‘The Grinch’ scene-stealer: Max the faithful dog makes every heart grow three sizes

If you want to make Benedict Cumberbatch go all mushy, just mention Max, the adorable canine companion to the nasty Grinch.

“It’s those cute puppy eyes. It’s all about the eyes,” says Cumberbatch, who stars as the Christmas-loathing green-skinned creature in the new animated film “The Grinch” (now in theaters). “Max is the world’s greatest dog, let alone the Grinch’s best companion. Anyone should be so lucky to have a Max in their life.”

Animator Chuck Jones made Max a major player in the beloved 1966 TV special “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (which airs Friday on NBC). The pooch has played major roles in the 2000 live-action movie, alongside Jim Carrey’s Grinch.

In the new box office hit “The Grinch,” Max’s central role is fleshed out even further. He continues to take the brunt of much of Mr. Grinch’s bad moods, but he gets more begrudging love from his cranky master.

“If it wasn’t for Max, the Grinch’s heart wouldn’t just be too small. It wouldn’t exist,” says director Scott Mosier. “The Grinch does love the dog. He’s just not that open about that love. But you can see there is someone in there.”

Maybe it’s just that Max is a good dog. But in the film, Max shows that there must be some good in the Grinch under all those crusty layers.

“Max sees something the audience is not seeing. He knows this guy,” says Mosier. “It’s that unconditional love that makes Max so appealing.”

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