Keanu

Two friends infiltrate a street gang in order to retrieve their pet kitten.   
  • Starring: Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key
  • Director(s): Peter Atencio
  • Producer(s): Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Peter Principato
  • Screenwriter(s): Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens
  • Distributor: Warner Brothers
  • Animal Coordinator: Birds and Animals Unlimited
  • Release Date: Friday, April 29, 2016
  • Rating: Acceptable

Featured Animal Action

Throughout the film, the main characters have a pet kitten, who is seen performing such mild action as sitting/standing/lying, being held or petted, and walking/running. For all of these scenes, trainers used hand signals and verbal commands to cue the mild action. 

Production used several kittens to play Keanu. They were all well trained. 

In the scenes where people are shooting at each other, the squibs used for gunfire were muffled by baking soda. The squibs were ignited after the cat ran past it. AHA reps and Trainers watched a video of where the squibs would be placed before filming. The AHA Reps were completely cognizant of the squibs and they’re placement and the cat’s trajectory prior to filming. Everything went without a hitch. 

In the scene where the cat runs out of the church, a trainer was off camera calling the cat to him. The cat ran a basic A to B trajectory to the trainer. This was also the case in the various scenes where we see the kitten walk near the LA river, down a sidewalk, through a park. Sets were closed to traffic and the public. The freeway overpass had a chain link fence which provided a protective barrier for the cat. For each A to B trajectory, the kitten was rewarded with food. 

In the scene where the man opens the door and sees a kitten and he picks it up, trainers placed the cat on the doorstep and petted him just before the door opens. The actor was also shown how to handle the kitten prior to filming. 

In the scene where the man looks at a calendar where we see the kitten in different photos, wearing different clothes, etc, we were on set for the photo shoot and made sure everything went well. 

In the dream sequence when the man sits on the stand, the man holds the kitten and talks to him, the trainer was off-camera. In the scene where the gangster holds the kitten and the kitten has a hat on his head, the hat was made by production and designed to fit over the kitten’s head. 

In the scene where the cat unties ropes and frees the actors from being tied to the chairs, the actors held small buzzers that made a light sound which piqued the kitten’s attention. On action, when the kitten walks around the tied hands, the actors clicked the buzz button and the kitten returned to the tied hands. 

In the scene where they throw the actor in the trunk with the large snake, the trainers brought the snake to the set in a crate. Just before filming, they placed the snake on the actor lying down. The actor was prepped on how to behave around the snake prior to filming. 

In all of the scenes where we see actors holding the kitten, all of those actors were prepped on how to hold the kitten. For all these scenes the trainers brought the working kittens in carriers and placed them inside an air conditioned house while they weren’t working. 

During the gunfight when we see the kitten running away from all the actors shooting each other, trainers called the kitten or cued the kitten to run from A to B. 

In the scene where we see the actor do a back flip while holding the kitten, this was actually accomplished by a stuntman. The stuntman actually ran up a wall and did the backflip holding the kitten. Everything went very well. 

In the scene where we see the kitten on the hood of the car while the car is speeding down the street, this scene was filmed on greenscreen. The kittens were simply placed on a model of a hood of a car and they filmed this action, then placed that action in front of a greenscreen of a street. 

Likewise, in the scene where the kitten jumps in the air and flies into the face of the antagonist, a good portion of this scene was filmed on set in front of a green screen to capture the cat jumping in the air.  

Due to limited resources, American Humane Association did not monitor some of the kitten action.