What follows is an exclusive, imaginary interview between Inside the Actor's Studio's James Lipton and Beverly Hills Chihuahua star, Rusco.
James Lipton: Our guest tonight is Rusco, the instantly iconic star of Disney's brilliant new epic, Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Commonly, when a Chihuahua talks, we'll call that Chihuahua a "talking Chihuahua." Rusco is more than that. Rusco is an "acting Chihuahua." He moves us. He inspires us. And, I might add, for a dangerously inbred beast with a brain the size of a ping-pong ball, he has delightful comic timing.
Rusco: Oh, stop, strange bald man with an accent even weirder than mine! You're making me blush.
Lipton (To audience): You see, you see! Delightful! (Pause.) Rusco, let us begin at the beginning. In fact, at the beginning of the beginning. At the age of just three-hours-old, your mother literally tried to eat you.
"Freddie [Prinze, Jr.] never tried to push me that way [towards acting]. As a young child, I was very much interested in, you know, sticks. And treats. But acting? No, no interest."
Lipton: That's not just a tabloid rumor?
Rusco: No. Well, technically, it's true. But it's not like, you know, when Brooke Shields tried to eat her baby. For Chihuahuas, filial cannibalism is not uncommon behavior.
Lipton: Now, on your birth certificate, your name is listed as Marvin Applebaum.
Rusco: (Taken aback). Wow. You really do your research.
Lipton: Applebaum doesn't sound Chihuahuan.
Rusco: I'm not a purebred -- I've never made a secret of that. But I don't really talk about my bio-father. Now, my father -- the man I consider my father, and my mother, and my own personal Dr. Phil -- he's a wonderful man.
Lipton: You speak of actor and humanitarian Freddie Prinze, Jr.
Rusco: I do. Daddy doesn't really like to publicize it, but he's pretty much the Angelina Jolie of mixed-lineage toy breeds. I have 17 adopted brothers and sisters, and he loves every one of us as if we'd been whelped by Sarah Michelle Geller herself.
Lipton: Oh, that's wonderful! But seventeen brothers and sisters? Remind me not to go barefoot on Freddie Prinze, Jr.'s lawn!
Rusco: You do have to watch your step.
Lipton: So. Freddie Prinze. Jr. The magnetic, second-male lead of the memorably macabre teen screamfest, I Know What You Did Last Summer. Was it Freddie's influence that first inspired you to take up the craft of acting?
Rusco: Actually, no. Freddie never tried to push me that way. As a young child, I was very much interested in, you know, sticks. And treats. But acting? No, no interest. I did, like, tap-dancing though. Freddie is a very accomplished tap dancer, and that's the passion he shared with me.
Lipton: My father was absent from my life when I was a child. Parental divorce. It must have been wonderful to have a tap-dancing father who loved you. Even if he wasn't the same species.
Rusco: It was. But as far as the acting goes, there's kind of an interesting story behind that.
"I'm just saying, gimme a shot, you know? I mean, there's a 50-50 chance Jonah Hill's gonna soil your carpets too, right? And he's getting work all the time."
Lipton: Tell us! And don't spare a single detail. My brain is on the edge of my seat.
Rusco: Well, Freddie put me in obedience school. Which I deserved. After he had me neutered, I started acting out, you know? Peeing on his vintage comic books and stuff.
Lipton: Obedience school! I think I would have smacked you with a rake!
Rusco: I know, right? I got off lucky. Obedience school. Which, it turns out, Tea Leoni had enrolled David Duchovny in, too. The whole sex addict thing. So me and David met there, and we hit it off pretty well, and eventually I started tagging along with him to his auditions and stuff, and that's how I got into the biz.
Lipton: What a wonderful story!
Rusco: If David wasn't always mounting strangers' legs, I'd probably be, like, I don't know, a carpenter or something. I like chewing on things.
Lipton: Yes! Indeed! But now you're an actor. A very fine actor! And your role as the fearless, lovestruck Papi in Beverly Hills Chihuahua made me laugh, and it made me sob like a wounded loon, and it made my heart dance like a swarm of tiny meth-crazed butterflies on a hot spring afternoon in Provence. Are you worried, though, that you're going to be typecast as a talking Chihuahua?
Rusco: James, I'm a realist. When you're tiny, hairy, and only intermittently housebroken, there's a lot of glass ceilings in this town. I mean, just ask the Olsen Twins.
Lipton: (Nodding sympathetically) It's one of the ugly things about our business. The silly preoccupation with toilet training.
Rusco: I'm just saying, gimme a shot, you know? I mean, there's a 50-50 chance Jonah Hill's gonna soil your carpets too, right? And he's getting work all the time.
Lipton: Rusco, this conversation has been extraordinary. To close, I have a question that I like to ask all my guests. If heaven -- or in your case, doggy heaven -- exists, what would you like to hear Doggy God say to you when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Rusco: Hey, Rusco, how's it going? Want your nuts back?