DOG is directed by Reid Carolin, who also serves as a co-writer, and Channing Tatum, who stars in the film as Army Ranger Briggs. Before the film’s release, I had the chance to attend a press conference with the duo, where they discussed many different aspects of making the comedy. The movie is now in theaters!
DOG is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they’ll drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards in order to have a fighting chance of finding happiness.
Tatum spoke about the multiple dogs who play Lulu, saying, “Belgian Malinois’ and Dutch Shepherds, which they’re basically the same dog, they’re just different colors, they are primarily the work dogs in these high-level, multipurpose canine spots for all the teams, like Navy Seals, Rangers, Special Forces. On any of the teams, these are like the ultimate tool. If you’ve not been around them, they are different animals, they are not your normal dog. It’s hard to describe it, their brains, their minds work so fast. I liken it to when a cat sort of sleeps all day and then does something so fast that you can’t even quite understand how they just did it so fast? You’re just like, ‘what just happened?’ And because a cat can move really fast, their mind works really fast when it wants to. These dogs are like that a hundred percent of the time.”
“They’re switched on, they’re hyper, they love working, they wanna constantly be doing something. They’re almost like a shark, sort of just pace and be like, ‘what are we doing, what are we doing, what are we doing, what are we doing?’ I own a Dutch Shepherd now and she is very much the same. You can’t go to the bathroom without her being like, ‘I’m coming with you, this is what we’re doing.’ So, I would never wanna do a movie ever, without doing it with one of these dogs. Like, if I get, later in my life, offered a movie to do a part that has a dog, I’m probably gonna say no,” the actor and co-director continued. “These dogs are really specifically set up to want to do this job. They never got tired. They never didn’t want to do a stunt. They were just ready to rock the whole time. I’ve worked on other movies that had little moments with other animals other than horses, like horses are generally amazing to work with, but dogs and cats? Nah. These are the only dogs I’ll work with.”
Co-director and co-writer Reid Carolin expressed what he hopes audiences take away from the film, “Well, honestly, I hope they have a great time at the movie theater. I just hope people laugh a lot, I hope people stay engaged with the film, and they’re gonna take from it whatever they take from it, but I hope they get a window into a world of people and animals that we rarely ever get to see. This community of special operations soldiers, canine handlers specifically, and their dogs really gifted us incredible access to their culture. They started gifting that to us in a documentary that we did with them for HBO called War Dog. This was a handful of years ago and that story kind of continued or our friendships with them continued into this movie. Those guys were on set with us for a lot of the movie. They’re with us now doing press, their dogs are always around. I hope people get to see how extraordinary they are and how incredible the bonds between these soldiers and these animals are, and really how thin the line is between animal and human.”
Tatum also shared the inspiration for DOG: “This whole movie kind of was — I guess the inspiration or the theme of the movie came from an experience I had with my first dog. Again, like I had dogs my whole life, but Lulu was my dog that I raised from like six months or six weeks old. I mean, she was just a little tiny ball of fur and grew into a big strong Catahoula Pitbull mix and she lived about 11 years. She got sick, took her on a road trip in some of her last days, and made some really profound sort of lessons in those last days with her of just like surrendering and acceptance.”