A Dog’s Purpose: A Samoan actor’s best friend

By SUGA Magazine / Published on Saturday, 03 Jun 2017 11:19 AM / No Comments / 1500 views
KJ Apa as Ethan McGregor with ‘Trip’ the dog in ‘A Dog’s Purpose’. | Pic: Universal

Samoan-Kiwi actor KJ Apa’s career is taking off!

After a successful first season of Riverdale where he plays the lead role of Archie Andrews on the hit U.S series, KJ’s first feature film A Dog’s Purpose follows not long after and cements KJ as one of the new talented young Hollywood actors on the block.

In the movie, Auckland-born KJ whose Samoan father hails from the village Moata’a, stars opposite his on-screen love interest and rising star Britt Robinson (The longest ride, GirlBoss). The film also stars acting legend Dennis Quaid (The Parent Trap, The Rookie) who plays KJ’s adult character in the film.

For someone who hadn’t read the book (and I wish I had after seeing the movie), the movie was fairly easy to follow and had me hooked.

It centers around a devoted dog who tries to find it’s purpose and meaning in it’s lives. Yes lives.

They say that cat’s have nine lives and in this case, the dog has 5 lives over the course of say 40-50 years. The dog is reincarnated and comes back in each life and decade as a different breed with a different owner.

How clever was the writer of this book and the director of this movie to portray and narrate such a beautiful and warm story that illustrates the relationships between dogs and humans. It’s ‘dogs perspective’ really works.

For those who don’t have dogs, the movie makes you more aware that animals have feelings and to appreciate that they too are just like humans. Perhaps next time you see an animal on the street, you may want to kneel and give them a good scratch behind their ears.

The movie does a great job in making viewers turn on the waterworks. I was not prepared and by the end of the movie I had a nice wet snotty t-shirt.

Not only was I impressed by the actors in the movie, especially KJ (which stands for Keneti James) who was repping and holding it down for Samoans everywhere, but the most impressive actors were the trained dogs. Amazing! Made me wonder how many takes they had to do to get it just perfect. Trip, the star dog of the movie, reminded me of my own late dog I had growing up. His name was Tai-Yo. That’s right, my dad named my dog Tai-Yo after the popular fish-in-a-can product that many Samoans consume. If you are confused, don’t worry about it. It’s a Samoan Dad thing.

Yes the movie’s reputation was tarnished by dog advocates like PETA over a controversial behind-the-scenes video that suggested that the dog’s were mistreated on set. But the actors including KJ have confirmed in interviews that no animals were harmed during the filming.

“Every time I was on set, I witnessed a production team that went to amazing lengths to ensure that the dogs were treated with the utmost respect and love,” KJ told E! News America.

KJ still cannot quite believe his success in Hollywood considering he is relatively new to the scene there. He posted on instagram recently, “I have to Apa-Cut myself every now and then working with such legends, God is good!!”

Well we are proud of you too Mr Apa.

Go out and see this movie folks and support our Polys on the big screen. This movie makes you laugh out loud, cry and smile at it’s beautiful and unique love story.

It is a fantastic family movie that even my 8-year-son loved. He is now nagging me for a dog and I’m thinking it may not be such a bad idea after all.

-Editor

Read more on KJ: I’m Proud to be Samoan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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