|Boone Narr GALACTICA.TV interview|
|Written by Marcel Damen|
|Friday, 01 January 2010|
Boone Narr has been training animals for over 30 years. His talents haven taken him to all parts of the world. His company, Boone's Animals for Hollywood, is one of the most widely known and highly respected animal training companies in the world. For Battlestar Galactica Boone Narr trained a chimpanzee named Evolution ("Ëve") to play the role of Boxey's robot pet, Muffit the Daggit. Marcel Damen caught up with him and talked to him about working with Eve on the Battlestar Galactica series.
How did you end up training animals? When you were little, did you have any special pets, or form a special bond with them that shaped your career path? Did you know then that this is what you wanted to do?
I never knew this career even existed. Basically a friend of a friend said they were looking for someone to clean up after animals that worked in movies. I'd always loved animals since I was a kid, so I thought it was a great opportunity -- even though at the time I was only picking up animal poop. Now I own my own animal training company, I guess you could say I worked my way from one end of the animal to the other.
Do you have any training or special certification? Or did you learn as you go?
There were no special certificates when I got started, I had to learn as I went along.
Battlestar Galactica's animal trainer Boone Narr
What was some of your first Hollywood work? Were you nervous?
Laverne and Shirley, Happy Days, Dukes of Hazzard and The Fall Guy to name a few. These were all high profile television shows in the 70's, so I was very nervous.
How do you determine what species of animals that you train? How much depends upon what you can train, and how much depends upon the need for movies?
The species of the animal is determined by what the script calls for.
Are there any animals that you won't train? Why?
Yes, my wife, she's not trainable. On a serious note, I would not train any animal that could not cope with the stunt or environment. Some animals are afraid to work in front of the camera, we can't all be movie stars.
What were some of your worst experiences with animals?
I was working in the dessert with a kangaroo that got loose and it took me 4 hours to find him. I was working a lion once and it bit me in the leg -- lucky for me, he wasn't too hungry. I got bucked off a rhino and fell off an elephant once.
Which animals are the most difficult to train? Does that make it more aggravating to train, or more rewarding when they pull off a stunt?
There is no particular animal that is hard to train. It's just depends upon what you're asking the animal to do, which determines whether the training is more difficult. When the animal enjoys the work, training can be very rewarding.
Where do the animals stay overnight when shooting on location?
We establish housing and training facilities on location in advance.
Battlestar Galactica's animal trainer Boone Narr dressing up Eve
How were you approached for Battlestar Galactica?
I worked for one of the Producers on another show.
Do you remember working with Eve, the chimpanzee on Battlestar Galactica?
Yes, she was one of my favorites.
What can you tell us about Eve specifically?
She was very willing to please, loved movie work and jelly beans.
Was she easy to train?
She was a very eager learner which made training her easy.
Where did you get her?
She was born in Florida and we adopted her.
Noah Hathaway told us that there were two other chimpanzees, one of which was named Doc. Do you remember the other?
There were only two chimps (Doc and Eve) who played the part of Daggit.
Can you tell from looking at this picture below of Paula Crist (one of the women in the Ovion suits) if this is Eve?
The photo is of Eve.
stunt actress Paula Crist (Ovion) holding Eve on the Battlestar Galactica set
Do you remember why she is holding Eve? Is it possible that Eve would have felt more comfortable playing with these space aliens if she saw the people underneath?
The reason she was holding her is that she had to do a scene with her. I always introduced Eve to the people she had to work with.
I heard that Eve would sometimes get overheated in the suit and start ripping out the fir. Is this true?
No, the suit was specially designed for her comfort.
Where there any other special problems with the Daggit suit?
No, it was a custom fitted suit.
Do you know how many they made?
I think there were three or four suits.
I've also heard from several actors that Eve would make fart noises with her mouth and cause the actors to bust-up laughing. Is this true?
Eve did make fart noises with her mouth, she was a real clown.
I heard there was a scene with smoke which was not trained and when the smoke cleared all that was left were four shoes and Eve was up the structure. Is this true? Did this happen a lot?
The special effects smoke was too heavy and she did not like it, so she climbed up into the rafters leaving only her shoes behind. She eventually got used to the smoke.
I heard the helmet was the most difficult part to put on. Why?
The helmet had so many movable parts, but not really too difficult.
Is it true that Eve had a small black sheep dog named Skipper and the shared donuts?
Yes, Skipper and Eve would go on walks around the studio lot. They were the best-of-buddies.
Do you remember working with Noah Hathaway? Do you remember any stories or anecdotes from working on Battlestar Galactica?
Of course I remember working with Noah. He would come out to the ranch and I would make him shovel the elephant poop.
Eve as Muffit the Daggit and Noah Hathaway as Boxey on Battlestar Galactica
It is rumored that you were actually onstage in a Battlestar Galactica uniform during the first scenes shot with Noah and the Daggit? Is this true?
Yes, I would sometimes be in the scene to make Eve feel more comfortable.
Do you know of any movies or television that Eve worked on after Battlestar Galactica?
Yes, following the series, she was in many commercials and TV shows. She was one of the chimps in Tarzan (the movie) with Bo Derek.
Where did she end up retiring?
She ended up retiring in Florida.
Noah Hathaway says he came to visit her long after the series ended, is this true? Were you around when this happened?
Is Eve still around?
No, she passed away several years ago.
What were some of the other animals you worked with on Battlestar Galactica?
I worked with camels on the show but we did not have many animals on the show as it was set in space.
You have become the premiere animal handler in Hollywood. How have you established and maintained this?
I maintain my integrity and surround myself with the best trainers in the business.
Your website says that you have travelled all over the world, why?
The reason I've travelled all over the world is because I have filmed all over the world.
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