Manitoba

Meet the rescue pup stealing hearts in the latest Hallmark movie shot in Winnipeg

He was so excited he blew the audition, but producers of a locally-shot TV movie took a chance on a scruffy rescue pup and now he's a doggone movie star. 

Wilson, a 1-year-old terrier mix, stars in Merry & Bright

Wilson, a one-year-old terrier mix, stars in Hallmark Channel TV movie Merry & Bright, which was shot in Winnipeg this spring. (Submitted/Emily Lowes )

He was so excited he blew the audition, but producers of a locally-shot TV movie took a chance on a scruffy rescue pup and now he's a doggone movie star. 

Wilson, a one-year-old terrier mix, has a feature role in the movie Merry & Bright, a Hallmark Channel film shot in Winnipeg. 

Wilson lives with Emily Lowes and her brother Spencer, who adopted him as a puppy. 

A dog trainer herself, Emily says she noticed Wilson was a smart, but naughty, young pup who loved to learn new tricks and come along with her when she was working. 

Wilson with his co-owner, Emily Lowes, who is a dog trainer. (Submitted/Emily Lowes )

Because of her work, she heard through Manitoba Animal Actors that the Hallmark Channel production was looking for a small, scruffy dog to cast in their new film being shot in the city in the spring. 

A ruff start 

When it came time for Wilson to audition, he didn't exactly put his best paw forward, Lowes said. 

"He was very excited to be there, so he just kept getting up and breaking his stays and wanted to go see everyone," she said. 

"So I mean, he's just being a typical dog but with acting, you really need to make sure that they stay in the position that you put them in."

Despite not making the best first impression, the director and producers cast Wilson as well as his sister Poppy as a stand-in. 

In typical Hallmark movie fashion, the film is a romantic comedy, centering around leading lady Cate, played by Jodie Sweetin, who works to make her candy cane company profitable while finding love during the holidays. 

Wilson loved his time on the set of Merry & Bright, Lowes said. (Submitted/Emily Lowes )

But in the subplot of the movie, Cate's mother secretly adopts a dog for her daughter for Christmas, and has to hide the dog until the holiday so it can be a surprise. 

The pup certainly had a few fans on Twitter. 

Seeing how happy Wilson was to be on set was the best part of the experience, Lowes said. 

"I was just really proud of him, especially because he was six, seven months old when he filmed this and he just did so well," she said. 

"He just nailed the scenes." 

Since filming on Merry & Bright wrapped, Wilson has had another audition, and been featured in ads for dog food companies, but no film roles yet. 

Wilson has been on another audition since filming Merry & Bright, in the hopes of getting a taste of movie stardom. (Submitted/Emily Lowes )

"We're hoping that maybe he'll get another opportunity to be on film because he's really good at it and he likes it a lot," Lowes said. 

Merry & Bright is now playing on repeat on the W Network. 

Wilson, a one-year-old terrier mix, stars in Hallmark Channel TV movie Merry & Bright, which was shot in Winnipeg this spring. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

With files from Janice Grant

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