On Wednesday, TMZ released disturbing behind-the-scenes video taken during filming of the movie, “A Dog’s Purpose,” which appears to show a frightened German shepherd being forced into churning water. The final scene of the video shows a dog’s head disappearing beneath the turbulent water and people screaming “cut it” just before the video ends.
There was an American Humane Association representative present during the filming of the movie and that person has since been suspended and an independent third-party has been brought in to review the circumstances surrounding the incident.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment have released a statement advising that they have viewed the footage and they are “confident” that great care was taken for the dog, whose name is “Hercules.” In the statement, the agencies report that, “There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts.”
However, the Huffington Post is reporting that the film’s director, Lasse Hallström, is disturbed by the behind-the-scenes footage. Hallström indicated that he did not witness what transpired himself – he said:
“I am very disturbed by the video released today from the set of my film A dog’s purpose. I did not witness these actions, which are unacceptable and would never happen with my knowledge. We were all committed to providing a loving, respectful and safe environment for all the animals in the film. I have been promised that a thorough investigation into this situation is underway and that any wrongdoing will be reported and punished.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for dog-lovers to boycott the movie and actor Josh Gad, who provides the dog’s voice in the movie, has stated that he was “shaken” and “sad,” by the footage that he saw.
(Photos screenshot via TMZ and Twitter)