Koko: A Red Dog Story (2019) Movie Script

I'm shaking.
-Is that visible? (LAUGHS)
-No, don't be nervous.
-I'm shaking.
Lock it. Mark.
My first impression of him was
that he was...he was difficult.
I'll do my best. I might have
to pause and then go into it.
INTERVIEWER: And that is fine.
We can do that.
You know, he was very driven.
Incredibly focused.
He was a brat.
Just like a naughty child,
I think.
He was a star.
And when stars enter a room,
they suck out the oxygen.
He was a very good improviser.
He was very funny, sometimes.
Koko had it all.
INTERVIEWER: What do you
feel like his legacy was?
Koko's legacy?
WOMAN: Depends on
who you're talking to.
He was a very special dog.
He was one in a million.
The wheel.
The silicon chip.
All very impressive.
But the single greatest thing
to happen to the human race
was the evolution
of the domestic dog,
Canis lupus familiaris,
a direct descendant
of the grey wolf.
Before they became man's best
friend roughly 36,000 years ago,
wolves figured out that
if they didn't threaten humans,
then humans would do
all the hard work for them.
In return for
food and protection,
the wolves would help
humans find their way.
And so, over time,
an unlikely kinship formed
and the wolf evolved into
the tame domestic dog.
Humans and dogs
would share a special bond
side by side,
for millennia to come.
Mankind and cat, however...
..well, that's an entirely
different history lesson.
Over the centuries,
these loyal hounds
became our most trusted
companions and our protectors.
They find us when we're lost,
lead us when we're blind
and comfort us in
our times of greatest need.
In return, we shelter them,
feed them
and dress them up
in ridiculous costumes.
Today, there are
more variants of dog
than any other living mammal,
with best estimates placing the
total number of dogs on Earth
at approximately 560 million.
But every now and then,
a truly extraordinary,
selfless, heroic,
one-in-560-million dog
comes along.
A dog capable of
inspirational feats
that lift the human spirit.
A dog we build shrines to.
A dog with its own unique tale.
From Japan,
Hachiko, the loyal Akita,
who spent nine long years
waiting at a train station
for the return of his master
who had tragically passed.
From the United States,
Bobbie the Wonder Dog,
a Scotch collie who journeyed
thousands of miles
in order to find
his way home.
And from Australia, Red Dog,
the red cloud kelpie who
wandered the outback and beyond
in search of his missing master.
But there was once a dog who
walked a very different path.
A dog with
a very different story,
whose face was seen
around the world,
whose name was heard
far and wide
and who, frankly, did
very little to deserve it.
His name...
..was Koko.
You see, Koko was a very
different type of dog.
He was a star -
a very famous star -
and he loved it.
was some of the best talent
I have ever interviewed
in my 30 years.
WOMAN: He was a dog
that took to people.
He just loved
to be around people.
MAN: It's amazing - as much
recognition as anyone
you normally see on
the front page of a newspaper.
What actor would I
compare him to?
He was the best-paid dog
in Australia.
I gave him little meaty bits.
Koko's a massive ----!
He had great charisma,
great soul,
great depth inside of him.
MAN: I mean,
Koko meant everything.
MAN 2: It takes a special dog
to connect with so many people.
WOMAN: Koko was the first to do
everything out of the litter.
He was the first one
to open his eyes
and get up on his little legs.
He was pretty bossy over
the rest of the litter.
He would just walk
over the top of them.
Didn't matter.
I've got a present for you.
Look at that.
It was earned. He always
knew that he was clever.
You look gorgeous, Koko.
Or should I say,
Smart n Bossy.
What made him special is
he wanted to be with you.
He wanted to listen to you.
He wanted to absorb what
was happening around him.
That was just the way he was.
30 years, I've had kelpies.
A kelpie is a dog that's
developed in Australia
for Australian conditions.
They can
do anything.
of the most important workers
in Australia's great
woollen industry -
the kelpie, who works big mobs
of sheep over wide, open areas.
MAN: Kelpies are sheepdogs,
They're quite intensely
selected for their brains
and their working ability
and ease of training.
To me, they are
the intelligentsia
of the dog world.
CAROL: A typical kelpie
who wanted to please.
You look at a kelpie
and say 'jump'.
The first thing a kelpie
would say is "How high?"
RICK: Farmers who've bred them
are pretty non-forgiving.
So they were selecting
the brightest, hardest-working,
involved dog that they can find.
They've got to have the ability
to read the mind of the owner
and I think that's developed
to a large degree in kelpies.
-Well done, Johnny Boy.
RICK: I've heard
different stories
about the origin of the kelpie.
I've certainly heard there's
a fair bit of dingo in it.
The dingo isn't actually a dog.
It's a unique species
called Canis dingo,
a contentious detail
amongst specialists.
It's said that 3-4%
of kelpie genes
come from this wild
Australian mammal.
This mix created a new breed -
smart, intuitive animals
which were perfected
for life in the outback.
CAROL: The curiosity that was
in that dog was wonderful
and his ability and his will
to learn was exceptional.
He's pretty good, you know.
CAROL: He was like a sponge.
He does
all his own stunts too.
CAROL: And loved jewellery.
He used to chew jewellery
all the time.
If I had a watch band on,
he'd chew the watch band.
If you had a button on a shirt,
he'd find it.
I see great things
for you, little one.
You're gonna be a star! (LAUGHS)
CAROL: Koko had
a lot of personality.
It was natural to him.
That was just the way he was.
I always took my puppies
down to the bakery -
best bakery there is
in Victoria -
and they would socialise
with everyone in the street.
-Hi, Louise.
-Hey, Carol.
Just gotta look at everything,
don't you?
CAROL: I used to
take him down there
so that they got used to
different noises
so that the temperament
was nice and even.
Good boy, Koko.
Well-socialised dogs
are a pleasure.
Oh, there you are! Ladies.
Oh, these scones smell
even better than usual.
-Oh, you've got the...
