Don’t Make a Run For the Border

Not all actors get special treatment all the time. Case in point: the bears from Dr. Doolittle 2, who were held at the border recently as they tried to enter Mexico for a Farmers Insurance shoot.

The pair, who are Canadian, were chosen by Campbell-Ewald after casting sessions in Canada and L.A. Impressive film credits notwithstanding, they didn’t need to be the Robert De Niros of the animal world. They simply had to be of a certain size, since the ad called for them to fit inside a minivan in order to tear it to pieces. “Some were too big for the car, which meant we couldn’t get the camera in,” says Campell-Ewald executive creative director Debbie Karnowsky.

The two-spot shoot was originally planned for Big Sur, Calif., where the shop could use a woodsy area for the “Unbearable” spot and the rocky coast for “Unsinkable,” in which a car plunges off a cliff and into the ocean. But Karnowsky says the coastal commission wasn’t keen on cars being thrown into the sea. The agency vowed to remove them from their watery grave but was denied permission.

Plan B: shoot the bear spot in Puerto Vallarta and the ocean scene in Careyes. But the bears ran into paperwork problems at the border and couldn’t clear customs. They spent six days in limbo, as the agency and crew headed off to Careyes to shoot the car spot first. “It seemed very long,” says Karnowsky. “We weren’t sure they were ever getting through.”

Finally, the bears were released and given a proper armed escort to Puerto Vallarta. “After all, they were international bears and stars of Dr. Doolittle 2,” says Karnowsky.