‘Hawkeye’ stars on the challenges and privileges of working with Lucky the Pizza Dog

Who’s the breakout star of Hawkeye? Nope, it’s not Clint Barton or arguably even Kate Bishop, as Marvel fans everywhere have fallen for Lucky the Pizza Dog, the adorable, one-eyed Golden Retriever adopted by the archers amid their quest to bring down the Tracksuit Mafia. He’s a joy to watch on the Disney Plus series, but it turns out it was a challenge to both find the right canine actor to bring the role to life and keep him on track while filming.

Marvel.com has shared an article that goes behind the scenes of Pizza Dog’s MCU debut, including revealing the surprisingly thorough audition process of casting him. The lucky dog who ended up playing Lucky is Jolt, who is something of a social media star in real life. Yes, Jolt has an Instagram and if you follow now you can say you were one of Jolt’s first 23,000 followers.

As producer Trinh Tran explained:

“We had several dogs; we had photos and we put the dogs on tape in terms of what they can do,” Tran said with a laugh. “We went on from there, trying to really figure out which is the best dog to play Pizza Dog. And Jolt, our amazing dog on set, was cast for it.”

Marvel also spoke with Jolt’s human co-stars Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld, who revealed that they loved working with the good boy — even though he proved to be a bit of an unpredictable scene partner on some occasions. In particular, he has a serious weakness for squirrels.

“It was so fun; I am such a dog lover,” Hailee Steinfeld gushed. “The minute I knew Pizza Dog was as much a part of this show as he is, I was very excited. It was definitely a challenge; the dog is unbelievably well-trained — do not get me wrong — but it is a dog. When it sees a squirrel, it wants to have a moment with the squirrel.”

Steinfeld was referring to filming on scenes for this week’s episode three, titled “Echoes,” that involved Clint, Kate, and Pizza Dog walking through the squirrel-filled Washington Square Park. Renner added:

“We are trying to have a very serious walk-and-talk through Washington Square Park,” stated Renner. “I can get a lot of important information out as I’m carrying a backpack, a quiver and a bow, and all these other things. And then I’ve got this dog that is trying to, again, have a moment with a squirrel. So, difficult at times but mainly very fun.”

Renner stressed that, though he wasn’t sure what his character felt towards Pizza Dog exactly, he definitely had a lot of affection for the pooch, even with his squirrel-chasing habits.

“I ended up loving the dog a lot, he’s well trained,” up until “a squirrel would come around.”

In the same piece, Tran states that Pizza Dog was part of the series from day one due to his importance in the source material. “In the comics, in Matt Fraction and David Aja’s run, Pizza Dog is number three on the call sheet,” she said. It then became a question of how to work him into the story in “an organic way” that “showcases [Kate’s] character and her traits as a hero.”

See more of Clint, Kate, and Lucky the Pizza Dog as Hawkeye continues Wednesdays on Disney Plus.