-I succumbed.
(LAUGHS) They're so good!
He just adored people.
Very affectionate.
Didn't matter who it was,
he loved everybody.
Carol, he's adorable.
Are you ready for the show
this year, Koko?
Don't worry, little one.
You're a shoo-in!
He'll be the winner for sure.
You think he's gonna beat out
old Gwendolyn this year?
There she is.
Gwendolyn Myers was
the reigning champion
of the local dog show circuit
with 200 wins under her belt.
Her prize show dog was Beatrice.
She was the only thing
standing between Koko
and victory.
Well, she's gonna be
a tough one to beat this year.
Do you think you stand a chance?
What do you think, Koko?
Koko just wanted
to please Carol,
so if that meant entering this
show and becoming a winner,
well, that's what
he'd have to do.
And with that, Koko entered
into the cutthroat world
of professional show dogging.
Dog shows have been around for
the better part of a century.
Every blue-blooded canine
from the conventional
to the exotic
competing for dogdom's top spot
and that includes
the Chinese crested hairless.
The dog show really is an
ultimate elimination contest.
Dogs get knocked out at
various stages of competition
and at the end of the day,
you've ended up with
your best seven dogs.
I don't think
people have realised
that it's a fabulous hobby.
It's a really great hobby
to show dogs.
You ain't ever seen an animal
quite like that...
Every dog show contestant
is vying for the top prize -
the coveted Best in Show.
It's the supreme thing,
it's why we all show dogs -
to win Best in Show.
The typical dog show is
made up of three parts.
..and musical canine freestyle.
Yep. Dancing with your dog.
It's a thing.
CAROL: The dog's brain
at a dog show...
If you're lucky, it loves it
and that's where it becomes
a pleasure to show a dog,
because the dog thoroughly
enjoys going to a dog show
and exhibiting.
If they don't like it,
you can tell straightaway.
The truth was Koko
really enjoyed show dogging.
Next up, Klassikelp
Smart n Bossy.
And at first,
he was really good at it.
CAROL: He was the ant's pants.
You know, he always thought
that he was the top dog.
The rules of what make
a good show dog
are a little complicated.
The guidelines
are a lot complicated.
CAROL: We want moderate-size
ears, a width of skull.
The skull and the foreface
approximately equal.
We want a length of neck
that is neither
too short nor too long.
Good forequarters,
strong forequarters.
Two-thirds rib cage,
one-third loin.
Straight hindquarters.
And we want a lovely shape
over the croup
down to the tail set
so that the tail is carried
down and out, gently.
It's important that
the tail stays down.
Koko had it all.
He was a lovely, lovely dog.
I think he knew he was special
all the way through.
I really do.
You know who doesn't think
you're special, Koko?
Beatrice, the current
grand champion.
And her owner, Gwendolyn Myers.
A show dog, to become
an Australian champion,
what they need to do is
they get 100 points.
And those points are earned
by being either the best bitch,
or the best dog, of your breed.
In the context of show dogging,
'bitch' is a technical term
meaning 'female dog'
and not a naughty word.
When Koko had his big win,
he won Best Exhibit in Group
in the working dog group
at Kyneton.
I couldn't believe.
I was over the moon.
You get one point
for every dog you beat.
If you are lucky enough to get
a Best Exhibit in Group,
then that's 25 points,
and they go towards
your 100 points
for an Australian champion.
And our new champion is
Klassikelp Smart n Bossy!
Koko got his championship
when he was 11 months old.
He was a young dog.
That was mind-blowing.
That was really good.
It's just that Koko decided
that he was...
He was going to be the stud
of all time! (LAUGHS)
- What do we tell 'em, boys?
We can't be beaten...
I had a phone call from a lady
who wanted to use
a kelpie at stud.
And that's where
we all came undone.
I said I had a couple of males,
but I had a young male
that she could use.
So she used him at stud
and he had eight
beautiful babies.
They were gorgeous puppies.
One became
an international athlete.
One became the face of
a successful dog food brand.
One went on to a prestigious
career in search and rescue.
And this one is no longer
allowed to sleep on the couch.
Over a period of
the next month or two,
Koko became, um...
What would you say? Arrogant.
When we took him
to the show ring,
he thought every chick
in the paddock was his.
He became full of himself.
And up went the head
and up went the tail and...
..he strutted.
He just became a 16-year-old kid
that can't think clearly.
He started to show poorly,
because of his mental attitude
at that time.
WOMAN: For the tail to be up,
he has what we call
a flat croup,
which is the back end of
the dog, where the tail is.
The croup is not correct.
But it's something that would
ruin the balance in the dog.
The way Koko held his tail
I believe was his attitude.
He should never have
carried it that high.
It's unreal that he had the
ability to carry it that high.
But he did.
If they don't match up what
we want in the show ring,
that's not the dog's fault.
We didn't pick very well when
we actually chose that dog.
So we decided we would pull him
from the show ring for a while
and let his brain
mature a little bit.
We've had a few pets
over the years.
SONG: I'm tired of
the city life...
CAROL: Our dogs
are a part of us.
If we keep a dog, then
it never leaves our place.
I should stay
But I've got to
get my sun...
They're all family.
Four-legged members
of the family.
Ain't nothing you can say
Snake eyes on
a pair of dice...
- And we got to go today...
-There you go!
Take me to the April sun
in Cuba
They stayed for life.
And Koko would have stayed
if history hadn't have
changed everything.
So right...
RICK: It's Red Dog.
Born Paraburdoo.
He died in Roebourne,
22 November 1979.
And he roamed the Pilbara
and beyond.
And, yeah, it's erected on
behalf of his many friends
by a mate who took him
for his last ride.
So, yeah, just my little tribute
to the old fella.
SONG: Mailman came
this morning
Brought a message by...
RICK: I was involved with him
all the time I was here,
until he died.
Red Dog was a mate of mine
and I was one of
many mates of his.
Sorry that I...
