*We covered this story the other day but dang, I hadn’t seen the video. It’s one thing to hear of a frightened animal, but seeing it is another. You may recall the story about the upcoming film, ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ being under fire after a video was leaked showing a frightened German shepherd dog being coerced into rushing water.
Poor baby did not want to go!
We always think of this breed of dog as tough. I mean, heck, they’re police dogs right? But clearly, this German shepherd was scared. And now we’ve got our hot little hands on the video that shows it.
But I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t seen the footage. Apparently, the film’s producer hadn’t either; and when he did, he said he was “appalled!”
Gavin Polone penned an article in Hollywood Reporter saying how as producer, ” much of my identity is fused with the belief that I am a lover and defender of animals and their welfare.”
Love of animals defines my existence, and that love is what drove me to struggle for years to get Bruce Cameron’s brilliant and widely cherished novel about the bond between a person and a dog made into a movie. In part, my feelings about animals were formed as a child by films like Sounder and Born Free and TV shows like Lassie. I wanted to promote the feelings I developed for animals by making a meaningful movie about the same. So now, the idea that I’m connected to an accusation of the abuse of a dog is, to understate it, painful.
Polone, who has written several articles in HR, said he had been on the set at least 70 percent of the time during the films 11-week production and closely observed how the animals and trainers, who were from a company called Birds and Animals Unlimited, interacted. Not once did he witness anything that would have led him to suspect what he saw on the TMZ video.
But as you may recall, PETA immediately called for a boycott of the film. I must admit, as mad as I was, er, am, I’ve been looking forward to seeing this film. Polone said after the video was released on TMZ he also started getting messages on social media from folks; some politely asking what happened and others being a bit more brutal.
THE GERMAN SHEPHERD IS ONE OF FIVE DOGS USED IN THE FILM.
Still, he said, he wasn’t surprised as he has taken the same actions whenever he thought an animal was being mistreated.
I spoke to Holly Bario, the president of production at Amblin Partners, the film’s studio. She told me they were investigating how this could happen and would hold those responsible to account: what I wanted to hear. Cynically, I could say that the executives at the studio were looking to protect their asset, and that is true, but I also know they are all dog lovers and caring people, and I believe they were genuinely concerned about the welfare of all the animals on the movie.
Last Thursday, I went to Amblin’s office and watched all the film shot on the day in question, as well as saw video from the trainers and still photographs. As with the TMZ video that you saw, two things were evident: 1) the dog handler tries to force the dog, for 35 to 40 seconds, into the water when, clearly, he didn’t want to go in; and 2) in a separate take filmed sometime later, the dog did go into the water, on his own, and, at the end, his head is submerged for about 4 seconds. These two things are absolutely INEXCUSABLE and should NEVER have happened.
Read more on this at Hollywood Reporter. Watch disturbing video directly below.
Do you think this controversy will keep audiences away from the film? Will YOU go?