Do you remember the movie “I am Legend? Probably yes!
It was one of the most memorable movies and one of the several movies that helped Will Smith prove himself as a dramatic actor (oh well, it’s not like he did not prove himself in The Pursuit of Happiness and Seven Pounds). However, except for Will Smith, there was someone else who became the very true star of the movie.
Can you guess who it was? Yep, that’s right – the Dog.
The scenes between Smith, or as named in the movie Robert Neville, and Sam, the very adorable, lovely German Shepherd, were the strongest, most memorable scenes of the movie. Sam was given to Robert as a gift by his daughter, just before she passed away due to an accident on a helicopter crash.
The scenes were sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes, more often than not, very touching.
If you haven’t seen the movie, we are sorry, because there is a spoiler alert your way – the story does not end that well for Sam. However, the dog who played Sam in the movie, has done so much better in real life.
Abbey, the dog who played Sam in the movie, is still alive and living her best life, even though the movie was shot and released about 10 years ago. She is still living with her trainer, Steve Berens, which makes this story even cuter.
Steve Berens told the LADbible that Abbey is 13 years old now, and is enjoying her retirement to the best of her possibilities.
“She’s older now and she doesn’t hear hardly anything,” he said.
“But she’s still kicking, she still likes a ball and likes a bone.”
Berens said that Abbey has been a part of the family since he was asked to train her for the role of Sam. They have not been separated since them.
He also added: “We got her in the middle of July and then went to camera towards the end of September, so that was a pretty quick transition. She wasn’t coming from a training foundation – she really knew nothing.
“She was trained a lot of the basics that you need for film work, and then directly for those scenes.
“It was stressful at first, but she really came on good. She’s a good dog and she really learned fast.”
In the midst of the interview, Berens of course had to admit of how much of an honor was to work with Will Smith. It seems like even Abbey was a fond of her co-star in the movie.
In that regard, Berens said: “When you work with a lot of actors, they’re not that interested in the animal – a lot of actors look at it as something that the audience is going to be looking at instead of them.
“But Will was not at all like that. He understood that this was his co-star, and he really dug it and really got into it. He was a fabulous guy to work with.
“I think that she really liked him, and that made a difference. I think that’s one thing in the film I was very happy with, and very proud of – the relationship was really solid.”
It seemed that even Will Smith was so fond of Abbey, and wanted to adopt her. Berens would not have been against the idea.
“Kind of through the channels he had mentioned that, but he didn’t really say that directly to me,” he explained.
“I didn’t want to see that end badly – you know how a lot of these stars fall in love with their co-stars, and then once they move on to the next picture, they’re off and running.
“If he would have come to me directly, possibly – I don’t know. When you train and you spend that much time personally, it’s quite a relationship that you develop. She’s always been with us, in the house and around our other animals. She’s just always been a big part of our family.”
Berens also added that he did not stop training Abbey after that one movie, however she did not get any major parts really.
“Nothing of much substance or was really identifiable, but she had little things here and there. Other than that she’s been a pet, a family dog.
“There are larger companies who turn things over a bit more. We’re a kind of a smaller company and it is a little bit more of a personal situation. You know, she’s in the front yard right now.”
Steve Berens owns the small training company. However, he believes his small company has produced big things. And we agree!
But whatever thing he does, big or small, he does it with a lot of love. He wants to be close to his animals, and work with them.
“As an animal trainer you always have your own stock, and if you can work with those you’re always wanting to because they’re your animals,” he said.
“But it doesn’t always work that way, and especially with Adam a lot of times he would write something that was so off the wall that we’d have to go out and find it, and prep it and put it together for the film. It wasn’t always exactly what you had.”
He thinks that all animals can be trained.
“That’s the thing with animal training – it’s the art of illusion.
Such a great job Berens has. We wish we could do this for living!