Video obtained by TMZ shows a German Shepherd, one of at least five dogs used in the film, visibly resisting participating in a stunt with rushing water.
Production sources say eight outboard motors were used in a pool outside Winning in November to film the scene, and the dog can be seen clawing at the pool's edge as a crew member attempts to push it in.
Then you see the dog desperately trying to get out of the water and then submerging under the water - clearly drowning. You hear someone yell cut and handlers swim towards the dog before the video stops.
No actors are visible in the clip, but TMZ reports director Lasse Hallstrom ("The Cider House Rules," "Dear John") was present during filming of the scene. Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures say they have seen the video and are investigating.
"Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video," the companies said in a statement.
|Nearly drowned: After swimming to this end, the dog |
goes under someone yells "Cut", the handler
starts swimming to where the dog disappeared.
Based on the best-selling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, the film is told from the perspective of a dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. Dennis Quaid, Britt Robertson and Peggy Lipton also star.
According to USA Today, the book "A Dog's Purpose" has sold 2.5 million copies since its release in 2010 and is currently No. 1 on the newspaper's Best-Selling Books list. It's the first publication about a dog to top the chart since "Marley & Me," which was also adapted into a film, in 2006.
"A Dog's Purpose" is scheduled for release in theaters on Jan. 27.
(Syracuse.com - Jan 18, 2017)