MAN: And by all accounts he was,
you know, quite a unique animal.
He was adopted by
the miners as a mascot.
They said he had
his own bank account.
He was part of a union
as well.
A wanderer and a drifter,
the legendary larrikin Red Dog
formed an expansive family
throughout the Pilbara
made up of miners,
local residents
and diverse community members
whose lives he intersected with
on his search for
his lost master.
Yeah, there was a lot of single
guys there in those days.
They were lonely,
and the thought that they'd
have a dog that came and went
probably appealed to them.
Yeah, we knew him -
like most people up here
that have been up here
as long as we've been up here.
MAN: He'd stay the night,
and then
next day, you'd wake up,
he'd be gone,
you wouldn't see him
for six months.
He was a good dog
but he stunk, because
he'd never had a bath.
MAN: Some people
didn't like him.
He was pretty flea-ridden
at times.
RICK: The collar that
I still have that he wore
had on it 'Red Dog'
and in brackets 'Blue'.
Think it's the old
Australian expression.
Anyone who's got red hair
is called 'Blue'.
CLINTON: Because he had a really
close attachment to this area,
I believe he's still out there,
wandering around.
BRAD: This dog is
a centrepoint for town
and a centrepoint
for a lot of tourists.
Then, of course,
the story gives everybody
a reason to come to Dampier.
Red Dog's story was told and
retold over and over again
and eventually became an
international best-selling book
by this guy.
It was fairly remarkable -
a dog that was so independent.
Temperamentally, he was
rather more like a cat,
and yet treated everybody
as an equal.
Acted as though it had
certain inalienable rights,
like the right to stop a car.
I don't know... I've never heard
of any other dog like that.
Like a lot of bestsellers,
someone wanted
to turn it into a movie.
MAN: 'Red Dog' is
a story about stories.
This guy.
It's really actually not
a story about Red Dog.
It's really a story
about the people
that Red Dog encounters in
his journeys and in his life.
And I thought
that was the genius
of Louis de Bernires's book
and of Dan Taplitz's
I read it and went,
"Ooh, this is it."
Red Dog had to be a very
specific kind of kelpie
that was around at that time.
And kelpies are
actually trained
in show situations
to have their tail down.
It was very important -
the iconic image, the iconic
silhouette of Red Dog
is the dog running
with its tail up.
We have to find a dog whose
tail goes up. That is a given.
So the casting of the dog
was absolutely critical,
which is why we spent
so much time
trying to find the right dog.
Probably took about 18 months.
Who uses paper maps anymore?
How old is this?
Kriv drove up to Dunolly, which
is two hours from the airport.
Well, depends on how you drive.
Carol Hobday?
-You must be the film director.
-Is it 'Kreeve'?
No-one ever gets it right.
Oh, well,
let's make it official.
We're here for 'Red Dog'
and, uh...
Do you have any kelpies?
And she said, "Yeah, I've got
a whole backyard full of them."
Well, great! Um...
-Can I see them?
-Oh, I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
(LAUGHS) Would you like a cuppa?
I'll pop the kettle on.
-Love one, Carol.
Do you like scones?
I've been baking.
Scones? Scones and puppies?
You're an angel, Carol.
-Come on. Come on in.
She had, you know,
the kennels back there
and we went out in the kennels,
and dogs barking everywhere.
And she pointed out Koko.
And I remember she took him
out into the backyard.
He just was the dog.
It was incredible.
He had the iconic Red Dog shape,
the tail was up
and I looked into his face
and his eyes just
connected with mine.
And he had that
incredible spark.
You look for that magic
behind the eyes, that alchemy
that, you know, the lens
and the actor has.
And some dogs have it,
some dogs don't.
CAROL: His face used to light up
and his face would come up
with all these expressions.
And you'd think, "A dog can't
look like that." But he did.
99% of directing is casting.
If you haven't cast
the film right,
there's no amount of direction
you can do to save yourself.
MAN: So, rolling.
OK, Koko, I'd just like to
try a couple of expressions.
You know, just wanna sort of
just see where we can take them.
Now, Koko, try
that little snarl.
-Ooh, the snarl's great.
-Pff! Fantastic.
Let's try a really
concentrated look
where you're really
Good. Now why don't you try
the confused look?
Great. Try it the other way.
Actually, do it like you did
the first time.
You are Red Dog.
It's great, you know?
Ah, jeez, there's
one final thing
I just wanna
talk to you about.
I know you're aware of it,
but look,
we're gonna have to
dye you red.
But, you know, the film
is called 'Red Dog'
and you've gotta be red.
There are ugly dogs and
there are handsome dogs.
Koko was a handsome kelpie.
Which brings me in
a roundabout way to say...
Look, I think that we have
found our Red Dog.
What do you think
about that, Koko?
Len, they wanna
have him in the movie!
LEN: Who?
LEN: Oh! Hold on,
I'll just go get him.
Anyway, you must be a dog lover?
Yeah, look - basically I had to
lie to get the gig, you know?
I'm actually allergic to dogs.
How many have you got?
What breed?
Um, they are...
So I'm in the kitchen. You know,
she's just made a cup of tea.
And I turn around to her
and I say, "Look,
"can we buy Koko?"
And she looked at me and said...
Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.
I don't sell my adult dogs
at all.
They stay home
and they're our pets.
And I realised, "OK,
this could go either way."
KRIV: "But..."
I could lend him to you.
(LAUGHS) Carol!
I could kiss you!
I won't. I won't!
LEN: Yeah, nah,
couldn't find him!
(LAUGHS) Thank you, Carol.
I promise you that
this is the best decision
that you or Koko will make
in your entire life.
CAROL: And Koko
got into the van,
'cause he was used to just
jumping into a van.
That was his life.
That's what he did.
And I just looked and I
thought, "Oh, that's my baby!"
He was my baby. He was
the youngest dog that I had.
That's... That's my b...
That's my baby!
Thank you, everyone.
That's been...
