In The Animal (opening tomorrow), Rob Schneider plays a one-man menagerie plagued with an array of animal instincts — which include sniffing crotches, eating raw meat and seducing barnyard critters. While co-writing the screenplay, the SNL alum was inspired by watching When Animals Attack. Little did he know how prophetic it would prove in working with his creature co-stars!

"You don't see orangutans in a lot of movies because they're very dangerous and unpredictable," says Schneider, who so displeased one grumpy primate during production that trainers had to haul the beast off the set. A hulking young orangutan named Louie then took over. "Louie and I got along famously," he recalls. "Although my neck still hurts a little from when he put me in a headlock."

Fortunately, Schneider found former Survivor castaway Colleen Haskell a much more docile co-star. "She's adorable," he enthuses. "What she did naturally at the audition, all the other actresses were trying to act to be. Plus, she's got a smile that just melts you."

While Haskell plays the human object of Schneider's affections in the film, this beauty has some beastly competition — namely, a female goat in heat. "That goat was a complete jerk to me," deadpans the comic, who admits that most of his amorous advances toward the livestock hit the cutting-room floor. "At one point, I had my pants down and my shirt off and you see the goat's tail tickling my nipples — I guess that was a little too much."

Is he worried critics might crack down on humor that borders on the bestial? "I'm not a guy who gets really good reviews, which is fine," Schneider shrugs. "I just try to do films that make me laugh, and I don't really worry about the rest."