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How Channing Tatum Balances Humor And Grief in His Directorial Debut, ‘Dog’

Channing Tatum has stepped into a wide variety of roles over the years: a dancer, a lovable jock, an undercover cop, the voice of Superman and so much more. But now, he’s stepping into a brand new role in his directorial debut for Dog.

Tatum still plays his usual charming and funny self as Briggs, a former Army Ranger who’s struggling to get back to his unit following an injury. He’s assigned the task of transporting Lulu, a trained dog, to her owner’s funeral. Through a long and winding trip, Briggs discovers exactly why dogs are considered a man’s best friend. 

Stepping behind the camera for the first time, Tatum and co-director Reid Carolin chose not to shy away from difficult topics, instead using this film to show that happy moments are mixed in with difficult tasks. Because while Dog appears to be a movie simply about the connection between a man and his canine companion, as the movie presses on, it becomes evident it’s about much more than that. Briggs works through deeper, more nuanced topics such as the meaning of community, releasing grief and trauma, and working toward healing.

Yet while Dog is ultimately a story about healing from trauma, it’s also a film about the importance of companionship, something Tatum and Reid know well. The directorial duo have worked on numerous other films together, but decided it was time to create a project together. Channeling their funny and sometimes crazy energy was no easy feat, at least according to Tatum, but once they found the story they wanted to tell, they knew exactly how to get it done. 

“When we connected all the dots of these experiences we’ve had in life, everything pointed us toward making a road movie. So, we decided to set this movie on that type of canvas in hopes of bringing people into this world of Special Operations soldiers and their dogs, that’s very insular,” Carolin said.

“Road movies are our favorite kinds of movies. Mostly because they’re full of heart and humor. They make you feel something and expose you to new ideas and places and wild characters.”

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The film shows the community and bonds formed through difficult circumstances. While struggling with hard life choices and consequences, Briggs battles between working through his situation alone or turning to someone for help — a battle many people watching will be able to relate to. Ultimately, Briggs learns to lean on Lulu just as much as he leans on his brothers in arms throughout the film. 

The result is a heart-warming film that makes you want to give your own pet a tight squeeze. 

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