You better do
a bloody good job.
(LAUGHS) That was
what we thought.
I cried all the way home.
Am I ever gonna
see your face again?
Am I ever gonna
see your face again?
Without you near me...
You are going to be
a big star, Koko.
Yes, your name up in lights,
you know?
With Lassie, Benji,
Rin Tin Tin, Milo, Otis.
One of them. One was a cat.
-Or Kamir.
Oh, he's our lead dog.
Yeah, he's the...
He's the top dog.
You'll be slightly under Kamir.
NARRATOR: What, you didn't think
you'd get the lead role
that easily, did you?
No, no. You see, it takes more
than one dog to make a movie.
There were four Benjis...
..and 11 Lassies.
Filming 'Red Dog' - well,
that would be no different.
I'd actually worked with
a dog called Kamir.
Beautiful dog, but there were
a couple of issues with Kamir.
Stay. Good boy, Kamir.
No! Not 'Come here'.
Go back. Back!
Oh, why'd you name a dog
That was slightly awkward
Great performer, strange name.
I mean, your tail, fantastic.
His face is where
the money is, though.
I'm talking to a dog.
Am I ever gonna...
'Red Dog' had three dogs -
Koko, Kamir,
the film's leading dog,
and Old Red.
He didn't do much.
He just needed to look old.
But he did prove that you can
teach an old dog new tricks.
They can do anything.
Their ability
is probably restricted only by
the ability of the person
to train them.
KRIV: Koko, stay.
No! Koko, stay! Koko, back.
No, Koko! Cut! Go back.
It was a pretty...pretty
intense regime.
We basically broke the film
down into these lists.
Checklists, there's schedules
as to when the dog has to
be able to do this by
and so on and so forth.
So it was a pretty intense
period for Koko.
There was a lot of
jumping through hoops,
a lot of playing dead,
coming forward.
You know, just getting him
really salty.
Getting him really up to speed.
And then the tricks
would become more complex.
Push, push, push, push, push,
push! Push! Good boy.
And that took a good
sort of four months
to get him up and running
and ready for the camera.
Koko was finally ready
to hit the big screen
and Kriv had become
very close to the stars
who would help him tell
his story to the world.
Am I ever gonna
see your face again?
Yeah, well, they say, "Never
work with animals and children."
And you know what?
They're right.
It's a nightmare.
WOMAN: Do you want
an antihistamine?
KRIV: Should be great.
Yeah, yeah.
But Kriv's allergies would be
the least of his problems.
Working hard
All day, all night
Oh, come gather round,
It was probably the hardest
few weeks of my life.
Koko had never seen
a film set before
but it certainly didn't seem
that much different
to a dog show.
MAN: I'm travelling to set now.
Of course with the dogs!
Seeing as that's all
I do now, is walk dogs.
Some people gave him scratches,
others gave him treats.
But Koko, he just wanted
to meet everyone.
-MAN: Oh, sorry, sorry.
-(LAUGHS) That's OK!
-Mind of his own.
-So you walk dogs now?
Yeah, yeah, it's what I do, is
just walk these beautiful dogs.
You know, that and keeping
the show on the road.
-That's debatable.
-Well, thanks, yeah, great.
Hey, you've got a bit of...
-I've gotta go anyway. Sorry.
See you around.
Months of Kriv's hard work
was about to pay off...
..provided he could
impress his boss.
I'd be lying to say
that 'Red Dog' was
an easy shoot.
It wasn't.
Right from the beginning,
it was tough.
We didn't have enough money.
We didn't have a lead actor.
You name it,
we went through it.
Nelson, meet your
two leads, huh?
I mean, they're both
playing the same dog,
but they're the dynamic duo.
You get what I mean, anyway.
What do you think?
Hey, June?
It was my responsibility
to find an actor.
It was Kriv's responsibility
to find the dogs.
Kriv had actually delivered.
No, you can tell him
we've found a...
Hey, get down.
No, no, not you.
And we were really
cutting it fine.
Then who else... No.
Hey, I'm sure he will
get to like you.
He just needs to
get to know you.
Alright, let's find make-up
and get you two dyed, huh?
I've been working hard
All day, all night.
Cut! Brilliant.
The dye test.
KRIV: We'd been shooting
all that week,
just shooting actors -
shooting non-animal stuff,
getting a lot of that
out of the way.
And I remember
turning up on set.
And I called it Black Friday.
It was a Tuesday,
but it was Black Friday.
And I just sensed
something wasn't right.
And people wouldn't
look at me in the eye.
We're making a film called
'Red Dog'
and the dog's gotta be red,
and our dogs are brown.
The real Red Dog was red
because he lived in the Pilbara
and was covered in red dust,
but kelpies,
especially show kelpies,
are bred to be chocolate brown.
And we thought
it'd be relatively easy
to dye the dogs red, but...
..somehow that was not the case.
And I looked at my first,
and I'm going,
"How'd the dye test go?"
(SIGHS) Let's walk and talk.
Now, I don't want you
to overreact.
KRIV: I just had this
really sick feeling.
Is that Kamir?
Do you think that's
gonna come out?
And I looked at everyone
and no-one would
look me in the eye.
It was probably one of the
worst moments I've ever had.
We had to make a film
that was called 'Red Dog'.
And the dog was
nothing at all red!
So bad news is this does kind of
bugger with our schedule.
Good news,
we've still got Koko.
KRIV: So what you see
right here,
this is the new red colour.
What we need to do now
is put another coat on
and that colour will come
through like a Pilbara red.
Well, at least you're
the right colour now.
Mmm, very red.
Yeah, Pilbara red.
-Yeah. Yeah.
-Kamir looks great.
-No, no, that's Koko.
Yes. Yeah, he's our man.
He's our dog, I mean.
He's the top dog.
I'd bought, you know, crates
full of antihistamines
and just stocked myself up.
-Are you allergic to something?
Yes. Yup, it's, um...
..my shampoo.
