Noted casting director and producer Bonnie Timmermann’s new children’s book, Chocolate at the Four Seasons (Little, Brown, $16.99), chronicles the short but charmed life of a little Chihuahua named Chocolate. But it’s probably better if parents don’t tell their tots the backstory.
A couple of years ago, the actor, boxer and small-dog enthusiast Mickey Rourke was in a deep depression. He was in the middle of moving, and one of his Chihuahuas, Beau Jack, had died.
Ms. Timmermann, a friend since after dating Mr. Rourke during the filming of 1984’s The Pope of Greenwich Village, which she cast, decided to pay a home visit. “I was a little worried about him,” she said. “I went to his house and Mickey was holding onto one dog all the time, and there was another dog in the corner, a little brown dog. I said, ‘Hey, who’s that?’ And the dog literally jumped up in my lap. So Mickey said, ‘O.K., you guys, I’m just too busy, you take the dog.’”
The dog was one of Beau Jack’s six pups. “He always got on your nerves,” said Mr. Rourke by phone from Uruguay, where he is filming The Informers, based on the Bret Easton Ellis novel. “Because he always had his tail between his legs and he would shake, which used to bother me a lot, you know, because that’s a symptom of somebody that’s been kicked in the ass or something. Nobody ever touched him. He was just hyper. When he would sleep, he would shake. I used to go, ‘Chocolate, I can’t fuckin’ sleep with you sittin’ here shaking.’”
The actor admitted: “When Beau Jack died I was really hard on Chocolate. I used to say, ‘Why the fuck am I stuck with you, why did your father have to die.’ And he’d look at me like he heard me.”
So began Ms. Timmermann’s approximately nine-and-half-week love affair with the animal, which she said had been malnourished and neglected. She took him back to her hotel room at the Four Seasons. Staffers were charmed; the chef delivered chopped chicken to Chocolate daily. Ms. Timmermann was casting Blackhawk Down at the time, and would bring the new pet around in her chauffeured limousine to meetings. Actors, directors, even producer Jerry Bruckheimer went nuts. Chocolate was thriving with all the attention.
Then Ms. Timmermann got a call from Mr. Rourke, saying that the dog’s sister Loki was “comatose without her brother.” Reluctantly, she brought the pup back to the actor’s house, and the fuzzy siblings were reunited. “He ran straight up to her, and they licked each other from head to toe,” she said.
Sadly Chocolate died last year, apparently of a faulty heart. “I never saw anyone fight so hard to stay alive,” Mr. Rourke said. “The night before he died, he ate a gigantic T-bone steak. He was always a finicky eater, but he just tore into this steak.”
The actor added that he’d grown to love the skittish pooch. “What I did admire about Chocolate, especially toward the end, was that he was extremely protective of his little sister Loki.”
Perhaps with good reason.