Sun comes out for mutt playing Sandy in new “Annie” movie

The 16th dog to audition for the role of Sandy, Marti was chosen for her physical resemblance to the actual comic character and her ability to perform on cue. (Photo Credit: Sony Pictures)

Marti, the Golden RetrieverChow mix walked the red carpet with producers Will Smith and Jay Z at the premiere of the movie Annie, which opens this Friday, December 19.

Marti, a 6-year-old female, will play Sandy, the lovable mutt. She was rescued from the Adopt-a-Dog shelter in Armonk, N.Y., by trainer Bill Berloni.

Berloni is known as the “go-to pet guy” in Hollywood and on Broadway. He rescued the first Sandy, a stray he found at the Connecticut Humane Society just a few hours before the dog was to be put down. This Sandy starred in the Broadway production of Annie in 1977. He also found rescues to play the role of Sandy in the Broadway revivals in 1997 and 2012.

Berloni does all of the training, and he tells the Daily Herald he uses positive reinforcement to train animals. “We never force an animal to work if it pulls back. We make them safe, we make them healthy, fill their lives with love and purpose and who doesn’t blossom with that? If I borrowed someone’s pet for a show, all it would be doing is pining for their families. So in this way, we’re not just saving lives, but we’re getting dogs that are very motivated and appreciative to work with us.”

He works with six different trainers and lives with 28 dogs on his Connecticut farm. For the latest Sandy, Marti resembles the dog from the original Little Orphan Annie comic strip.

For this Sandy, Will Gluck, the film’s director, wanted a female dog that would be able to spin in circles on cue and look different from the dogs who played past Sandys.

Marti was the 16th dog to audition, and since she resembled the Sandy from the original comic strip and was able to perform on cue, she got the part.

Sources: New York Post, YouTube, Daily Herald