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Feature FilmTVVoice Acting

Louis C.K. Is No Longer Fit To Play A Dog: Multiple Animated Projects In Disarray After Louis C.K. Admits To Sexually Harassing Women

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment confirmed this afternoon that they have “terminated their relationship” with Louis C.K., removing him from the starring role of Max the terrier in The Secret Life of Pets franchise.

The news comes on the same day that the actor-comedian confirmed that he had sexually harassed at least five women, performing lewd acts in their presence without their consent.

Illumination will recast Louis C.K.’s role in the upcoming Secret Life of Pets sequel, scheduled to open on June 7, 2019. The original movie was the sixth-highest-earning theatrical release worldwide in 2016, grossing over $875 million.

Replacing Louis C.K. with another actor will be challenging for the film’s creative crew since the personality of Max was custom-designed for the now-disgraced comedian. “Louis has such a unique and dry and distinctive personality, and it’s the first time he has voiced a character in an animated movie,” Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri explained in the first film’s press notes. “He is one of my favorite comedians, and one of [director] Chris [Renaud]’s. Whether it was writing for him, animating to his voice, or designing for him, the whole team loved working with him. He brings such distinction to the personality that it gave to Max.”

Numerous other production companies have also cut ties or suspended projects in which Louis C.K. was involved, including TBS, which is producing the marginal-looking animated series The Cops, co-created by and starring the comedian.

"The Cops."
“The Cops.”

In a statement, TBS stated, “Production on The Cops has been suspended until further review.” That likely means that the project won’t be outright cancelled, but will rather be recast with a new voice actor.

Meanwhile, FX Networks and FX Productions, producers of the animated series, have also cut ties with Louis C.K. In a statement, they said, “He will no longer serve as executive producer or receive compensation on any of the four shows we were producing with him – Better Things, Baskets, One Mississippi, and The Cops.” Starburns Industries is the studio producing the show, and the people most immediately affected by the production hold is the artist crew at Starburns.

Louis C.K. co-created The Cops with Albert Brooks. Ten episodes had been scheduled to launch starting January 2018.

  • Taxation is theft

    Where are the pussy hats marches when you need them…

  • Patrick Collins

    Are Pixar re-recording pedophile Kevin Spacey’s work on Bug’s Life?

    • Andres Molina

      I think Kevin Spacey works works in context with A Bug’s life, since Spacey has done something bad, and Hopper is the antagonist, or a character we would root against.

      • I would think stuff that was made over 20 years ago probably wouldn’t need to be redone unless they were that concerned over it (they could just downplay his role in later airings/re-releases).

    • Barrett

      I certainly hope not. Making bad actors into un-people in existing creative works is draconian and I dare say fascistic. If nobody going forward wants to hire Kevin Spacey or other serial abusers again, that’s their right, and if audiences want to boycott any future creative works that might involve those people, that too is their right. But retroactively removing voices or visuals of actors from existing works just because they later proved to be scummy is simply wrong. Censorship of that sort is more in line with Soviet Russia than a free nation.

      • I agree 99%, you just lost me at “free nation”… where ? in the US ? *cough*

      • brian prince

        We remove statues of long dead soldiers, right ? Yay for censorship, right?

    • Daxx Maximum

      Does it matter? He was playing a villain to begin with…

  • Ryan Cullen

    I personally found Louis C.K.’s performance in the first film not bad, but also not all that interesting. There just wasn’t anything all that distinctive to his voice acting. So, the fact that he will be replaced is not a huge deal personally. Just as long as Jenny Slate comes back, who I felt stole the first film.

    • raucous cat

      Completely agree.

    • Barrett

      I honestly forgot he was the dog. Since I found the whole film kind of forgettable, I suppose it follows.

      I could see various people easily taking his place. Seth Rogen, if he toned his more exaggerated exclamations down a bit, for instance.

  • Emilio Aguinaldo

    so he finally admits…..now what

  • Mark Rossmore

    I enjoyed Secret Life of Pets, but I had no idea he played Max. There wasn’t anything all that distinctive about his voice or performance in it, so I don’t believe a swap out would harm the end result at all. I’ll admit I’ve never seen much of his work, so I also didn’t have any expectations from his voice acting.

    • Needless to say I only recall him from his appearance on an episode of Comedy Central’s “Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist”. Of course that was over 20 years ago…

    • Roca

      It’s really weird that they chose CK as the “big star” to sell this film anyway, considering that he’s not exactly a family friendly comedian. There are tons of better choices out there.

  • My name is Rio

    C.K. is one of the many byproducts of the same media machine that makes you like what you don’t used to like. So I am no surprised about this outcome at all.

    Now I hope new features focus on story/character development over a flavor-of-the-year-phony-celebrity.

  • Barrett

    Trying to figure out which part of that headline is more disappointing; Louis CK losing any upcoming voice acting gigs, or that they’re making another Secret Life of Pets.

    • Secret Life of Pets did make over $875 million worldwide. No question they would make a sequel.

  • Slim Cognito

    this is obviously a PR move. they easily could’ve done something and not hired him to begin with in the first place. they all knew. they’re just upset the public knows about it.

    • In the past, they would’ve been hush-hush about it and just get a new guy and say nothing. That’s how studios used to act.

  • I don’t think replacing Louis C.K. will be that difficult for the Secret Life of Pets sequel. And I’m sure they will make it work if they want to try and make over a billion this time around.

    • Polecat

      Replacing a voice actor for the sequel happens more than people realize, I think. Usually what happens is that the original actor becomes too big of a star and/or too busy to return to the franchise (Jon Lovitz did not return to play Radio in the “Brave Little Toaster” sequels, Burt Reynolds was replaced by Charlie Sheen in “All Dogs Go to Heaven 2”, etc.) And generally, the more time elapses between the premiere of the original feature and the premiere of the sequel, the more likely it is that this will happen. This is just a much more disturbing variation on that theme.

  • Glowworm

    I honestly saw this one coming. I knew they were going to get someone to replace him for the sequel.

  • Cale

    You know who I can see playing the character now? Patton Oswalt.

  • Trevor Keen

    Hollywood has forgiven Mel Gibson – it just took a few years. Louis CK and Spacey and the others can just go and lie on a beach for a while and then come back slowly. As for Harvey Weinstein, he’s a producer, not an actor, so he could still fund projects on the down-low. Not saying it’s right, but business is business, and righteous rage only lasts so long, especially when there are bux to be made.

  • Shayon Roy

    the american animation industry is crumbling down in ruins

  • SmileWithMe

    I’m pretty sure nobody would be able to tell if someone else voiced the part.
    it’s not like he has a memorable voice like that cable guy.

  • Peter Anderson

    There is a very small percentage of the viewers who would even know its Louis CK voicing the dog in Secret Life of Pets or any of the characters in the other series he voices. As a producer I feel so bad for the artists on all of those shows who are now out of a job coming up to the holidays, shame of him and I hope he can lay his head on his pillow at night and feel good about himself and think of all the lives he has effected in our animation community.

  • Polecat

    Nice headline, Amid. That is all. :)