After winning Best Actor at Cannes with Justin Karzel’s “Nitram,” Caleb Landry Jones is poised to gain more international recognition with another brilliant and intense performance in “Dogman.”
The anticipated movie, which is now in post and was teased with a trailer at a private screening event in Paris on January 24, at the Grand Rex Theater will mark Luc Besson’s directorial return after his 2019 film “Lucy”.
Presented on stage by Besson, the trailer gives a glimpse of the movie’s emotional scenes with Landry Jones filling almost every frame. The Texas-born musician and actor plays Douglas, a man who was abused as a child by his violent father and thrown to the dogs. Instead of attacking him, the dogs came to his rescue and became his companions in life. On a journey to heal from childhood trauma and physical injury, Douglas tries to find his own way, even if it means going overboard with social norms, gender bending and his love for dogs. The trailer shows Landry Jones impressively transforming into a woman and embracing the part emotionally and physically. Another character, a cop, in which Jojo T. Gibbs (“Twenties”), also appears to play an important role in the film set in New Jersey.
The trailer opens with a quote from Lamartine, “Whenever misfortune strikes, God sends a dog.” Still, “Dogman” may come as a surprise to anyone expecting a Queen crowdpleaser or another Besson-produced action movie à la “Taken.” It is a character-driven film clearly aimed at theatres. It was shot with anamorphic lenses 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 is reminiscent of his earlier work, notably “The Professional” (“Leon”) with Jean Reno and Natalie Portman, “The Big Blue” (“Le Grand Bleu”), “La Femme Nikita” with Anne Parrylaud, and his Debut “Subway.” All of them are driven by protagonists who are either outsiders or living on the fringes of society.
Besides directing and writing the film, Besson is producing through his banner LBP. EuropaCorp, the company he founded is now owned by New York-based Vine Alternative. France’s leading commercial network TF1 has pre-purchased the movie and is co-producing it. Grégoire Mellin’s Kinology represents the international market and has already sold to several markets at the script stage. EuropaCorp will release the movie widely in France this spring.
In addition to “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.”