It's got eucalyptus
and patchouli in it.
Anyway, the kids give it to me.
I should just throw it out,
but I don't want to
break their hearts.
-Wasn't there two dogs?
Only one. Only ever one dog.
NELSON: Whoa! What is that?
That's a stray.
Yeah, that's a stray.
Anyway, woof! Out you go!
You've gotta bark.
Shows them who's boss.
I was suffering terribly
from the hay fever.
-Are you sure you're alright?
-Are you alright?
I found another terrific actor.
-Oh, jeez.
Hi, June, how are you?
He's dropping out of the movie.
What? He did what? What?
Ah... (GROANS) OK.
Well, we just bought him
the motorbike he wanted.
Who else is available?
I was just trying
to keep it together.
He takes a bit of
getting used to.
Ready to shine?
You can act, right?
(LAUGHS) Talking to a dog.
Come on.
We were all stressed out.
I was fighting with the DOP.
No, no, no, no, no, Koko!
Koko, get back.
KRIV: Koko wasn't working.
No! No, Koko!
KRIV: I was fighting
with Nelson.
I think Koko was picking up
on the tension,
because we hadn't
found an actor yet.
The stress was affecting him.
He was distracted.
He would walk away.
Literally, we'd be in a take
and he'd walk away.
No, no, no, no, no, Koko!
Come back here!
There were many shots
he just wouldn't do.
Wouldn't have a bar of.
As we were going along,
I could see Kriv getting
more and more uncomfortable.
Kriv was very, very stressed.
You could feel that the crew
knew that something
wasn't right.
KRIV: It was really,
really tough.
It was a really tough
couple of weeks.
I was stressed.
NELSON: It's not easy
making a film.
he's not paying attention.
Can someone just grab Koko?
We were setting up
for a close-up
when he had to eat the dog food
from the bowl.
I took him aside. I said,
"Look." I said, "Kriv.
"This is our last chance
to pull the film together."
If this didn't work,
it was game over for us.
OK. Oops!
Don't worry. That's for me.
They're for me, because of you.
I'm guzzling down
20 antihistamines a day
and it's not good for you.
No, this is...
Look, Koko, Koko, Koko, Koko,
sit. Sit. Sit, please.
Apparently I was talking to Koko
as if he was a human.
Now, in this scene, I'm going
to put some food in here, OK?
I want you to eat it and then
look up at the camera.
Can you do that? Not lick...
Oh, that's not gonna...
You know, I was really,
at this point,
you know, kind of
at breaking point.
If you can't get this shot,
we're in a lot of trouble.
See that guy?
You're being ridiculous.
I have a signed contract.
He's gonna be here...
If you can't get this scene,
then he will be
very angry with you
and very angry with me
because of you.
Listen to me. You watch him
get on the plane.
You watch the door close.
This is our one chance, mate.
You are literally
the only dog we've got left.
I'm gonna take that as a...
..as a yes.
Good, OK. Uh-uh!
Good, good, good.
Stay. Food. OK.
-Alright, ready. We ready?
We are ready.
Are you ready?
OK, sound. Speed.
And we rolled.
Called action.
-MAN: Go!
-(CROWD CHANTS) Eat! Eat! Eat!
Koko ate, looked up at camera...
..and it was like...
5.4 seconds!
We all cheered.
It was just like...
"We're doing this! This is
going to happen. This is real."
Good boy.
KRIV: And it was just
a magical moment.
If we just concentrate
on the task at hand,
we'll get there.
And that was the way
I decided to move forward.
I apologised to everyone
and went, "Look,
"this is how we're
gonna make the movie.
"We've just gotta enjoy it.
"Relax and be there
in the moment with Koko."
A very strange few days,
working without knowing
who the actor was gonna be.
NELSON: We were pointing
the camera in one direction
and when we turned it towards
where our star should be,
there was no actor.
KRIV: And then he came out
at lunch
and slips a bit of paper
across the table.
And it's Josh Lucas.
I go, "Great! He'll do!"
It was one of those miraculous
last-second telephone calls
from an agent who says,
"I've found this script
and I know you love dogs
"and you should read it and
tell me what you think tonight,
"because maybe tomorrow
you'll go to Australia."
I actually really like working
with animals and children.
I'm a dog lover -
I have a great dog,
great relationship with
the dog that I rescued.
And that was part of it,
is my dog, you know,
has deeply impacted
my soul as a person
and he's one of
my closest friends.
(LAUGHS) Koko!
Koko's a brilliant actor.
He's got magic,
that dog, you know?
Like all great actors,
you know,
there's something just
magical inside of them.
NELSON: When Josh arrived
and we had our John
and we saw
the immediate connection
that Josh had with Koko
and how well
they worked together
and how Koko was just becoming
Red Dog in front of us...
Come on, squeeze it
Like you do
Oh, baby...
I knew then we were on our way.
NARRATOR: Or so he thought.
Someone came up to me and said,
"There's a problem."
The dog who had been performing
perfectly for the past two weeks
was suddenly
just not performing.
KRIV: We were shooting
an exterior at the caravan.
It's Koko, just standing there
waiting for John
to return, looking out.
And we were rolling
and suddenly
Koko just walks away.
And I follow him
where he's walking
and it's Carol.
Nelson asked me if I'd like to
go onto the set and have a look.
She was visiting. We were
thrilled to have her there.
You're all red!
KRIV: And...it was like,
"Oh, right.
"What do we do now?
"Seriously, what do we do now?"
Cutting there!
Five minutes, everyone.
NELSON: She was excited
to see him
and he was excited to see her,
but Carol's presence was clearly
having an effect on Koko.
I just think he put down tools.
-Let's just go this way.
Let these people do the film.
It was an awkward moment
where I had to tell her
not to turn up to set.
So it's great to see you, Carol.
Oh, you too, Kriv.
Hey, now, while we just get
this shot finished up...
And I could see that Kriv
wasn't very impressed
with...with the dog
running away from the set.
