'Anatomy of a Fall' How to Train a Dog for Two Months and Play Dead?

Of course, Sandra Hüller was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in „Anatomy of a Fall,” and the film itself won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. But Messi the border collie really gets tongues and tails wagging following his film festival debut, winning the Palme d'Or for his portrayal of Snoop, a visually impaired tween (Milo Machado Graner) accused of murdering his mother, Seva Hüller.

Snoop plays a key role in her defense, but the canine artist who portrays him doesn't let his moment of attention go to his fluffy head. According to owner Laura Martin Contini, his greatest joy is simple: playing with his ball. „Ball is his holy grail,” he says.

Messi already knows how to play Dead – a talented director Justin Triet and his team need their canine actor. „What we have to work on as a whole is how to carry him and how we can keep him in this play that's passive,” Contini says. „It's something I've added over time by working out every day. It started on the bed, and how much disturbance this dog can withstand while still being relaxed.

Being a movie dog, Messi is used to the cameras, but his owner trained him to withstand the screams that run into the rooms. „Most of the preparation two months ago was very intense,” recalls Contini, who watched a lot of videos about service dog training for blind children in preparation for Messi's role.

The four-legged actor had ample time to bond with his two-legged co-star. „I met Messi several times in the months leading up to the shoot,” says Greiner. „We both trained separately and I must say he can simulate sloth very well.”

Messi in 'Anatomy of a Fall'

During a crucial scene, Snoop is catatonic and has a sore tongue after being drugged. Contini noticed his tongue looking that way after a vigorous game with his beloved ball and immediately knew it would be perfect for the scene.

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„I'm a little afraid that he's going to be typecast in roles where he's supposed to die,” Contini says. „These are the roles to play now.”

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