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Virtual Reality Bites

Max the dog steals ''The Mask'' -- Jim Carrey's canine sidekick has Hollywood eating out of his hand

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Virtual Reality Bites

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His vertical leap rivals Michael Jordan's, and he can make spectacular midair catches, but Max McCarter will end up best known for holding his own with — and , maybe even stealing the show from — Jim Carrey in The Mask. Max plays Milo, Stanley Ipkiss' intelligent and dependable sidekick who dons the mask to save Edge City from evil gangsters. His nose for criminal activity and dogged heroism should come as no surprise: Max is a pooch.

The proud new father of five month-old puppies by his longtime companion, Sadie, this Jack Russell terrier — the current showbiz breed of choice, featured in NBC's series Frasier and this spring's movie Clean Slate — has spent most of his 5 1/2 years (that's 38 human years) in show business, because his owner, Joe McCarter, works as an animal trainer. Max got his start accompanying another working dog on sets before landing his first film role, as a space rat in Mom and Dad Save the World (1992).

By the time he arrived on the set of The Mask, Max had learned enough to match wits with master of improvisation Carrey. In one scene, while Carrey frantically stuffed money into a closet with a Frisbee, Max grabbed the Frisbee and sent the star sprawling into one of his characteristic pratfalls. The revised scene made the final cut.

Trainer Steve Berens claims Max was satisfied with his performance and enjoyed the film (he was even shepherded to the Hollywood premiere in a limousine). In fact, he had only one reservation: ''He thought some of the movie was a little too loud.''

Originally posted Aug 19, 1994 Published in issue #236 Aug 19, 1994 Order article reprints
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