Actor Dennis Quaid is speaking out about the growing controversy surrounding his latest film A Dog’s Purpose.
Last week, a video surfaced showing a dog handler forcing a terrified German Shepherd named Hercules into a pool of churning water. Gossip site TMZ shared the video, which has since spurred extreme criticism and the call for boycotts of the film. In fact, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment canceled the A Dog’s Life premiere due to the backlash. Watch the video below.
On Monday, Dennis Quaid appeared on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show Ellen to talk about the controversial video. According to iHeartRadio’s G105, Quaid insists the video doesn’t tell the whole story, and says he never saw any of the animals being mistreated on set.
“I would not be on a set that had any kind of abuse towards the animals…or people,” Quaid told DeGeneres. “I don’t think this video tells the whole story, number one. Number two, I know my experience on the set. The dogs I worked with and even like, the donkey, who’s also in the movie, all the other animals were treated with the greatest respect and care and compassion.”
Dennis added, “I really believe that this video doesn’t tell the entire story and the dogs were treated with the greatest respect.”
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Quaid’s comments come just a few days after the film’s producer Gavin Palone wrote a lengthy op-ed on The Hollywood Reporter discussing the movie. He echoed Quaid’s comments, saying he never saw the animals being mistreated by anyone.
Palone said he did review the clip and said what was seen is inexcusable. Hercules should have never been forced into the water, he said, and then explained the circumstances that led to the dog being frightened while shooting the scene. As Dennis said, there was more to the story than what the TMZ video portrayed.
“The dog trainer should have stopped trying to get the dog to go in the water as soon as the dog seemed uncomfortable, and the trainers should have had support under the dog as soon as he came to the side of the pool and/or had less turbulence in the water so he never would have gone under,” Palone wrote.
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Apparently, throughout the day, Hercules had been rehearsing the scene from the left side of the pool. In many of the takes, you can see him willingly diving in, and the dog handler having to hold him back on several occasions from entering the water. However, before the first real take, the handlers requested that Hercules enter the pool, which was heated somewhere between 80 and 85 degrees, from the right side.
“That, evidentially [sic], is what caused him to be spooked,” Gavin explained. “When the dog didn’t want to do the scene from the new position, they cut, though not soon enough, and then went back to the original position. The dog was comfortable and went in on his own and they shot the scene. The TMZ video only shows the unfinished take of when the dog was on the right side. What is clear from viewing all the footage was that the dog was NEVER forced into the water.”
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What do you think about the video? Do you think the animals were being abused on set? Will you still watch A Dog’s Purpose, or are you joining in on the boycott? Leave your comments below.
[Featured Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]