And Kriv said,
"Would you like to stand
"over there
a little bit further?"
So I did.
-A bit further.
(ECHOES) Is this OK?
A little bit further.
-How's this?
-A little bit further!
And Kriv said, "Would you like
to go and have coffee?" (LAUGHS)
(CAROL ECHOES) Oh, hi, Nelson!
Hey. Hey.
You wanna... You gonna go
and finish this scene?
Oh, yeah, yeah. OK.
And Koko was right back into it.
Go on. Go with Kriv.
-Good boy.
A kelpie loves people
but they adore their person.
KRIV: Back to it, everyone!
Not the person
that owns the dog.
It's the dog that
owns the person.
And the person Koko
increasingly wanted to own
didn't act with him,
didn't direct him,
didn't even feed him.
It was this guy.
Alright, I'll take you
for a walk. Come on.
Come on.
NELSON: We had some
really challenging things
that we had to shoot,
and this dog just pulled it off.
It was unbelievable.
You know, there were certain
things even the trainer said,
"I'm not sure
he's gonna get this."
And then he nailed it.
It's keeping us
on our toes as actors
because when we come on set
and we're about to do a scene,
you know, depending on
what Koko does,
it kind of determines the scene,
not the way you thought
it was gonna go.
KRIV: Nelson and that dog
went everywhere together.
I mean, everywhere.
The growing bond
between Koko and Nelson
was becoming
impossible to ignore.
NELSON: As people started
to see the magic on screen,
we realised that we had
something pretty terrific.
I was focused on
making the film.
I didn't expect to form
a relationship with the dog.
Red Dog!
Little Koko, who plays Red Dog,
is like a little
love bug, you know?
He loves a love,
he loves a pat.
He's really a very gentle,
very sweet little boy.
KRIV: The best part of
working with animals is
there's this alchemy
that happens
with the camera and with you
and with the scene
and it's just
a beautiful thing.
GEOFFREY: I'd say he's
pretty much like Bryan Brown.
He's sort of
quintessentially Australian
and won't move too far
out of their comfort zone.
Well, you know,
I am a cat person.
JOSH: My favourite day on set
was actually the last day
of shooting
where we took
this just one camera
and there was just me,
a camera guy and Koko
and we got in a car and we
just drove around and played
and they just filmed us playing.
It was, I think, the day
that Koko was the happiest.
KRIV: Koko meant everything.
I mean, without Koko,
it's like not having Brando
in 'Apocalypse Now'.
Or not having E.T. in 'E.T'.
It was that critical.
You know, Koko was the movie.
And without Koko, the movie
wouldn't be what it is.
That, folks, is a picture wrap
on 'Red Dog'!
Good work, everyone.
Thank you.
Go love that dog
and pat his head.
NELSON: There was always
an agreement with Carol
that whilst I owned him for
the duration of the filming,
that if he wanted to go back
to Carol, he could go back.
Oh, come on! Here!
-Koko! He's still all red.
-Oh, it'll grow out.
Oh, you've had quite a trip,
haven't you, Koko?
Come inside and
have a cup of tea.
Oh, I can't - I've actually
gotta drive all the way back
and get on the next plane.
-Really? Oh.
-But let's talk next week.
-That'd be great.
You look after yourself, eh?
Yeah, good boy.
Good boy.
-Thank you.
Thanks. Alright.
-Thanks, Nelson.
-We'll talk, very soon.
OK. 'Bye now.
Come on, Koko.
Come on, Koko!
I would have loved to have
brought him back home
and had him at home.
But when I saw him with Nelson,
I knew that he was
already there.
He'd already found
what Koko needed.
-Go on then.
That's when I said, you know,
that Len and I had been talking
We've decided to
gift him to you.
As a pet.
You're kidding?
And you're paying
for that window.
No, I'm serious.
You're paying for the window.
I love the colourful clothes
she wears
And the way
the sunlight plays upon...
Doing the work that I do,
every day's kind of different.
He'd often wake me up,
and he slept
at the end of the bed.
G'day, mate.
I would give him a feed.
I'm pickin' up
good vibrations...
And then we might go for
a walk, go down the beach.
Good boy!
Good boy.
Oh, what a good boy!
NELSON: And then
the day would begin.
We'd just sort of
share the day together.
He was my shadow.
I remember sort of some weeks
after we'd wrapped,
for the first time,
I took him for a walk.
It was before anyone
had seen the film.
The film hadn't come out,
so no-one knew the film
and no-one knew Koko.
And I took him down
the pedestrian mall
in the Perth CBD.
All of a sudden,
he just changed. He was on.
But we weren't actually
doing any commands,
or we weren't doing
any routines.
And what I realised was
he thought all the people
walking in front of him
were extras.
He thought it was a big scene!
As I said, I took him
everywhere that I went.
Yep, spaghetti, spaghetti.
Yeah, we're gonna
have spaghetti
and then we're gonna
have carrot.
Where is the bloody sp...
(LAUGHS) Hey! Thanks, mate.
-Good boy.
It was originally set
to come out in Easter
and then...
I'm pretty sure that
it was the first 'Thor'.
And the distributor got
very, very nervous.
MAN ON PHONE: You can't put
the dog up against Thor.
The distributor had
delayed the release.
That's, like, five months away.
Well, we don't know what to do.
Is Josh still gonna
be available?
NARRATOR: He wasn't.
I wanted to come back
to do this press tour
and there were some limitations
in terms of my schedule,
which was really
what stopped it.
I was actually really
looking forward to it.
You can't promote a film
without a star.
No, well, find out
who else is available.
CHILD: Daddy, I'm hungry. Daddy!
-Yeah, it's coming!
Some spaghetti.
-Well, who then? Who?
-No. No, that's not...
Mate, you...
I think I'm having an idea.
Road trip?
So we decided to take
the dog on the road.
I didn't have high expectations.
It was an unusual film.
The star was a dog.
