The controversial footage from the set of 'A Dog's Purpose' sparked a backlash that could hurt the film's performance at the box office.In the disturbing, leaked footage, you can see the trembling dog engaged in what appears to be an unsafe stunt of jumping into a tank of rushing water. He is struggling to avoid getting his feet wet as his handler repeatedly attempts to dump him into the treacherous current.
Josh Gad, who provides the voice for one of the characters was appalled by the video. Because he wasn't "on set," he had no idea how the furry stars of the movie were being treated.
He took to tweeting his concern:
Animal lovers and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), expressed their outrage over the video, and called for a boycott of the film a week before its release.
The dramatic scene portrays a brave German Shepherd jumping into rough waters to save a girl. But, the behind the scenes footage shows the dog, after finally getting inside the tank, sinking ino the water and submerged before the handler yelled, "cut!"
Where was the man in charge?
Lasse Hallström, the film's director, released this statement:
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.
PETA senior vice president, Lisa Lange, called for the boycott of the film and issued a statement saying:
...dogs and other animals should be treated humanely, not as movie props.
Representatives from the American Humane Association also released a statement to USA Today in response to the leaked footage:
American Humane has reviewed the video and we are disturbed and concerned by the footage. When the dog showed signs of resistance to jumping in the water, the scene should have been stopped.
We are placing the safety representative who was on the set on administrative leave immediately and are bringing in an independent third party to conduct an investigation into this matter.
In an attempt to assure the public that the animals involved throughout production were treated ethically, Amblin Entertainment issued this statement:
A Dog’s Purpose,” produced by Amblin Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures, 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.
While we continue to review the circumstances shown in the edited footage, Amblin is confident that great care and concern was shown for the German Shepherd Hercules, as well as for all of the other dogs featured throughout the production of the film. There were several days of rehearsal of the water scenes to ensure Hercules was comfortable with all of the stunts. On the day of the shoot, Hercules did not want to perform the stunt portrayed on the tape so the Amblin production team did not proceed with filming that shot.
But the statement did little to silence the barking on Twitter.