Channing Tatum is back after a long hiatus. And this time he’s not just starring in the buddy comedy Dog: Wild Ride (only dogin English), but also makes his directorial debut. The film’s origins are based on Tatum’s own experience taking a trip to Southern California with his own dog, Lulu, who died of cancer in 2018..
The story follows military officer Jackson (Tatum), who is tasked with taking a dog—also named Lulu—up the Pacific coast to a fellow soldier’s funeral. Unlike other movies about man’s best friend, what makes this film hilarious are the adventures, or rather misadventures, that the two of them go through, from bumping into cannabis growers to breaking into a fancy hotel.
When the pandemic hit and production was halted for nine months, Channing Tatum and the trainers had ample time to work with each dog and prepare them for the film. The result was a powerful bonding experience, and it ended when three of the trainers decided to adopt the dogs they were working with..
Tatum, off screen, is a huge dog lover. He is now the proud “father” of a Dutch Shepherd puppy, named Rooklin, as well as his other dog, Cutie. “In developing the movie and really talking about what dogs mean, specifically to me, or to soldiers, or to anybody really, we mainly came to this word: surrender. And that was really what I had to learn for me. When I went on my last road trip with my pup, I (experienced) that feeling that there is nothing I can do. There is nothing left to do. You just have to accept it and be thankful for the time you had and know that they’re not supposed to be here forever.. I’m supposed to continue and she has to go somewhere else,” says the actor in Variety.
In the film there are three different dogs that play Lulu. Their names are Britta, Lana 5 and Zuza; and, although they look like German Shepherds, they are actually Belgian Shepherds Malinois, a breed well suited for police or military work. The production team obtained them from a kennel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that trains dogs for military service. “More than the theme and the feeling, it is more the bond and the relationship that Lulu and I had.. I had her since she was six weeks old. She was like my daughter, my shadow; she was everything. And this is a very, very, very different story,” explains Tatum.
Although the plot doesn’t reflect her real-life experience, and Lulu’s on-screen personality is different from her own dog, there is one scene in particular that sweetly reminded the star of her furry best friend. “My Lulu was a hunting dog, and I don’t hunt, so she never really got to exercise that part of her DNA, like she was probably born to do. So anything that wasn’t a dog or five times bigger than her, she would want to remove it (just like in the movie) ”, she tells on the site ew.
The actor, famous for appearing in Dear John, Magic Mike, GI Joe, Jupiter Ascending, among other films, grew up surrounded by dogs. “We always had them. I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have a dog, to be honest. We always had some animals and/or were surrounded by animals. My mother’s family has a big farm in Alabama, where there have always been dogs, horses, all kinds of farm animals. Dogs have always been near and dear to me. I always wanted to have one of my own. We always had dogs in the family, but I never had my own.. And then when I was old enough to have one and had the time to do it, I got my Lulu. It was just one of those things that are almost indescribable: what a dog really does for you. And, in a way, they do so many different things that it’s kind of hard to pick one. But I think they just give you unconditional love, you know? And you are never alone; they are just there. They’re like ‘okay, what are we going to do today?’; and if it’s nothing, I guess they’re like ‘okay, great; I just won’t do anything with you.’ And they are just there inside your little bubble at all times. I mean, there are studies that show that people who have a pet live longer. Simply having a being, like a small organism that is there and loves you and gives you its affection, its time, its energy, makes sense.. It’s something very special,” he says on IMDB.
Dog: Wild Ride It will be a delight for dog lovers. They are the kind of movies that cause laughter and tears at the same time, something like what happened with Partners and Hounds (1989), All dogs Go to Heaven (1989), Marley and Me (2008) and Always by your side (Hachiko, 2009), to mention a few.
The film premieres today, Thursday, in theaters in Ecuador.