Keira Knightley Fought a Dog for Screen Time

Keira Knightley, Steve Carell and Aleister the dog in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Darren Michaels/Focus Features

updated 06/21/2012 AT 9:40 AM ET

originally published 06/21/2012 AT 9:45 AM ET

Keira Knightley found herself in a dogfight – for screen time – when her four-legged costar in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World turned out to be more of a screen hog than a screen dog.

“He had an amazing ability to find the camera,” Knightley told PEOPLE of dog Aleister. “Even if he wasn’t meant to be in a shot, you’d suddenly find him. It’d be my close-up and suddenly the dog would be right there licking my face.”

Aleister, a rescued terrier mix, plays Sorry, a dog whose owner leaves him tied to an unconscious Steve Carell in the apocalypse movie with a twist.

“He’s a lovely, lovely dog with pretty bad breath,” Carell said at the movie’s Los Angeles Film Festival premiere. “But apart from that, just a joy to work with.”

Carell confirmed that he witnessed Knightley’s struggle to keep Aleister from upstaging her scenes. “He was always getting in Keira’s shot,” he said. “Below frame, she was always pulling him down so his head [wouldn’t be in the shot].”

“He had this uncanny ability to find the lens,” Carell added. “But he wouldn’t look into the lens – he’d just kind of open himself up [to it].”

In spite of his scene-stealing behavior – “He’s a star, obviously,” Knightley said – Aleister garnered plenty of praise from his human co-star. Said Knightley, “Aleister is an amazing, amazing dog.”

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