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
Las Vegan part of the Harlem Globetrotters
Scooter Christensen, who grew up in Las Vegas, will play with the Harlem Globetrotters at The Orleans in Las Vegas Sunday, Aug. 25. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MSG Sphere at The Venetian to cost $1.2B plus
Scheduled to open in 2021, it is expected to be busier than Madison Square Garden in New York. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa Returns To Red Rock. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort is set to open on Aug. 26.
Hubert Keller’s Backyard Kitchen
Chef Hubert Keller of Fleur and Burger Bar shows off his backyard kitchen in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Watermelon Mojitos and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Bartender Cassy Leedom and Chef Norberto Ortega make a Watermelon Mojito and Chicken ‘N’ Watermelon ‘N’ Waffles at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar at The Venetian in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas celebrates National Fajita Day
Cook Ruben Fuentes and general manager Taylor Pulliam of Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in Las Vegas prepare steak and shrimp fajitas with the restaurant’s signature fiery treatment. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pasta Shop Ristorante serves a watermelon-shrimp salad
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery in Henderson serves a summer salad that combines watermelon with greens, feta and shrimp. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Factory Kitchen in Las Vegas makes classic affogato
Jorge Luque, pastry chef at The Factory Kitchen at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes affogato with two simple ingredients - house-made gelato and fresh espresso. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review Journal with image from The Factory Kitchen)
The Cereal Killerz Kitchen serves over 100 cereals
Christopher Burns, owner of The Cereal Killerz Kitchen at Galleria at Sunset mall in Henderson, makes a Milk & Cookies Shake from his more than 100 varieties of cereal. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in Las Vegas makes a State Fair CrazyShake
Bianca Zepeva, a shaker at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer at The Venetian in Las Vegas, makes a State Fair CrazyShake with a kettle corn rim, caramel, corn-based ice cream, popcorn brittle, crushed kettle corn, sprinkles and a cherry. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Balboa Pizza Company makes Thai peanut chicken wings
Irma Perez, kitchen manager at Balboa Pizza Company at The District at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, near Las Vegas, brines chicken wings for 24 hours before roasting and frying them and finishing them in various styles such as Thai peanut. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
New Venetian pool deck
Final touches are currently being added to the hotel’s main tower pool deck, which consists of five pools. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who is Vegas Vic? (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada State Museum Director Dennis McBride explains the origins of the Vegas icon.
Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas serves a 4-pound Big Island Feast Burger
Cindy Sun, general manager of Slater’s 50/50 in Las Vegas, makes the Big Island Feast Burger with 2 1/2 pounds of the house bacon/beef blend, Napa-cilantro slaw, six slices of American cheese, a can of grilled Spam, six slices of chargrilled pineapple, four fried eggs and a drizzle of teriyaki and serves it with macaroni salad. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Get a first look of MSG Sphere construction in Las Vegas
Representatives of The Madison Square Garden Company give the first glimpse of progress Tuesday of the under-construction MSG Sphere — a first-of-its-kind performance venue with high-tech audio and visual capabilities.
Shark Week cupcakes at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas
Brittnee Klinger, a cake decorator at Freed’s Bakery in Las Vegas, makes Shark Week cupcakes with ocean-blue buttercream, fondant fins and a blood-red strawberry filling. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fans and friends recall Elvis opening in Las Vegas
Fifty years ago on July 31st 1969, Elvis Presley opened at the International hotel in Las Vegas. He went on to do 837 consecutive sold-out shows at the property.
Hot peach cobbler at Beaumont’s Southern Kitchen at Texas Station
Michael Ross, room chef/pitmaster at Beaumont’s Southern Kitchen at Texas Station in Las Vegas, makes peach cobbler by baking peaches in a cast-iron pan with batter and crumble, then topping with Haagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream and bourbon-caramel sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Water Grill opens at The Forum Shops at Caesars in Las Vegas
Water Grill, from a 30-year-old California company opening its first Las Vegas location, specializes is fresh seafood including 16 types of oysters. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cat's Meow comes to Las Vegas
New Orleans-based karaoke chain opens new location in Neonopolis. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Loco Moco Breakfast Burger at Broken Yolk Cafe in Las Vegas
Manny Menina, line cook at Broken Yolk Cafe in Las Vegas, stacks 8 ounces of beef, 2 strips of bacon, hash browns, caramelized onions and 2 fried eggs on 4 King’s Hawaiian slider buns to make the Loco Moco Breakfast Burger. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
SecretBurger at China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Carlos Cruz, executive chef of Jose Andres’ China Poblano at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, makes the SecretBurger off-menu, one-night-only ‘All Quacked Up’ with a kimchi pancake, Peking duck, house-made hoisin sauce, a fried duck egg, pickled micro-vegetables, caviar and gold flakes and serves it with a Stillwater Artisanal Ale. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Famous Blue Angel statue commemorated in downtown Las Vegas mural
The 16-foot tall Blue Angel statue that stood above the Blue Angel Motel for six decades is featured in a mural spanning three walls at a downtown Las Vegas building. James Stanford designed the “A Phalanx of Angels Ascending" mural based on his photography, and Cliff Morris painted the mural at 705 Las Vegas Blvd. North, near the Neon Museum. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Making Castle Frites at the new Frites at Excalibur
Tom McGrath, district manager/executive chef at Frites at the Excalibur in Las Vegas, tops his beef-tallow fries like a loaded baked potato - with white and yellow cheddar, sour cream, bacon and chives. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hello Kitty Cafe on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
The Hello Kitty Cafe opens Friday, July 12th, 2019, between New York, New York and Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Amano Las Vegas' Fat Baby Sandwich
Chef Jason Weber of Amano Las Vegas has created a sandwich stuffed with pasta, and it's a hit. (Mat Luschek / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A class at Melissa Coppel Chocolate and Pastry School in Las Vegas.
Melissa Coppel, who teaches classes in various countries around the world, attracts students from far and wide to her eponymous school in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Havana Lobster at Boteco in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Marcus Fortunato, co-owner of Boteco in Las Vegas, learned to make Havana Lobster from the chef at El Figaro, a favorite of former Cuban President Fidel Castro.
Chef Gustav Mauler Is retiring
Las Vegas chef Gustav Mauler announces his retirement on Sunday, June 30, 2019.
Bellagio Conservatory unveils Italian summer exhibit
The Bellagio's Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have opened the gates to its summer display. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)