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A Dog's Purpose was looking like it was all set to be a heartwarming story for the cold winter months. Unfortunately, the press the film has received this week has not been what anybody wanted to see. Now the film's star and director are speaking out about the controversy. Josh Gad added his voice to the canine characters. Since his job never required him to actually be on set with the animals he had no knowledge of what may have happened there, so the video of a german shepherd being forced to perform a stunt has him as concerned as anybody.
In the case of animation, voice acting work is usually one of the first things that takes place. However, in the case of A Dog's Purpose, it appears that a great deal of the film had already been shot when Josh Gad came on board. He wouldn't have been privy to any of the specifics of how the movie was made. Still, he's one of the biggest, and most public, names attached to the film. He's got a reputation to consider and so he wants to be sure that anything that his name is attached to is above reproach.
Josh Gad isn't the only one responding to the controversy. Director Lasse Hallstrom has also spoken out on Twitter. Yesterday he said that an investigation into the event seen in a TMZ video was being investigated and that any wrongdoing would be dealt with.
Many are critical of the director's response, because, as the film's director, he should have been aware of everything going on during filming. In fact, based on what we have heard, it sounds like this scene was not shot by a second unit, but that Lasse Hallstrom was on the set himself during this, as he reportedly called for a break once it was clear that the dog was not ready to perform. This may be why he followed up with a second tweet in which he tried to assure people that the safety of dogs was always a priority on the set.
While context is everything, and we don't necessarily have all of it, this is clearly not the sort of press that A Dog's Purpose was looking for just days before release. Animal rights groups are calling for the movie to be boycotted. We'll be watching to see how all of this impacts the movie's performance when it hits screens January 27.