If you’re a dog lover, this movie will make your day. However, a certain video connected to the movie that leaked several days ago might trigger your dog-loving side in all the wrong ways.
The upcoming A Dog’s Purpose feature film, starring Dennis Quaid, has been in the news lately due to a video from the set being leaked. Amblin Entertainment, the production company working on the flick, has announces on January 19 that it was canceling the premiere of the movie, as well as the press junket, amid the controversy surrounding the movie. The controversy sparked over the video that allegedly to show a dog being abused during filming.
The mentioned on-set footage was posted by TMZ, and it showed a handler trying to put a dog (a German shepherd named Hercules) into a pool of rushing water, while the dog tries to jump out of the pool. A voice in the background can be heard saying “He wants to get away. Just throw him in.”
Lasse Halstrom, the director of the movie, voiced his concerns about Hercules’ treatment, as well as Josh Gad (the actor who voices the dog) and PETA, an animal rights organization.
The AHA representative who was responsible for enforcing safety rules for animals on the set of A Dog’s Purpose has been suspended since the release of the video.
Amblin Entertainment and Universal Studios issued a joint statement in which they explained why they have decided that it was in the movie’s best interest to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket. “Because Amblin’s review into the edited video released yesterday is still ongoing, distributor Universal Pictures has decided it is in the best interest of A Dog’s Purpose to cancel this weekend’s premiere and press junket,” the statement read. “Amblin and Universal do not want anything to overshadow this film that celebrates the relationship between animals and humans.”
Prior to the statement, the production company had said that they were reviewing the video, and that they were communicating with people associated with the production of the movie, including trainers, safety personnel, and stunt coordinators. They also included the result of their in-depth review of what happened on the set in the statement: “While we are all disheartened by the appearance of an animal in distress, everyone has assured us that Hercules the German shepherd was not harmed throughout the film-making.” They also added that they are still supporting the film, and that they’re incredibly proud of it.
The mentioned troubling video was shot in 2015, which makes the situation even weirder than it is. Why would someone hold on to the video for over a year, only to try to ruin the whole production just a week away from the premiere?
The premiere of A Dog’s Purpose is rescheduled for next Friday.