By Bryan Alexander
From: USA TODAY
The loss of a childhood pet inspired the story of Frankenweeniefor director Tim Burton, but he was far from alone in that experience. The film’s vocal talent shared their stories with USA TODAY:
Atticus Shaffer (voice of Edgar E. Gore). During the Frankenweenie production, he lost his Labrador-shepherd mix, Aslan, named after the great lion in C.S. Lewis’ stories. The dog suddenly developed epilepsy at age 6 and died of a seizure.
Shaffer, now 14 and the star of ABC’s The Middle, says, “He was our great protector. It was really tough for me and my mom. It definitely made this movie hit close to home.”
A promoter of animal adoption, Shaffer now has two dogs, a rabbit and five cats (along with the chickens that Aslan used to protect in the family’s coop). But he’d still love the chance to bring Aslan back, just as Victor Frankenstein does with his dog in the movie.
“He had such a good heart and such a good soul. I would love to smell his fur — that was my favorite thing about him — and have that comfort again.”
Martin Landau (Mr. Rzykruski). Even at 84, Landau says he still speaks fondly of his first dog love, a wire-haired fox terrier called Prince, who had a distinct heart-shaped mark on his back.
“He was pretty spunky when I first got him, and he aged quickly, perhaps he was a bit of a hand-me-down. I didn’t understand it and I really loved him. It’s such a loss to lose a pet that you love. Animals become such a part of your life when you are a kid. They are such loyal companions. Kids can be mean to each other, but a dog is never mean. It welcomes you any time of day or night. That tale wags.”
Martin Short (Mr. Frankenstein). Short says he would bring back his family cat Tiger, who was in his life from ages 3 to 20.The near-deaf 17-year-old cat was attacked by a dog as it lay in front of the house “exactly as I pulled up in the car,” he recalls. “I didn’t wear a fur arm band or anything. But it was horrible. So I would bring Tiger back.”
Read more: USA Today