Meet the Hungarian animal trainer who works with Hollywood's biggest stars

Meet the Hungarian animal trainer who works with Hollywood's biggest stars
Copyright Reuters
Copyright Reuters
By Beatrix AsbothCristina Abellan-Matamoros
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Zoltan Horkai's four-legged crew have worked alongside multiple Hollywood stars


Training wild animals to act dangerous, loving or dreadful in movies — like the two deer in Hungary's Oscar-nominated film “On Body And Soul” by Ildikó Enyed — is often hard work.

But Zoltan Horkai, a Hungarian animal trainer, is a master at it. His wild animals appeared in many Hungarian and international movies, including Hollywood blockbusters.

"It was great to work together with Hellen Mirren, Anthony Hopkins, Gerard Depardieu," said Horkai.

He's currently working in two German movies. In one of them a boar is meant to wrestle a hunter.

Because most of the animals Horkai trains are from the wild, safety always comes first.

“Normally when we shoot with famous actors and their crew, we surround this bear with electric fence, so the camera has to be on the other side of the electric fence, not like now.”

The first step to prepping an animal for a shoot is getting them used to the cameras, what to do in the scene comes second.

The methods used to train an animal varies from species to species. A wolf can be motivated with food, for example

“We do not train them as dogs but rather we try to motivate them with natural methods. We try to get them to do the given task as if they were the ones who want to do it.”

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