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New Teaser Poster for Baker's Festival Favorite 'Starlet' & The Story Behind Dree Hemingway's Co-Star [Exclusive]

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood October 10, 2012 at 1:58PM

Check out this new teaser poster for Sean Baker's "Starlet." While the first poster, which we debuted here, featured sun-soaked star Dree Hemingway (one of Variety's Actors to Watch), the second capitalizes on her legs and the film's titular character, Starlet...
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Starlet teaser poster crop

Check out this new teaser poster for Sean Baker's "Starlet." While the first poster, which we debuted here, featured sun-soaked star Dree Hemingway (one of Variety's Actors to Watch), the second capitalizes on her legs and the film's titular character, Starlet. The film, which arrives in theaters November 9, recently won the critics' FIPRESCI prize at the Reykjavik Film Festival and the Junior Jury's First Prize at Locarno. It debuted at SXSW (where Besedka Johnson won a Special Jury Prize for her performance) and has a busy festival slate ahead, including the Hawaii Int'l Film Festival, AFI Fest, BFI London, Warsaw, Viennale, Chicago and Thessaliniki. Starlet (played by Boondock), has his own movie-worthy story, which you can read below, courtesy of the director.

Don't let the candy-colored poster or Boondock's face decieve you; "Starlet" is for grown-ups. Our interview with Baker is here.

Starlet teaser poster

Boonee, whose proper name is Boondock, battled numerous hardships and overcame many obstacles in his short life before landing the role as the title character in Sean Baker's "Starlet."  A DNA test states he is less than 5% of any one breed and had to grow up facing issues of identity and cultural acceptance.

boonee
Courtesy of Sean Baker

Abandoned by his family at a mere seven weeks old, Boonee was found wandering the rough streets of Los Angeles and wound up in an animal orphanage where he was then adopted to be given as a gift to Sean Baker.

Baker initially rejected Boonee thinking the gift-giver was rude for giving a living creature as a gift. To make matters worse, as a joke, Baker named Boonee after a god-awful B-movie entitled 'The Boondock Saints.' He did this sarcastically because the rude gift-giver actually thought 'Saints' to be good.

As time passed, Baker came to see that Boonee was one special canine worth his attention.  He then reneged on his decision to give up the animal.  Unfortunately for Sean, he was stuck with a dog named after a god-awful B-movie. When pre-production began on "Starlet," Baker approached Boonee to gauge his interest in tackling the complex role of Starlet.

One could view his casting as nepotism, however, Sean subjected Boonee to a rigorous audition process which included Skype calls with Dree Hemingway and hanging out with adult film stars.  The little mutt came very prepared for the role, having graduated at the top of his class in both Obedience at the Urban Pet Academy in Los Angeles and Tricks 101 at the Andrea Arden Dog Training Academy in New York City.

Boonee enjoyed his lead role debut and tweets about it regularly @TheRealBoonee on Twitter.  He currently lives in Los Angeles and is planning on becoming a therapy dog.

This article is related to: Starlet, Sean Baker, First Look, Festivals


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.