The same team behind Red Dog will go into production early next year on Blue Dog, the second in what is hoped will be a trilogy of films set in the Pilbara region of Western Australia
Kriv Stenders will again direct a script by Daniel Taplitz, and Nelson Woss will again produce.
“There were very interesting historical and political events happening in the Pilbara area in the late 1960s and early 1970s and that is the backdrop to this film,” Woss told SBS Movies. “It is both Australia’s coming-of-age story and a look at what it was like to grow up at that time, and it also explores the myth, legend and origin of Red Dog.”
Woss is adamant that Blue Dog is an “origin” film and not a prequel.
“We wanted to continue to celebrate the Red Dog legend but we didn’t want to make a prequel or a sequel; we wanted to make a trilogy of stand-alone films. We were blown away by Daniel’s idea for Blue Dog.”
Red Dog starred Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor and was based on a novel by Louis de Bernières. It was a massive commercial hit in Australia, grossing $21.5 million after it released in 2011 to become the fourth most successful independently-financed local film of all time after the two Crocodile Dundee films and Strictly Ballroom. (Note that this comparison is made without any adjustment for inflation. Australia’s top 100 films of all time are listed here).
Red Dog also won best film at the AACTA Awards and is the highest-selling Austrailan movie DVD of all time.
Woss is currently making a feature-length documentary called The Koko Story. Koko was the principal doggie star in Red Dog and was “adopted” by Woss after filming finished – although he continued his duties for the publicity tour. He has since died from congestive heart disease.
In a publicity stunt today, WA culture and arts minister John Day and Woss visited the Dogs’ Refuge Home in Shenton Park to look for four-legged animals with star potential. There is a statue of the late Koko at this site.
The Western Australian Government through its film agency ScreenWest, the Federal Government’s film and television agency Screen Australia and a number of private investors from mining and associated industries are backing Blue Dog. Woss said it is more-or-less the same group of financiers.
Roadshow will again distribute the film in Australia, but this time with Good Dog Enterprises at its side, a new distribution and sales entity that is also backed by some of the film’s private investors. Independent producer Su Armstrong and Roadshow executive producers Joel Pearlman and Graham Burke, are executive producers on the film.
“We are very excited because we are bringing the team back together and getting to go back to shoot in the Pilbara and again put the spotlight on one of the most amazing places in Australia,” said Perth-based Woss.
The final film in the trilogy is to be called Yellow Dog and it will be a military story with a strong theme of mateship.