Netflix does a remake of the classic family dog film ‘Benji’

March 6, 2018

"Benji" (Photo courtesy of Netflix"
“Benji” (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

Netflix’s remake of the classic film “Benji” premieres on March 16, 2018. Here are details from Netflix:

More than 40 years after becoming one of the most beloved dogs in cinematic history, Benji is back to inspire a new generation. Written and directed by ​Brandon Camp, ​”Benji” blends action, drama, humor, and sweetness into a heartwarming tale for the whole family.

“Benji” will become available exclusively to Netflix members worldwide on ​Friday, March 16, 2018​, at 12:01 a.m. PST. Produced by Emmy Award®-winning and Oscar®-nominated producer ​Jason Blum​ (​”Get Out ,” ​”The Normal Heart,” ​”Whiplash”), it stars ​Kiele Sanchez​, ​Gabriel Bateman​, ​Darby Camp​, ​Will Rothhaar​, Angus Sampson​, and ​Gralen Bryant Banks​.   “Family-oriented movies that make you feel good are always powerful, but I think particularly when the world looks like it looks today, they’re especially powerful,” Blum says. “I think the timing is very good in terms of introducing a new Benji to the world.”

Camp is uniquely qualified to bring back the lovable mutt: His father, ​Joe Camp​, wrote and directed the 1974 film and its sequels. “I literally was born into ​Benji,” Brandon says with a laugh. (He’s not exaggerating: His mother, producer ​Carolyn Camp​, nearly gave birth to him on the set of the original.)   He adds: “I thought one of the reasons ​”Benji” was so successful in the first place was because it wasn’t loud or trying to be something that it wasn’t; it was a simple story about a little dog with all the heart in the world. I wanted to retell that same story for modern audiences.”

Set in the heart of New Orleans, Netflix’s “​Benji” tells the story of a homeless, unwanted mutt who befriends two adoring kids – and then does all he can to protect them.   Shortly after young Carter (​played by Gabriel Bateman​) spots Benji on the street after school one day, he forges a special bond with the shaggy friend. He and his sister, Frankie (​Darby Camp​), beg their mother (​played by Kiele Sanchez​) to let Benji join the family, but the last thing the struggling single mom needs is another mouth to feed.   “The plot thickens when, unfortunately, Benji is cast out on the street, and our two kids find themselves in jeopardy,” Camp says. “Despite the fact that Benji is homeless and it looks like things might not work out with Carter and Frankie, he still does everything in his power to make sure that those kids are safe at the end of the day.”

After a robbery goes wrong, two criminals (​played by Will Rothhaar​ and ​Angus Sampson​) wind up taking the kids far from home. Little do they know that the police — and Benji — are on their trail.

“Really, the movie is about perseverance, following your heart, and never, ever giving up,” adds Camp. “That was evident in the first movie, and I wanted to bring those simple values back into live-action movie-making in a way that we just haven’t seen, frankly, since the original.”


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