Antilly, the German Shepherd who shared the screen with comedian and actor Ricky Gervais in After Life, is adding plenty of screen credits to her CV since the show.
She won the hearts of TV viewers worldwide as Ricky Gervais’ loyal dog in Netflix smash After Life.
And thanks to her role as Brandy, the pup who gives Ricky’s character Tony Johnson a reason to live after his wife’s death, Antilly’s career is booming.
The German Shepherd has been to Belfast to shoot scenes with Hollywood stars Chris Pine and Michelle Rodriguez for a blockbuster Dungeons And Dragons film.
And she’s starring in upcoming BBC drama Sherwood with David Morrissey and Robert Glenister as well as Netflix spy series Treason with Charlie Cox and Olga Kurylenko.
Antilly has graced screens since she was a puppy, playing everything from Army hounds to police dogs.
She’s also worked with A-listers including Tom Cruise and George Clooney, who said she was the best-trained dog he’d seen.
Antilly’s owner Ashley Foster jokes: “They bring us over to do the serious acting.”
Ashley started as an animal trainer 10 years ago and worked on Batman flick The Dark Knight Rises with Antilly’s parents – he was one of villain Bane’s henchmen with the dogs playing attack hounds.
Antilly followed in her parents’ pawprints and signed with Stunt Dogs & Animals. The company was working on a film with Michael Fassbender and wanted a police dog to bite him – one of Antilly’s many skills.
Using protective sleeves, Ashley, 34, safely directs the clever canine where to bite. He says: “She’s very controlled. As soon as the director calls cut and I tell her to let go, she lets go straightaway.”
Antilly’s skills are so honed, she even managed to convince a scared stuntman on Martin Clunes’ series Doc Martin to do a dog bite scene.
Ashley, from Bicester, Oxon, says: “He’d done one before, they’d used two ex-police dogs and they couldn’t get the dogs off him. I had to show how she works for him to agree to do it.”
The talented pooch, 10, has a wide range of tricks from shaking her head and limping on command to playing dead. All she needs is the reward of a sausage and Ashley stands off-camera, tempting her with his telescopic bait stick.
“She’ll lie there, completely still,” he says. “People could be crying and wailing over her and she won’t move. Every time she does something she will get paid with a sausage.”
Ashley often appears alongside Antilly and after receiving the script, they do lots of prep work to make sure she is happy.
Ashley adds: “For After Life there wasn’t really much to prepare for. It was straightforward.”
When they’re not filming scenes, he uses the time to work on training.
He also brings other dogs with him to train, including German Shepherd pup Pen, who has already worked as a police dog in TV shows and will eventually take over from Antilly.
For now, though, she is continuing her film work. Ashley says: “She’s still super fit, healthy and happy and loves to work.”
Ashley and Antilly are backing a new challenge from charity Street Paws, encouraging Brits to walk 274,000 steps in April for every homeless person in England.
Founded in Newcastle in 2016, Street Paws provides free accessible vet care and support services to homeless people and their pets.
Ashley says: “The work they do can save people. I’ve known people who are struggling to find housing and have got a dog and are really worried about not being able to find somewhere to live with them.”
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