After winning best actor at Cannes with Justin Kurzel’s “Nitram,” Caleb Landry Jones is poised to gain further international recognition with another towering and intense performance in “DogMan.”
The anticipated movie, which is now in post and will mark Luc Besson’s directorial comeback after his 2019 film “Lucy,” was teased with a trailer at a private exhibition event in Paris, at the Grand Rex theater, on Jan. 24.
Introduced on stage by Besson, the trailer delivers a glimpse at the movie’s emotionally charged scenes with Landry Jones filling nearly every frame. The Texas-born musician and actor stars as Douglas, a man who was abused as a child by his violent father and viciously thrown to dogs. Instead of attacking him, the dogs came to protect him and became his allies in life. On a journey to heal from childhood trauma and physical injury, Douglas seeks to find his own path, even if it means bending societal rules, gender and going overboard with his love of dogs. The trailer shows Landry Jones impressively transforming into a woman, and embracing the part, emotionally and physically. Another character, a cop, played by Jojo T. Gibbs (“Twenties”), also seems to play a significant role in the film which takes place in New Jersey.
The trailer opens with a quote from Lamartine, saying “Whenever there is an unfortunate, God sends a dog.” Yet, “DogMan” may come as a surprise to anyone expecting a canine crowdpleaser or another Besson-made action movie à la “Taken.” This is a character-driven film clearly aimed at theaters. It was shot with anamorphic lens and boasts a glossy cinematography, as well as high production values.
In terms of tone, “DogMan” has a darker edge than Besson’s most recent films. It’s reminiscent to his earlier work, notably “The Professional” (“Leon”) with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman, “The Big Blue” (“Le Grand Bleu”), “La Femme Nikita” with Anne Parillaud, and his debut “Subway.” These are all driven by protagonists who are either outsiders or living on the margins of society.
On top of directing and writing the film, Besson is producing via his banner LBP. EuropaCorp, the company he founded which is now owned by New York-based Vine Alternative. France’s leading commercial network TF1 has pre-bought the movie and is co-producing it. Gregoire Melin’s Kinology represents international markets and has already pre-sold it in several markets at script stage. Apollo Films will give the movie a wide release in France this Spring.
Aside from “Nitram,” Landry Jones previously starred in Sean Baker’s Oscar-nominated “The Florida Project” and a pair of Oscar-winning films including Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”