- Channing Tatum’s new movie “DOG” shares a pro-American message by shining a light on the tenacity and grit of soldiers even when they are not on the battlefield.
- Tatum credits his own dog Lulu, who died in 2018, as the inspiration for the movie.
- Reid Carolin, who also made his directorial debut, and Tatum previously worked with Special Operations soldiers, canine handlers, and their dogs for the HBO documentary, “War Dog.” According to the featurette, retired Army Rangers and dog handlers worked as “full-time consultants” for the film.
Channing Tatum’s new movie “DOG” shares a pro-American message by shining a light on the tenacity and grit of soldiers even when they are not on the battlefield.
Tatum, best known for “Magic Mike” and “21 Jump Street,” not only co-stars in the film as Army Ranger Jackson Briggs, but also made his directorial debut in the film about a former Army Ranger and a Belgian Malinois military dog who travel down the Pacific Coast to attend her handler’s funeral.
Briggs suffers from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), yet he is determined to return to work. When he is assigned to transport Lulu, Briggs hopes that in return, his commanding officer will recommend he can return to active duty. His assignment turns out to be a bit more challenging than he expected.
Lulu, who is a Purple Heart recipient and played by three different dogs, lunges at him for touching her ear. During their road trip, she is very restless, rips his car’s seats, breaks out of her crate, and even runs away to a farm growing marijuana – just to name a few incidents. As their journey together progresses, however, Briggs has a change of heart for his four-legged co-pilot.
“It starts just wanting to do the job and then it’s like, wanting maybe her to have a good last like few days, you know, on this planet. You know, she was a soldier just like him,” Tatum said at a press conference for the movie.
Tatum credits his own dog Lulu, who died in 2018, as the inspiration for the movie.
“We loved going on adventures and finding new places,” he said in the movie’s featurette. “Just me and her in the truck. During those road trips, I really did learn, I think, kind of the core of this film, which is to surrender.” (RELATED: Watch Adam Sandler In The Trailer For Netflix’s New Movie ‘Hustle)
Reid Carolin, who also made his directorial debut, and Tatum previously worked with Special Operations soldiers, canine handlers, and their dogs for the HBO documentary, “War Dog.” According to the featurette, retired Army Rangers and dog handlers worked as “full-time consultants” for the film.
“Our friendships with them continued into this movie,” Carolin said at the movie’s press conference. “Those guys were on set with us for a lot of the movie. They’re with us, you know, 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,” he said. “And really how thin the line is between animal and human.”
Tatum expressed his admiration for the dogs and their work ethic.
“These dogs are really specifically set up to want to do this job. They never got tired,” Tatum said while describing the Belgian Malinois who starred in the movie. “They never didn’t want to do a stunt. They were just ready to rock the whole time.” (RELATED: Watch An Inside Look At Tom Holland In ‘Uncharted’)
In addition to the lighthearted and comedic elements of the movie, “DOG” also brings some very serious issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and TBI, into focus. Tatum’s character struggles with both PTSD and a TBI, and Lulu exemplified how a dog can help a suffering soldier.
“I think really for us, the intention was just to be honest,” Carolin said while discussing how the PTSD dimension was played out through Brigg’s character. “And to portray the experiences of the characters who really inspired us to make the movie and to look at that culture and, you know, put a lens on it without much of a filter.”
“I think what we saw is that when a lot of these guys who gave us access to their lives came home from war,” he said, “and transitioned out of the military and out of that tribe of guys where they had a lot of meaning to this new life being a civilian where you have a completely different set of rules, completely different meaning.”
Carolin continued that “their dogs were essential elements to helping them make that transition, helping them heal, helping them feel like they had meaning and community and love.”
Throughout each and every moment Briggs and Lulu share together, “DOG” shares a heartwarming message about the unbreakable bond between a veteran and a man’s best friend.
MGM’s “DOG” is now in theaters. You can watch a sneak peek of the movie below:
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect that Gregory Jacobs, Peter Kiernan and Brett Rodriguez produced the film. Lulu was also played by three Belgian Malinois.
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