We interviewed two very different actors and characters when visiting the set of Lady and the Tramp last fall. Thomas Mann plays Jim Dear and Adrian Martinez is the Dog Catcher, who recently explained that he feels his character is greatly misunderstood. Before you watch Lady and the Tramp on Disney+ this week, read what these actors had to say about their roles.
As much as I love seeing the finished product, I also love spending time with the creatives who are making films.
On the set of Lady and the Tramp, we had a chance to speak with Thomas Mann and Adrian Martinez (who I also spoke with just last week!). Both were generous with their time and allowed us to ask a little bit about the roles in the films.
Interview With Thomas Mann, Jim Dear in Lady and the Tramp
We asked Thomas what was different about his role as Jim Dear compared to his other roles?
Thomas Mann: I’m a grown-up! I’m transitioning out and playing someone’s son, or this college student or that high school student.
Now I’m playing a father… I feel like I’m making a lot of progress in my own career.”
He also said the transition was easier than he expected since the costuming and sets were so detailed and precise. Lady and the Tramp occurs in 1910, so the period costumes and set design absolutely helped set the tone of the role.
Thomas Mann: “You put on these clothes, and you step on the sets, and half the work is done for you. It’s been so much fun!”
What was Thomas’ favorite scene? Not the meatball one!
Thomas Mann: A beautiful, snowy village with all the steeples and the twinkly lights. And then it zooms into the one house, and you go inside the house, and it’s Christmas.
That’s the feeling that I associate with Lady and the Tramp.”
Interview With Adrian Martinez, The Dog Catcher in Lady and the Tramp (And a Little More Yvette Nicole Brown!)
Adrian even came in on his day off to meet with us! How fantastically generous was that?
While we talked on set, he kept us all laughing and sharing what he loved about the role.
One thing he did NOT love was the running around in Savannah in August in a 1910 dog catcher uniform!
Our time with Adrian was short, but you never know what Disney magic might come your way.
A few days ago, I had a chance to revisit Adrian at the Walt Disney Studios where we screened Lady and the Tramp.
Adrian and Yvette Nicole Brown joined us after the movie and they talked about their “misunderstood” villain roles which, honestly, put things into a new light for me.
Yvette Nicole Brown: “I hope that every character I play has a little bit of heart. I hope that you can see even if it’s a villain because- look, Aunt Sarah was a hot mess.
You could like just see through and know that she’s probably hurt. She’s obviously alone.
Like- the scene where they leave with the baby for the first time in her line is “I didn’t even get to hold her.”
I adlibbed that onset and they kept it because I felt like this woman is so hard but something about this new life coming into their family has got her in her car to come across town to take care of this baby.
She wanted to take care of the baby.
So she has a heart for she has love in her heart. You know, she just hasn’t found her way to get through that little crusty exterior.
So I felt that that would humanize her in a way where we understand that there’s something about her. That’s redeemed. You know, so I hope that that’s every character I do. So that was a choice that I made.”
Adrian Martinez: “I follow the John Cazale School of acting. He’s an actor from the 70s. He was Fredo in The Godfather and just a brilliant actor.
And he said that when he approached a role, he would try to figure out what was the actor’s greatest pain.
And for me when I prepared for this was Elliott’s greatest pain, and was that the fact that nobody gets him.
Nobody gets him. And he’s just trying to maintain the order of the town. And but I could also imagine how isolating lonely he was.
So that grounded me for the rest of it.”
About Lady and the Tramp
In Disney+’s “Lady and the Tramp,” a timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)