THE LOVE OF A DOG

GET THE TIS­SUES READY FOR A FILM THAT CAP­TURES THE SPIRIT OF MAN’S BEST FRIEND

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY COATES

ADog’s Pur­pose is the story of Bai­ley, a golden re­triever who finds his way into the lov­ing arms of eight-year-old Ethan. They share a close bond and happy life, but as na­ture takes its course, Bai­ley passes on – but that’s not the end.

The story con­tin­ues to fol­low Bai­ley as he is rein­car­nated into the bod­ies of many dif­fer­ent dogs, be­long­ing to many dif­fer­ent own­ers, un­til he is re­united with Ethan again. While the film is full of joy and love, the plot was born from grief.

Au­thor and film writer of A Dog’s Pur­pose Wil­liam Bruce Cameron was dat­ing a woman who had just lost her dog and was over­come with grief.

“We were driv­ing up the Cal­i­for­nia coast on the 101 free­way, and I was hurt­ing for her,” he says.

“Out of nowhere, as if I down­loaded it off the in­ter­net, this story came into my head about a dog who doesn’t ac­tu­ally die, but is re­born again and again and again, and de­vel­ops the sense that there might be some pur­pose why this is hap­pen­ing.”

As fate would have it, the pas­sen­ger Cameron was con­sol­ing was his fu­ture wife – as well as one of his fel­low A Dog’s Pur­pose screen­writ­ers – Cathryn Mi­chon.

“On our way to the Bay Area, we stopped to get a latte, and when I came back to the car Bruce told me he had a story to tell me ... and that it was go­ing to be his next book,” she says of that day.

“He told this story for 90 min­utes straight, and by the end of it I was com­pletely in a pud­dle I was cry­ing so much.”

Wil­liam was faced with the tough task of watch­ing dogs, analysing their be­hav­iour and how they in­ter­act with each other and hu­mans – ba­si­cally he got to hang out with dogs and call it re­search.

“The most im­por­tant thing I did in re­search­ing the book was not read­ing about dogs, but go­ing to the dog park and see­ing how they be­have,” he says.

“Dogs have a crazy so­cial struc­ture. Two dogs will be best friends, but when a third dog comes in the dy­namic changes in­stantly. It is 10 times worse than mid­dle school.”

To write like a dog, Wil­liam had to think like a dog – and there are right and wrong ways to do it. “I’m deal­ing with a dog, and a dog isn’t go­ing to be think­ing in com­pli­cated metaphors,” he says.

“A dog is go­ing to be mostly about nouns, much less about ad­verbs. Its vo­cab­u­lary is gen­er­ally lim­ited to around 40 or 50 words, and I wanted to write from the per­spec­tive of a real dog and not a dog that could un­der­stand English.”

While of course an au­di­ence’s sus­pen­sion of dis­be­lief is es­sen­tial for watch­ing a movie that com­mu­ni­cate a dog’s thoughts, strong di­rec­tion is also cru­cial to walk that fine line be­tween be­ing be­liev­able and be­ing laugh­able.

Lasse Hall­ström has found him­self in some­what of a di­rec­to­rial dog niche, with My Life as a Dog and Hachi al­ready on his re­sume.

“Ul­ti­mately, the one rule we had was that the dog could not speak on cam­era,” he says.

“With the nar­ra­tion, the dog’s thoughts have hu­man el­e­ments to it, and I have be­come more and more caught up in the idea of rein­car­na­tion be­cause of this film.

“But whether the pos­si­bil­ity is real or not ... who knows. The point is to be open to the magic that there is some­thing go­ing on in the uni­verse that we can­not yet ex­plain.”

A Dog’s Pur­pose screens in ma­jor cin­e­mas from to­day.

I HAVE BE­COME MORE AND MORE CAUGHT UP IN THE IDEA OF REIN­CAR­NA­TION

A Dog’s Pur­pose fol­lows Bai­ley as he is rein­car­nated into the bod­ies of many dif­fer­ent dogs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.