The film was originally slated to be released in May of 2021 by DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of Universal, but has since been optioned by Lionsgate. Impressed by my work on Gummo Girls, Lionsgate has hired yours truly to write the film; something closer to the source material. Brandon Cronenberg, son of visionary director, David Cronenberg, has been tasked with directing the film. Together, we envision bringing the source material to life.
The film starts with blood drooling into a porcelain sink in a first-person perspective. The titular character, Dog Man, will be played by Larry Joe Campbell, who coincidentally played the lead in the 2012 thriller Dogman. It should not be confused with this film, Dog Man. Capital D. Capital M. Two words.
Dog Man stares into the mirror and asks, “Who’s a good boy?”
The words do not come from his adorable-boop-worthy-snout, but rather they gurgle and spew forth from a deformed, sinuous hole that has formed where his Adam’s apple would be, if he truly human, the spot where he was joined with his co-worker, an unnamed cop. They were partners, but never friends. Not in this live action adaptation, which explores the grisly origin of a cop and police canine duo, blown to bits by a bomb; their remains sewn together.* The procedure will be done in a back-alley vet clinic to create the Dog Man – a singular creature composed of two separate beings. With the head of a dog and the heart of a cop, Dog Man represents the true struggle of conscience, decision making, nature vs. nurture, and what quality training will do – or fail to do?
The Dog Man’s appearance is altered throughout the film as the two opposing forces battle for control. Who will throw the ball? Who will chase? Perhaps the ball does not exist.
The film will end as the Dog-aspect recognizes not even he can make the Man-aspect into a good boy; there is too much hatred in the heart. The Dog Man will return to the back-alley vet clinic where a procedure to separate the two will be performed. The Dog will go on to live a happy life as a therapy dog, bringing joy and comfort to countless people. The Man, ultimately, will be put down.
*This is in the actual comic book intended for children.
Michael Bettendorf’s fiction has appeared in a handful of places on the internet. Michael lives in Lincoln where he tries to convince the world that Nebraska is too strange to be a flyover state.