We did Queensland first
and we would go to
regional radio stations
and do interviews.
Koko, the undeniable star
of the brand-new movie
'Red Dog'.
You reckon it's
a good movie, mate?
And Koko was just killing it.
And then that night,
we would do the screening.
Thank you for coming
and welcome to the world
premiere of 'Red Dog'.
Have a great night.
We love you. Thank you.
NELSON: Then we'd
bring the dog out
and it would just take it
over the top.
JOSH: I'm sad not to be there
right now with the crew
and sort of celebrating
the opening of this movie.
So the dog's going on tour?
JOSH: Koko is doing
a tour, yeah.
I must say I think
that's probably a wiser call
from a production standpoint
because people are just
gonna love that dog.
Just gotta love him, don't you?
He's just gorgeous.
WOMAN: I just kind of had
a broad grin.
-He just had personality.
-I loved the dog.
It was everywhere.
There was posters
in the main street.
Everyone was so proud of the
fact that Koko was from Dunolly.
Thousands of Eagles fans
are snapping up tickets
and heading east for
Saturday's finals showdown
with Collingwood.
And the team is hoping
some movie-star good luck
will rub off.
West Coast Eagles
winning the Premiership.
They didn't.
Now to WA's newest celebrity,
Koko the kelpie.
Len, he's on the telly!
Quick, Len, you'll miss him!
Every time he was on TV,
someone would ring me and say,
"Carol, have you seen
so and so? It's on TV."
I'd say, "Oh, hold on a minute!"
I'd have to change me channel.
A new redhead is in town.
Koko is the star of the new
Aussie film 'Red Dog'.
He's gorgeous.
Just absolutely gorgeous.
MAN: Audiences just love Koko.
WOMAN: Oh, I just walked out of
the cinema and I just...
I just wanted to go home
and hug my dog!
Everyone went with
the Koko phenomenon.
We got to travel
the entire country.
And I enjoyed that,
and I think he did too.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, Sydney's
world-famous Opera House
is the stage for Australia's
most prestigious
screen industry awards.
REPORTER: No, I'm not going to
be asking the dog questions.
It's just he's
the first big star
to arrive on
the red carpet here.
NELSON: The film was nominated
at the first AACTAs
and they brought Tim Minchin
to do 'Red Dog'.
(SINGS) They cast a dog
in the leading role
Against some Yank
with a troubled soul
And in the moment
mutual love is found
They kill the bloke
then kill the hound
And even though
we think we're tough
And we saw it coming
from a mile off
They have us sobbing
like suckers
Those manipulative
- Red Dog, Red Dog
- Red Dog
He was a dog and he was red
- He was a live dog, live dog
- Live dog
But by the credits,
he was dead.
He's pretty method,
which is impressive.
I would have sworn
I was watching a dog.
I taught him
everything he knows.
What actor would I
compare him to?
-Gregory Peck.
-Colin Friels.
Schwarzenegger, OK? Why not?
And the Samsung AACTA Award
for Best Film goes to...
..'Red Dog'.
Nelson Woss and Julie Ryan.
was nominated for
a total of seven
AACTA awards this year.
For it to do what it actually
did blew our minds.
You'd be at a restaurant,
and suddenly you'd hear
at the table next to you,
"You've gotta see
this new film.
"It's called 'Red Dog'. There's
this amazing dog in it."
More and more people
were seeing him on screen
and falling in love with him.
It blew up.
Koko got invited everywhere.
London. Berlin. Dallas.
I heard 'dog'
and my ears went up.
'Red Dog' is top dog at this
year's Heartland Film Fest.
If you're an animal lover,
first of all you're gonna
love this movie.
You're gonna love your dog
even more.
The dog's expression
was tremendous.
And the Golden Collar
goes to Koko in 'Red Dog'.
NELSON: He was it.
Koko got so popular, he was
offered roles in other movies.
There's always one,
whether it's a pig or...
There's always one with that
extra bit of personality.
George Miller called me
to ask me about Koko,
because he wanted to put him
in 'Fury Road'.
You know, I said,
"Yeah, he's great."
And he was
in that opening scene,
you know, with Tom Hardy,
but they ended up replacing him
with that two-headed
lizard thing.
Everything just became huge.
And we kind of knew
that the reason it did
was Koko.
The next step was to take Koko
and the film overseas.
And we had been asked
to do a gag on stage
and we wanted to say thank you
to the people
that had seen the film.
There were... A couple of
presenters introduced the film.
So the Event Cinemas IF Award
for Box Office Achievement
goes to 'Red Dog'.
And then I was to go out
and accept the award
and start thanking people.
But really, we all knew that
people didn't want
to listen to me
and the gag was
that I should shut up
and...and that Koko
would run out.
And he did it.
He nailed it.
He came straight out.
But I could see
something was wrong.
I would never have to
hold Koko on the lead
or hold him by his collar,
because he was so...
He was so good,
he knew what he had to do.
He would just do it
by my side.
I'd never have to hold him.
But I could see...
I could see the moment
he came out on stage,
he wasn't comfortable.
I grabbed him by the collar...
..and then we walked off stage.
..it's just because
I was used to...
I was used to not...not...
..holding him, I let him go.
And he just ran.
He ran straight
into the audience.
Man, I was so scared,
because I'd never
seen him do that before.
I knew something was wrong.
I knew something was very wrong.
He wasn't enjoying it.
And as soon as I saw that,
I wasn't gonna
let him do it anymore.
VET: So this is a lateral X-ray,
showing Koko's heart
from the side.
And his heart's quite enlarged.
It's causing the trachea
to be displaced
up towards his backbone here
and the size of the heart is
actually quite enlarged
both that way and
that dimension as well.
The main symptoms
you normally see early are
there's often a change
in behaviour.
So the dog will become
They're not gonna be
so keen to go for a walk.
They're not gonna make the
same distance they used to.
They tire out a lot quicker.
RICK: I liken it to
any sort of pump.
