‘Paws Unite!’ proved to be fun work for Max Greenfield

Rick's Reviews

“The Neighborhood’s” Max Greenfield (right) is a voice talent in “Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite!” (Photo courtesy of CBS)

(KGET) — Max Greenfield’s career has gone to the dogs and he couldn’t be happier. The star of the CBS comedy series “The Neighborhood” provides the voice for Roger, a dog, in the live-action animated film “Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite!” scheduled to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Oct. 13. If you can’t wait to see how Greenfield speaks for the canine, the movie is available now on various digital platforms.

This is not the first voice work for the actor who along with his current series is best known for his work on “New Girl.” But, past voice work for him was along the more traditional lines with “Ice Age Collision Course,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “All Hail King Julian” and “Bojack Horseman.”

“I was really excited to do the voice for a live-action dog,” Greenfield says in a telephone interview a day before returning to work on the new season of “The Neighborhood.” “I was really excited to see what the dog looked like.

“Before they showed me the picture of the actual dog I was ‘What if I don’t like it? What if it’s the wrong breed? I am more of a collie guy’.”

There was also the matter of Greenfield’s childhood where his family had a dog that he describes as “not being very nice and was not very playful.” Greenfield laughs and explains he’s not really sure why the dog was so mean except there might have been some jealousy. His parents had the dog before Greenfield was born.

That experience didn’t sour Greenfield on dogs. At the constant request of his daughter, Greenfield recently contacted a Los Angeles dog rescue organization. They ended up bringing home a 6-year-old pit bull named Joey.

Not only was Greenfield happy with the breed of dog for which he speaks but he also was equally happy for the final product. “Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite!” picks up 10 years after the creation of the Great Truce, an elaborate joint-species surveillance system designed and monitored by cats and dogs to keep the peace when conflicts arise. That changes when a tech-savvy villain hacks into wireless networks to use frequencies only heard by cats and dogs to manipulate them into conflict.

The fact someone thought Greenfield had the perfect dog voice was flattering to him.

“I loved the other movies in the series and when they called about it, I jumped at it because it sounded incredible,” Greenfield.

Any kind of animation takes time to complete. Greenfield was able to work on his CBS series while doing the film project because the majority of the recording of his lines was done in one session. There were plans for the cast to do more recording sessions but the pandemic hit. That meant the remainder of Greenfield’s lines had to be recorded from his home.

Greenfield has bounced between live-action roles and voice work since he made his television acting debut in 1999 with the series “Undressed.” He enjoys both but there’s one part of voice work that he doesn’t like.

“The interesting thing – and this has been the experience with everything I have done in animation – is that you are 99% of the time never in the room with the other actors,” Greenfield says. “You are doing the lines with a director who is confident they will put it all together.

“But, it is an odd experience but a fun one. When you are working with a bunch of people, that’s more along the lines of why you originally wanted to be an actor.”

Greenfield was excited about being able to return to work on “The Neighborhood” where he plays the ever happy Dave Johnson who with his wife (Beth Behrs) move into a part of Los Angeles where the ethnic makeup is very different from the Johnsons. The show has found comedy and drama in stories of how very different people learn they are not all that different.

The New York native is very proud of working on the series that also stars Cedric the Entertainer, Tichina Arnold, Marcel Spears and Sheaun McKinney.

“As much as we deal with issues – on a bigger picture level – just the representation that our show includes is probably the most important thing we do,” Greenfield says. 

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