In the animated comedy “The Secret Life of Pets,” Lake Bell plays Chloe, a voluptuous, pampered cat. (The marketing team isn't calling the cat "fat" or "chubby" or "tubby," though there are several throwaway jokes about her girth preventing her from doing nimble cat things in the movie.) In real life, the actress and filmmaker — currently hard at work editing her follow-up to “In a Word…”, the marriage comedy “What’s the Point?” — is a dog person. But she's open to switching teams.
So, are you a cat or a dog person?
If I'm being honest, I'm going to have to say I'm a dog person, but that's only because it's what I know. I grew up with dogs, in a house of rescued Dachshunds, so that was just my reality. That said, I'm not prejudiced against cats. I think they're great. I'm really coming around to them. In my house, I'm constantly telling my husband I want a cat, but he's like, “Nope,” because he is staunchly a dog person.
You have experience being a cat now. You're an expert. You can pretend you're a cat and show him what it's like.
Oh, I know. I may do that as a way of campaigning to get a cat, though I don't think Chloe is a good example of why we should invest our time in that. But a rescue kitten is a way in. I'm trying to get my daughter to fall in love with a rescue kitten and then he has to say yes.
Did you ever catch your dogs doing anything super weird, like in the movie? Throwing parties?
Yeah! My sort of dog partner in life, for 15 years, Margaret, a rescue Pit Bull, she passed away only a few months ago — she was truly special and incredible and so funny. Amazing comedic timing.I had these three white poodles, and if you sat down they would all three jump in your lap at once. One time I was on set and I closed the door. There was a little hole in the screen door. One of the poodles jumped through the hole, so lo and behold, I see this white poodle running at me, then two, three poodles running at me. Then, alas, I see Margaret, my big, brown Pit Bull, trying to get through the hole, getting her head stuck, falling down the stairs. She saw these poodles do this with grace and she tried to do the same and ... failed. In a tremendous way. It's one of the most special visuals I have of my pet.
Do you know the film "The Lobster?"
I know it but I haven't seen it yet because I'm editing my own film. I live in a cave.
Well, what animal would you want to be if you had to be an animal for the rest of your mortal life?
I think it would be a cat. Then everybody leaves you alone, and I can sleep all day, be up all night. If you left me to my own devices, and if I didn't have a kid to take care of, I would totally stay up all night and sleep all day. I do feel cat-like. Also that thing when they fall from really high distances and they kind of recover? That's pretty cool. I want to do that.
Are you doing any more appearances on "BoJack Horseman?"
I don't know yet. I thought I did one but … it's so funny. When you record, it's the kind of thing where you fire and forget. You're like, "Oh I forgot I did that, that's so awesome!" There are these little nuggets of comedy that you do in an afternoon. You come in, do some silly stuff here and there, you leave, and it's like it never happened. Then someone Tweets at you, "Hey, you're funny in the thing," and you go, "Oh my God, I forgot I even did that."