The movie, A Dog’s Purpose, is being promoted as a heartfelt, warm, fuzzy story of a dog and his journey of love with different owners. The trailer emotionally portrays the connection between humans and their best animal friends.
But the reality behind the scenes of the movie is harsh and brutal, unlike anything we could've imagined coming from a giant studio production such as this.
TMZ posted a shocking video of a risky stunt that shows a German shepherd, Hercules, being forced into churning water by his trainer.
A terrified Hercules can be seen trying to stay away from the pool desperately, hanging onto the edge while slipping and struggling as the handler gropes and pushes him repeatedly. The immense fear of the dog is painfully obvious.
He even went underwater when finally flung into the raging storm of high currents. Thankfully, he was rescued in time.
The video has invited the rage of PETA activists, who are now demanding a boycott of the movie.
"The footage shows a terrified dog who is forced into churning water on set. PETA is calling on dog lovers to boycott the film in order to send the message that dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props." PETA Senior Vice President, Lisa Lange, told ABC News.
The movie's producer, Amblin Entertainment, came out in defence of the event. It was also stated that the controversial scene has been removed from the final cut.
"A Dog's Purpose is a celebration of the special connection between humans and their dogs. And in the spirit of this relationship, the Amblin production team followed rigorous protocols to foster an ethical and safe environment for the animals. Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German shepherd Hercules throughout the production of the film."
"Hercules is happy and healthy today"
The director, Lasse Hallström, spoke up as well. Funnily, he denied being present on set when the part was being shot. (Ummm, how exactly is a movie shot without the director?)
TMZ reported that according to their sources, he was very much there during the entire sequence.
I am very disturbed by the video released today from the set of my film A dog's purpose.— lasse hallstrom (@HallstromLasse) January 19, 2017
I did not witness these actions.We were all committed to providing a loving and safe environment for all the animals in the film.— lasse hallstrom (@HallstromLasse) January 19, 2017
But it was actor Josh Gad, who provides the voiceover for the dog in the movie, who genuinely exclaimed his disappointment on witnessing the disturbing video.
American Humane, an organisation responsible for the welfare of animals on movie sets, stated that the safety rep in question has been suspended. Currently, a thorough investigation is being conducted into the matter.
We hope that justice prevails for these voiceless, helpless animals who are often subjected to cruelty and blatant disregard just because they can't fight or speak for themselves.
Reportedly, the premiere of the movie has been cancelled due to the controversy. Serves them damn right.
Watch the video here: