Ryan Gosling’s ‘The Fall Guy’ Includes a Dog Inspired by Eva Mendes’ Former Pet

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With The Fall Guy, Ryan Gosling and director David Leitch created a love letter to below-the-line filmmakers, specifically the stunt teams behind big blockbuster movies. Leitch, who is a former stuntman turned director, noted in the post-screening Q&A at SXSW Tuesday that early creative conversations with Gosling led to personal touches being added to the final film.

Gosling plays Colt, a stuntman who, after getting out of the business for a year, is called back into action when the star of a big studio movie suddenly disappears and that big studio movie happens to be directed by his ex (Emily Blunt). Colt gets wrapped up in a murder and cover-up that become much bigger than him or the film he is desperate to get made. Along the way to trying to solve the murder, he gets a sidekick in the form of a dog who only understands commands given in French.

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The dog got big laughs from the audience in Austin, where Gosling revealed that his onscreen canine counterpart was partially inspired by a dog once owned by his partner, Eva Mendes.

“Eva used to have a dog named Hugo who was a Belgian Malinois who was an attack dog. He only spoke French. He’s passed now, so this is my homage to him,” said Gosling.

“We wanted to bring this additional character into the mix,” said Leitch of the dog character, who was an Australia breed called a Kelpie and was played by two female dogs. “When you are in an action scene you are always trying to give yourself problems to make things fresh. Rain is good. Ice is good. And then adding an animal on set is always great.”

Leitch is a noted dog lover, and previously posed with his canines for a The Hollywood Reporter shoot.

The Fall Guy, which will hit theaters on May 3 via Universal, received positive reviews out of the festival, with THR‘s Lovia Gyarkye writing, “What ultimately makes The Fall Guy a rare good time among big-budget studio products is its genuine heart.”

As for the dog, he can be seen in the spot below.

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