At the occasion of the release of the 3rd season of The Crown on Netflix this November 2019 (in which she plays Princess Margaret), and to celebrate her nomination for the Women of the Year awards, Harper's Bazaar asked Marcel to take part in Helena Bonham Carter's photoshoot for their December 2019 issue!
THE email we received asking us to take part in the shoot was probably the most exciting we had in 2019! Those often require weeks of keeping this a secret - the worst part really.
When it finally did, on a September morning, myself and Marcel jumped on a cab heading to North West London, and a grand private home that had been rented for the occasion. We were greeted by a large crew composed of assistants, designers, haute couture gowns, jewellery (with its own bodyguards)... as well as legendary photographer Pamela Hanson and the one and only Helena Bonham Carter!
Ms Carter was the nicest person, chatting to us during and between the different takes, even in French for a while. She loved Marcel and how well trained and "pro" he is, and told us about the puppy she'd recently welcomed home, so we exchanged some dog training tips!
As with most big photoshoots like this we were on location for several hours, but only taking photos for less than 5 minutes, at two occasions. We've now got extensive experience of these but the crew does not always (although in this case we were extremely well cared for, fed, kept hydrated, with a space to rest and chill).
As a result of this, it is very important for the handler (sometimes the owner, other times the handler of an agency - I personally only accept gigs when I can be there as feel Marcel would be confused otherwise) to make sure to put the needs of the dog first, and be their voice. I always remind myself that the owner decided for the dog to be there, and the dog will happily so if it is an environment they are at ease with, and they are kept happy and not pushed or stressed out.
With Marcel on set we play games (I always bring a toy amongst other things), work on our tricks, take naps (if possible away from the often busy set)... and I will not hesitate to step in and interrupt or ask for a break if I feel that he is getting tired or overworked.
You won't often see behind the scenes that I shot for confidentiality reasons but also because my job is to make sure he is never stressed out and is always safe and happy, and to keep an eye on him.
Because Marcel is used to the environment, trained to the camera (including to studio flashes) and I always make sure he is kept happy (yes that involves treats usually, and some drooling on a Ralph & Russo haute couture gown here... whoops) the shot was short and sweet.
The result? A couple of gorgeous, gorgeous shots and memories we will cherish for a long time!
Would you like more information on what happens on set? What we bring with us? How we prepare? What the regulations are? Leave a comment with your question(s) - or message me on Instagram and I'll happily elaborate in a new post in the future :)
Behind the scenes video: