaya and rushed out to the shoot in an old abandoned house, located near Tarentum PA.
-We found a BIG production underway, three sites ( crew lot, base camp and spooky abandoned house in the woods, lots of police, road control, semi tractor trailers, 200 production members, stars, sound people, lighting people, full catering service, etc
-We arrived at 8PM at base camp
-We waited, they fed us, waited, and then at 10:30 PM the director Patrick Lussier wanted to see the rats on location at the house.
-He loved Jumbolaya ( told us that his son had a rat named Jewel) and asked us to hang around, they might get to our scene that night.
-We waited until 12:30 AM, were told they wouldn't get to our scene, please report back to location Wed night 8 PM
-We rushed home, finished feeds and meds, bed at 2 AM, up at 5:30,.rushed off to work
-Wednesday, we left work at 4 PM, rushed home, did as much rat work as possible, packed up the rats etc and rushed up to movie location
-We waited at base camp till 9 PM, were asked to come up to the old house location for shooting
-We waited up at the spooky abandoned house (cool, cool lighting, - millions of dollars of equipment) until midnight, under a tent, watching takes and retakes of scenes on monitors with actors etc - then, we were called into the house to do the scene
-We were crammed into the living room, with an old mattress on the floor, a heart shaped valentine candy box with Joe’s custom made carob candies (didn’t want Jumby to eat lots of chocolate), and a valentine -
-Director Patrick Lussier, two 3D cameras two camera men, lights, microphones and sound engineers (they were recording sound too), assistant directors, etc etc and me and Jumbolaya were all crammed into the room
-There was a fog machine making fog to give a spooky atmosphere
-I was directed to place Jumby on the heart shaped candy box lid, have him stay there for 1 minute, then turn and trot out of the scene
-PERFECT TAKE! The director was jubilant! The joke around the set was, Jumbolaya was upstaging the human actors, he knew his lines better than the actors, etc etc
-Director Patrick Lussier was so pleased he wanted more takes – we did 6 in all, and Jumby was picture perfect each time.
-Patrick was so pleased that he rewrote the script to try to film the scene in a different way, and asked us to hang around to shoot that scene
-We waited in the cold pouring rain under a tent, they fed us (really good food catered) and we watched other scenes being shot
-We were called back in at 3 am to shoot another scene
-Jumby was perfect in another 6 takes! He was supposed to sit on the candy and eat something ( we gave him a Cinnamon Teddy Graham, he did the scene perfectly - sat and ate, and then the leading actor (Jensen Ackles who is currently starring in “Supernatural” on TV) came in, knelt down, shooed Jumby off the candy, and picked up the valentine - which Jumby had peed on!! Rat pee was running down Jensen’s hand as he read the valentine - he just motored on, no problem - director yelled "cut" and Jensen laughed, "Jumby peed all over the valentine"! Everyone got a big tickle out of that one. Jensen calmly wiped the valentine and his hand off, then did 4 more takes.
-Jumby by that time was famous – the whole cast and crew were in love with him! As we walked out of the house, the cast and crew were shouting "here comes Jumbolaya" - joking about getting him his own little directors chair, he should show up in a limo, he should get paid more than the stars, etc -
-Patrick Lussier was so pleased, he told us he was thinking about rewriting more takes for Jumby, and they would call us and let us know - possibly shooting next Tuesday again!
-We were called back on Tuesday, and Jumby did 6 more takes with a hand held 3D camera and a flashlight – spookier yet!
-We met the stars, sat and talked with them. Jaime King, lead actress, Jensen Ackles lead actor, and a famous stunt man who played the murderer, who must remain un-named until the movie is released by request of the producer). Jensen really liked Jumbolaya and called him "my little buddy".
-Jumby is a STAR.
-They would not let us photograph Jumby on the set at work, but allowed us to photograph the Valentine candy box on the mattress where Jumby did his work (see photos in the file). The full color photo of Jumby on the candy box was set up by Joe and myself, with a professional photographer, so he could have signed celebrity photos to pass out! I duplicated the valentine used in the movie, and Mrs. Anderson of Anderson’ s Candies found a duplicate of the candy box in her vast warehouse of boxes, and gave it to us!
I now own a rat who has a talent agent – unbelievable!
I have attached some info on the director, and some photos of the two stars who thought Jumby was so cute (Jensen Ackles is, indeed, drop dead handsome - and very nice in addition!)
I have also attached some photos that we took of the house, and of the base camp (to give you an idea of the huge production).
The movie is now set to premier January 16th 2009, although that date may change, and it may not premier on exactly that date in each city.
In Pittsburgh, we would love to have as many Club members as possible get together with us to go see the movie, and when Jumby appears on screen, we are going to give him applause and a rousing cheer!
We are so proud of our little rattie boy!
Lindsay and Joe
President and Vice President, Pittsburgh Rat Lovers Club