LHJ: Have you seen the movie?
JG Not yet, but my wife, Jenny, and I were fortunate enough to be on the sets for several days, both in Florida and Pennsylvania, and it was a lot of fun. I think it's going to be a really charming and beautiful movie. And the trailer is a hoot. The first time we saw it in a movie theater, we screamed.
LHJ: What was it like to see yourself being played by a Hollywood actor?
JG: It was incredibly weird! My first day on the set in Miami I'd just walked up to watch my first scene when I heard Owen Wilson shout, "I'm John Grogan!" My jaw almost hit the ground. And there were a lot of moments when Jenny and I were standing off in the wings, watching them portray us in a very realistic way. It was like an out-of-body experience. Even the house they used in the film is a dead ringer for our house in West Palm Beach.
LHJ: How did Jenny react when she heard she'd be played by Jennifer Aniston?
JG: She absolutely was not complaining!
LHJ: Did either of you get the itch to act yourselves?
JG: Actually, we're both extras in one scene -- the obedience class, where Marley gets kicked out for bad behavior. We didn't have to do much, which is fortunate because neither of us knows a thing about acting.
LHJ: Do you think the film will capture Marley's over-the-top personality?
JG: Absolutely. Right in the middle of a scene Clyde, one of the dogs who played Marley, would leap up and give Owen a big kiss on the face while he was trying to deliver his lines. Or Jen would be holding his leash and all of a sudden she would be pulled off the scene -- just whoosh and she was gone.
LHJ: I understand the cast and crew gave you a very special souvenir.
JG: Yes, our puppy, Woodson, the one you heard upstairs dragging the steel bowl around. He played one of the first Marleys in the movie. Woodson's young, so he's spunky, but already I can see that he is going to be much calmer and more focused than Marley.
LHJ: And you have an older Lab, too?
JG: Gracie. I call her the anti-Marley. I tell her, "Gracie, you're a great dog, but don't expect me to write about you. It would be the world's most boring book."