1996

Buddy

Caroline Thompson, who I had previously worked with on Black Beauty, wrote and directed Buddy - a film about a New York socialite in the 1920s whose menagerie of animals expanded to include a baby gorilla, Buddy.

Rene Russo was the leading lady and I played her assistant, Dick Kroener. I just loved making this film. My character looked after the chimps in the story, and so I spent every day for a few months cuddling chimps. I was like their nanny for the summer. It was such an amazing thing to do. By the time the film finished they were grooming me and playing with me in ways that they only do with other chimps. I was very honoured. One chimp in particular called Tonka became really attached to me. I loved him. It was horrible when I had to go, trying to explain to him that I wouldn't see him for a long time. But I have two pictures that he painted in my possesion.

I later saw him in the Babe sequel playing a girl. Showbiz, baby.