Based on true events, The Dog Lover tells the story of Sara Gold (Allison Paige) who is a rising star at the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA), a major animal rights organization that conducts animal rescues and lobbies for better animal welfare laws. Handpicked for a major assignment, Sara goes undercover as a college intern to infiltrate a suspected “puppy mill” run by the enigmatic Daniel Holloway (James Remar).
Sarah soon ingratiates herself with Daniel and his family, and learns all about the world of dog breeding but is hard pressed to find any sign of animal abuse. The UAPA teams up with local law enforcement and raids the farm, accusing Daniel of the inhumane treatment of animals. Sara finds herself torn between doing her job and doing what’s right, and she awakens to the moral contradictions of her work with the UAPA. The Dog Lover also stars Lea Thompson, Jayson Blair, Sherry Stringfield and Michael King. Allison Paige recently discussed her starring role in the film and though she’s an actress now, that wasn’t her childhood dream.
“I grew up my whole life dancing. I don’t actually remember a time when I wasn’t on stage. I grew up under the influence of my grandmother who watched Gone With the Wind and liked Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. She was an old school Hollywood grandmother. I danced my whole life but around 17, I caught the acting bug and made the transition from dancing to acting.”
As with many first time actors, her first paying gig was memorable for the wrong reason.
“It was a hip hop pilot when I was 17 that I booked through my dance studio in New York. They were making a pilot to pitch to Disney or something and see what they could do with it. That was my first paid gig and it was rough. I was not one of those kids who came out of the womb and was naturally amazing. I had to work at being natural and comfortable in front of a camera. Get in a class. The more you can be in front of a camera, the more comfortable you’ll be. Study, study, study. Some actors go to college for acting, but there also a lot of great acting schools.”
Like many actors, Paige cut her acting teeth in the world of soap operas, which are like acting schools in and of themselves.
“It is a crash course. I loved being on “Days of Our Lives.” Everybody on the whole team are just wonderful people. It’s like a family since the show has been on a long time. You can’t help but feel the family environment when you get there. It was a crash course because they shoot a lot of episodes very quickly. It’s a one take show. Unless something goes majorly wrong, they go with the first take. It was a crash course into trusting my instincts.”
All of us have career goals and see people we want to emulate. Paige is no different.
“I look at women like Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman who really are chameleons. They’re not afraid to play different kinds of women and I strive to have balls like that, to be frank. They immerse themselves in their roles and they’re fearless. I don’t want to be stuck in one wheelhouse and go after as many different types of roles as I can.”
She further explains the different types of roles she’d love to get.
“I just got to play a villain on “The Flash,” which was something on my bucket list. I will hug everybody and talk to anybody, but I love really dark, sort of messed up characters. I’m sort of obsessed with crime shows and serial killers. Investigation ID is my favorite network. All those crazy murder shows I could watch for days on end.”
With aspirations of playing dark, messed up characters, she has favorites of her own.