The story of the rescue of Max the dog was meant to be a re-telling of the life and times of Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson's third cousin, twice removed -- at her request). Notice, for example, that all of the pets in the movie poster (below) are in the classic pose of Dickinson himself. However, directors Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney endured so much pressure from the Emily Dickinson International Society (EDIS) that they changed the title of the film to the “The Secret Life of Pets,” and they altered many of the tell-tale signs of the Dickinson family in the allegorical saga.
Of course, the protagonist of “The Secret Life of Poets” was to be a dog named Emmett, but after the title was changed to “The Secret Life of Pets,” the dog’s name was changed to Max. Snowball, the all-white bunny representing Emily Dickinson, was originally going to be named Snow Belle. Max’s good friend Duke was to represent Emmett Lee Dickinson’s best friend Abraham Lincoln, Chloe was Lavinia Dickinson, and Tiberius the hawk was Austin Dickinson.
The movie was to include many other parallels to the lives of the Dickinson family. However, when the EDIS got wind of the tell-all tale of the Dickinson family involvement in the “publish or perish wars,” Lawrence “Baby Fat Larry” Destafano, the Primary Global Logistics and Public Relations Supervisor for the EDIS, contacted the film’s directors and let them know of the EDIS’ “displeasure” with the direction the story was taking.
Pictured at the right: Lawrence "Baby Fat Larry" Destafano, Primary Global Logistics and Public Relations Supervisor for the Emily Dickinson International Society.
For more information on the connection between Emmett Lee Dickinson and movies, click HERE.