Cha Tae-hyun and Yoo Yeon-seok promise to bring smiles and laughter to a not-so-easy journey from Seoul to Jeju with eight dogs in “My Heart Puppy.”
Written and directed by Jason Kim, the filmmaker behind the 2017 award-winning action comedy “Midnight Runners,” “My Heart Puppy” is based on his personal experience of separation from his 10-year-old dog.
The film revolves around the efforts of Min-soo (Yoo) and Jin-guk (Cha) to find a new family for Min-soo’s companion dog Rooney, after discovering that Min-soo’s fiance is allergic to dogs.
With a few notable lessons on friendship with dogs and bromance between cousins Min-soo and Jin-guk, “My Heart Puppy” shows a chemistry which differs from that of his previous hit “Midnight Runners,” according to Kim.
“While ‘Midnight Runners’ was about teamwork between young boys ... ‘My Heart Puppy’ talks about life, in a brighter tone,” Kim told reporters during a press conference held at Megabox Seongsu, Tuesday.
“I also wanted to shed light on the topic of the need to embrace abandoned dogs.”
According to Kim, casting eight dogs for the film was not easy, and the schedule for the shooting changed based on the dogs’ condition.
“There was a trailer house on set that had the air conditioner always turned on, to make sure that the dogs don’t get tired. Whenever they felt tired, they went inside and cooled down, because the shooting was in the middle of summer. We just wiped off the perspiration and waited under the scorching sun until the dogs felt better and were ready to shoot,” Cha joked.
Yoo Yeon-seok, who lives with a rescued dog called Rita, said acting with dogs was a different experience.
“Because I have spent my life, from when I was young, with companion dogs, I could not ignore this project when I received the scenario. I could not turn down the offer because rejecting the offer would have felt as if I were rejecting the dogs,” Yoo told The Korea Herald.
“Because dogs do the natural acting, the way they look, they were adorable to work with and I always came to the set with high expectations. There are some disadvantages of shooting with animals, but shooting for ‘My Heart Puppy’ was really a therapeutic project for me,” Yoo said, adding that he also wants to try shooting with his own dog Rita if she gets used to being surrounded by many staff and camera lights.
“My Heart Puppy” was chosen as the closing film of the 5th Seoul Animal Film Festival where it premiered in October last year.
The movie is slated for release March 1.