Given his adoption—and subsequent adoration—of rescue dog Boston nearly a year ago, it comes as no surprise that Kevin Spacey wholeheartedly embraces, and likewise disseminates, the “adopt-don’t-shop” adage.
Asked at an event last week if he’d consider himself an avid advocate for rescue pets, the “House of Cards” star placed a great deal of emphasis on his response: “HUGE,” he turned to say, making eye contact while being whisked away by his handlers. “I got my last dog from the North Shore Animal League,” he managed to add, “which is a great pet adoption place.”
While we’re readily aware of the latter fact, we never tire of folks in the limelight doing right by animals and, further, sharing said compassion publicly. To hear it firsthand from the two-time Academy award-winner himself is just that much more rewarding—and encouraging.
But there’s a little more to the Boston tail—err, tale—than that. Though Spacey was in high demand Wednesday night (it was, after all, an affair in his honor), Dana Brunetti dutifully answered our questions and proved extra generous in his story recounting.
Brunetti, for those who don’t know, is Spacey’s former assistant turned president of Trigger Street Productions, of which Spacey is founder. He is himself a two-time Academy award nominee and clearly very close to the talented man who took a chance on him over 15 years ago. (For more on their professional relationship and evident friendship, please see below for a bit of bonus info.)*
Despite the red carpet being abuzz with celebs—among them Samuel L. Jackson, Chazz Palminteri, Kate Bosworth, Kim Cattrall, Penn Badgley and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg—and cinephiles, who together converged at Manhattan’s 583 Park Avenue to join Museum of the Moving Image in saluting Spacey, Brunetti paused on the step-and-repeat to fill us in on a few things.
Firstly, we wanted to know how the pretty pup was doing: “Boston’s good,” Brunetti said, smiling. “Getting big and over a year old now. She’s just a big clumsy dog,” he laughed. (Side note: we adore big clumsy dogs.)
As soon as we ventured to inquire about Spacey’s stance on adoption advocacy, Brunetti chimed in with the details surrounding that fateful day when man and man’s best friend met. Some stuff we were privy to, and aspects of it we weren’t.
“We were visiting Boston bombing victims and the North Shore Animal League brought a bunch of dogs to the hospital to comfort patients,” Brunetti explained. “We saw this puppy—now Boston—and the dog took to [Spacey] and [Spacey] took to the dog.” Well, no mystery there. It was love at first sniff.
However, were it not for Brunetti, Boston might not be the quasi-famous canine she is today. He continued, “I got the information and said, We would like this dog. So, unbeknownst to Kevin, I worked it out, went back and got the dog and surprised him with her in his hotel room later.” Brunetti’s playing cupid proved news to us!
We did our due diligence, of course, politely pointing out that gifting animals is risky business, but Brunetti assuaged any doubt we might have had about the scenario. Ensuring Spacey was initially pleased with his bold decision, the producer promised, “He was extremely happy.” Phew. Good to know.
“He had another dog—still does—named Mini,” Brunetti went on. “I was with him when he got her as well.”
Wondering from where the wee senior beast hailed, Brunetti confirmed our confidence in Spacey’s good sense and big heart: “We got her at [London’s] Battersea Dog[s and Cats] Home, like, 15 years ago.” Double phew. We so didn’t want to receive bummer news of a breeder or pet store acquisition.
“So, he’s all about adoption,” we stated in summation, more to ourselves than to Brunetti, though he didn’t miss a beat before being ushered away with his date, girlfriend Kristin Chenoweth: “Oh, definitely!”
And so Spacey’s reputation, at least insomuch as it pertains to companion animals, is secure and remains unscathed!
*When Spacey took the stage to accept his award of recognition from MMI, he gave an allegedly off-the-cuff speech, thanking those near and dear to him, those who showed up to support him, not only that night, but also over the years. This is what he had to say about Brunetti: “Dana Brunetti—the best decision I ever made was to hire you. For those of you who don’t know the backstory, the backstory is: Dana was my assistant for a number of years and I quickly realized that he was a guy so much more qualified than the guy walking my dog and getting my fuckin’ laundry, which he did for a while and very well. I’m not saying he didn’t do it well. But, I then did this: I went, Hey, Dana, umm, so, okay, why don’t you come to LA—because he lived in New York—come to LA and run the fuckin’ company? Okay. And here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna move to London and run a theater company for ten years. Good luck!!! It was not funny at the fuckin’ time. Now it’s slightly funny. But, what he did in those years that I went to London to start the Old Vic Theater Company is simply remarkable. He put Trigger Street on the map. He’s become a remarkable producer, a two-time Academy award nominated producer. I am so proud of you!”
Photo credit: Chris Bowman