Milo Ventimiglia talks dogs, Kevin Costner and 'Art of Racing'

PHOTO: A scene from "The Art of Racing in the Rain."Play20th Century Fox
WATCH Milo Ventimiglia talks dogs, Costner and 'Art of Racing'

Milo Ventimiglia is breaking all the rules of acting. You've heard the saying, 'Never work with children or animals.' Yet Ventimiglia is starring in a new film opposite a child and a dog.

"And there I am happily," Ventimiglia said in a recent appearance on "Popcorn with Peter Travers." "This wasn't a role that I was afraid of. But it felt like something that I, we as an audience needed."

Ventimiglia added, "It's a human story. It's a story about a good father. It's a story about a good husband. It's a story about a lovely family that is teaching their dog Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) the life lessons it needs to imprint its soul so that when he becomes a human in his next life, he'll be ready to be a good person."

PHOTO: A scene from The Art of Racing in the Rain. 20th Century Fox
A scene from "The Art of Racing in the Rain."

Ventimiglia and Costner did not actually tape their scenes together.

"What a lovely co-star that I never got to work with," Ventimiglia said. He likened the process to real life. "It's much like, no one is hearing what their dog is actually thinking. There's no talking dogs in this. It's all the inner monologue of this dog as he's talking to himself."

Ventimiglia said he was well aware of the perils of working with dogs.

"One, they're going to steal the scene from you," Ventimiglia, 42, told Travers. "They're beautiful. And because they're animals, you have to respect that they're animals and take time and be patient with what they need to learn and what they need to do repetitive, over and over and over again, not distract them. I feel like people can be distracted. Yet we can handle a lot on our plate at any given time. Animals, it was task at hand. So it was a discipline of patience to just make sure that myself and the trainers were communicating, and that I was giving the dogs what they needed. And in turn, instinctually, they gave me what I needed as a scene partner."

PHOTO: Milo Ventimiglia appears on Popcorn with Peter Travers at ABC News studios, August 6, 2019, in New York. Emilie Richardson
Milo Ventimiglia appears on "Popcorn with Peter Travers" at ABC News studios, August 6, 2019, in New York.

Ventimiglia said he loves dogs. But he cannot be a dog owner.

"My life is kind of on the road and it's difficult," Ventimiglia said. "They had been trying all week with adoptable puppies that were beautiful and smelled delicious and all of that. But I'm not there right now. My life is full and brimming and brewing over. I need to make my parameters a little bigger to let a little more in."

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Watch the full interview with Peter Travers Milo Ventimiglia in the video above.