weather icon Clear

Dennis Quaid talks dogs, Vegas, memorable roles

There is an adage in Hollywood: Never work with kids or dogs. Someone failed to tell that to a certain laid-back actor named Dennis Quaid, who stars in “A Dog’s Journey” opening Friday.

No two-hour lunches were needed to engage his co-stars on the set of the sequel to the 2017 hit, “A Dog’s Purpose.” “You carry around bacon in your pocket and you get some friends when it comes to dogs,” says Quaid, 65, who added, “I love working with dogs because they’re not self-absorbed actors with big egos. They’re all about the snacks.”

Quaid, who lives in the mountains of Santa Barbara, is all over big and small screens these days. He stars in the current horror film “The Intruder” and on TV’s “Goliath.” Next up for him is a role as Ronald Reagan in the film “Reagan” due out next year. In his free time, you can also find him walking his year old mini English bulldog. What did a tough guy like Quaid name her? Peaches.

Review-Journal: What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?

Dennis Quaid: I like a lazy Sunday because it gives you time to do a lot of thinking. It’s also a great day to do a little golfing or playing guitar or piano. The most important thing on a Sunday is hanging out with my family and my animals.

What made you say yes to “A Dog’s Purpose?”

My agent called me up for the first of these films and got three sentences into what it was about. I said, “You’re going to make me cry.” Everyone loves movies about dogs because everyone loves dogs. What’s interesting is that people bring their own relationships with their pets to these movies.

What do you love about dogs?

Dogs live in the moment. Dogs don’t judge. They’re always there for you. Beyond that dogs are really sensitive to your moods, which is so interesting to me. They take on your stress, your happy times and your down times. They’re like a sponge for you, which is such a cool thing.

Is it true that you almost became a veterinarian?

I grew up in Texas and couldn’t decide if I should be a veterinarian or forest ranger. I had a great drama teacher in college who really drew me to acting. Plus, my brother Randy was an actor. I left school and went to Hollywood for a few weeks. Jonathan Demme was casting a movie called “Crazy Mama.” He knew my brother. One day, Demme said to me, “You wanna be in my movie?” I played a bellboy who had one line during a robbery, “Oh my God, don’t shoot me.” That line didn’t make it in the movie, but it was a start. I was in a real movie. That’s what counted here.

You’ve been working since 1975 in films including “The Right Stuff” to “The Big Easy.” Any favorites?

I do love “The Big Easy” because all these years later, it really does hold up. But in general, I judge my movies a little differently than most people do. Mostly, I think about the experience, and experience-wise, my favorite was “The Right Stuff.” I wanted to be an astronaut since I was a little boy growing up in Houston and my favorite all-time astronaut was Gordon Cooper. I was so lucky to get to play him and at the same time I got my pilot’s license. It was such an amazing experience. As for my best overall film, I’ll leave that to other people to decide.

You filmed the series “Vegas” in Vegas in 2012 where you played Sheriff Ralph Lamb. Any favorite memories of shooting in and around Sin City?

It was just a great experience because this was such a strong real-life character. I met Ralph on the set and what a colorful guy. One of the great parts of this series is that I didn’t real know about the history of Las Vegas in the 1960s, but I learned it from this show, which was about the building of Vegas and how it became what we know today. I also got to bring a Texas guy to Vegas. I remember being on a horse in the desert at sunrise. I felt right at home.

You have defied aging. What is the secret?

Oh, I definitely feel my age. Sometimes in the morning, I really feel it! I think the secret is you gotta just keep moving in life. I’m at the gym almost every day. Don’t sit down. Don’t rest too much. Keep moving like a shark keeps swimming.

Speaking of which, you front the band Dennis Quaid and the Sharks. What’s the appeal of rocking at this age?

I’ve always loved music. One of my favorite things in life has been touring all over the United States with the band. We’re going to be the oldest guys ever to make it in rock ’n’ roll.

What is the joy of making movies for you now?

I have more fire in my belly than I did when I was 20 to do this work. Why? I know more about life. I also believe humans go to the movies to feel things. Maybe they’re things we can’t express, but we identify with them in the dark while watching a movie. If I can help people feel then I’ve done my job. I have a very lucky life because of what I do.

Let’s say a fan runs into you while you’re walking your dog. What Dennis Quaid movie do they bring up?

It doesn’t matter if I’m in Cincinnati or Calcutta. People ask me about “Innerspace.” Or I’ll hear, “It’s the ‘Innerspace’ guy!” That really surprises me. Of course, kids will still rush up and ask about a million “Parent Trap” questions. I know parents have watched it 40 times in a row and it’s a great movie, but I want to apologize right now because you shouldn’t have to see anything 40 times in a row.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)