A Dog's Journey follows in paw prints of first movie
KATHRYN Prescott felt right at home on the set of A Dog's Journey.
The London-born actor, best known for her role in the BAFTA-winning teen drama Skins, was a dog lover long before she signed on to the sequel of the 2017 movie A Dog's Purpose.
"I grew up with a lot of pets. We had five cats minimum always," she says. "We also had a bearded dragon, axolotls, ferrets, rabbits, everything. Finally we got two dogs when I was 16, and after that I was like 'Oh maybe I'm a dog person'. Then when I lived in America I had my own English bulldog called Maud.
"One of the reasons I wanted to do this film is I felt like I had seen the story of a young boy and his dog 100 times, but a story from a female's perspective - I thought it was weird it hadn't been done before."
Based on W. Bruce Cameron's best-selling novel of the same name, A Dog's Purpose shrugged off mostly negative reviews to gross more than $200 million at the box office worldwide.
Prescott joins returning cast members Dennis Quaid and Josh Gad in the sequel. She plays the adult version of CJ, Ethan's (Quaid) granddaughter whom his dog Bailey (voiced by Gad) swears to protect.
"Getting to work with Dennis was crazy. I'm a twin, so growing up we used to watch The Parent Trap," Prescott says.
"So when I realised I'd be doing a film with him I was a little bit intimidated by that, especially because he'd worked with the dogs before."
So is it true what they say about not working with children or animals?
"I know they say that but I really like working with both as an actor," Prescott says.
"I probably wouldn't say that if I was the first AD (assistant director) trying to keep everything scheduled, but as an actor anything you can have in the room that feels real and in the moment helps you.
"A child or a dog is just living in the realness of the moment. They don't care they're on a film. They really keep you in the moment and make everyone a better actor."
Chinese K-pop star Henry Lau makes his English-speaking feature film debut opposite Prescott as CJ's best friend Trent.
"Our characters CJ and Trent go through some really hard times in the film, so we worked really closely together," he says. "I was a little bit nervous in the beginning, but she was just there for me just like CJ was for Trent. She made me feel really relaxed and she was always playing the guitar. I'm the musician in real life, but in this film she was the musician."
Prescott reveals she was the one with nerves when it came to portraying CJ's musical ambitions in front of such a talented co-star.
"He's this huge K-pop star so I didn't know what to expect, but Henry showed up and was the most hard-working, unassuming. sweet and non-egotistical person ever," Prescott says.
"I Googled him and I was like 'Oh my God this person is really talented, he can play instruments and I'm about to have to play the guitar without knowing how to play the guitar in front of him'.
"Apparently he could hear me practising in my trailer, strumming the same chords and getting them wrong. He came in one time and said 'Show me what you're working on'."
Lau is confident the sequel will be just as warmly received as the original film.
"There are some really powerful themes about love for pets, loved ones, family, forgiveness and loss," he says.
A Dog's Journey opens in cinemas tomorrow.
STARS: Dennis Quaid, Josh Gad, Betty Gilpin, Kathryn Prescott, Henry Lau.
DIRECTOR: Gail Mancuso
REVIEWER'S LAST WORD: This film about a reincarnated dog is overly-sentimental at times, but most cinema-goers will struggle to resist its sickly sweet charms.