You know, whether it's
a fuel pump, whatever.
If the valves aren't
working properly,
the pump isn't
working properly.
JEROME: Sometimes
as it progresses,
you'll notice a change
in breathing behaviour.
So they'll start panting,
they'll have shallow breathing,
belaboured breathing.
NELSON: The best we could do was
put him on some medication
that would make him comfortable
and let him continue
enjoying being a dog.
We made sure that his condition
was really closely monitored.
And the feeling was
as long as he was happy
and enjoying being a dog
and enjoying his life,
we would do everything
that we could
to make sure
it could be continued.
It's alright, mate.
Initially, when we
started treating Koko,
Nelson informed us that his
energy levels had picked up,
he was a lot more active again.
The coughing had resolved
at least initially,
so he did see
a marked improvement.
And now Koko's, you know,
almost back to normal.
He's enjoying
a good quality of life.
He's enjoying going
for a walk in the park
and yeah, for the moment,
he's stabilised well.
Earlier this week, Koko,
who's retired from
his film career,
made a cameo appearance at the
RSPCA's Malaga headquarters.
He was on hand to present...
NELSON: I wanted to learn
everything I could
possibly learn
about what was wrong with him
in the hope that we could
help him.
And we did have great success
with some of the medication,
and I wanted to let people know
and I didn't want people
to go through
what we were going through.
He was my best friend.
He was very, very close
to my daughter.
Just remember
that he's a little old,
so just be gentle
with him, OK?
GIRL: Alright.
NELSON: He got along
pretty well with her.
He was back to
his normal self...
..for a while and then, uh...
..he started to decline again.
Eventually, if the valves are
just not functional enough,
nothing's going to fix the case.
NELSON: It's catching up
with him.
We're just taking it
day by day right now.
Koko and I lived in
a pretty unique spot.
Koko woke up that day...
..very quickly, I think,
he knew and I knew that
his condition had
deteriorated a lot.
I think...
he had just had enough.
You could tell.
He expressed it. He emoted it.
Koko was outside in the garden.
I remember he loved
that garden and he...
He did a walk-around.
He did one lap of it.
I called the vet, Jerome,
and I said,
"You better come round.
"He's not looking good."
And Jerome came around
and he said that
it's probably got to the point
where he's no longer
And he looked at us
..you could just tell -
he...he said, "I'm ready."
And Jerome was ready
..and Koko...
..was gone.
CAROL: This is gonna
break me up.
I'll never forget the phone call
I got from Nelson.
And that was
just before Christmas.
And my phone rang, my mobile,
and I answered it.
And he said,
"Oh, it's Nelson here."
And I said, "Gee, you don't
sound very good."
I didn't know what to say to him
because I felt as though
I'd been stabbed with something.
To lose a dog is heart-rending.
It tears a part of you away.
It's like losing a limb.
You know, you spend
your time afterwards
putting an extra bowl
on the table
that is no longer
going to be emptied.
And it's like losing
a part of you.
WOMAN: The canine star of the
hit film 'Red Dog' has died.
Koko became
Australia's best-known dog
after the film's release
last year.
The 7-year-old red kelpie
died of heart
disease in Perth.
The kelpie
who starred in
the hit movie
'Red Dog' has died.
7-year-old Koko,
the dog's real name,
died this morning
from heart disease.
'Red Dog' told the story
of a red cloud kelpie
who roamed
the Pilbara outback...
NELSON: It was
the shelter's idea.
They wanted to
celebrate his life.
The sort of two or three days
after Koko passed away
and we started
getting donations in,
it was just astronomical.
The phones ran off the hooks.
There was just
donations coming in,
just an outpouring of grief
as if people had actually
lost their own dog.
Koko brought
all the communities,
basically, round Australia,
and all the communities
in Australia liked Koko.
Koko's legacy definitely
lives on here at Shenton Park.
More than anything, he's
helping to save dogs in need.
NELSON: I think it was something
that when the shelter
decided to build a statue,
they wanted to celebrate.
It was just probably one of
the most moving moments
that I had with the dogs.
I only owned Koko in
the last years of his life.
Koko was bred by Len and Carol
Hobday in Dunolly, Victoria,
and Carol gave me
perhaps the greatest gift
that anyone could give,
which was
she allowed me to keep Koko
after filming.
He was a different dog.
It didn't matter who you were
or what your background was,
he'd walk straight up to you
and he was interested
to get to know you.
If you were open
to getting to know him,
he would immediately
connect with you.
When you think about that,
that's pretty special.
A lot of times, you're not open
to connecting with people,
whereas Koko did that
and had a way of breaking
through people's barriers.
I remember sitting
in front of the monitor.
Nelson had gone to get
a coffee or something,
and Koko was there
and my hand was just sort of
like this at the chair.
And I just felt something,
and he was wanting a pat.
And I felt, really,
"Oh, that's so sweet."
He could always tell
I had a vibe, I think.
There was always
a bit of a tension there
but it was just a really nice,
lovely moment.
I just gave him a good little
scratch around the ears.
Yeah, and then I had
to put cream on my hand
for the next two weeks.
JOSH: They accept you
I think is what it is.
You know, human beings,
we always have
these strong, complex
interpersonal relationships.
There's a lot of judgement
And dogs, I feel like,
not only don't judge you,
but they totally accept you
for who you are
the same way you gotta
accept a dog for who he is.
When the movie was out,
I went to one of the theatres
in Melbourne for the premiere.
And Nelson was there
and Koko was there.
NELSON: And the audience
loved it, and he was on.
And he was loving it.
But all of a sudden you could
see him. He was like...
(SNIFFS) He could
smell something.
And when he saw me...
Oh, go away.
When he saw me,
he just went spare,
he really did.
And as I cuddled him, he
started to chew me necklace!
(LAUGHS) I couldn't believe it.
I thought,
"OK, this is still Koko."
He might be a star,
but it was still Koko.
I think it's a psychological
need to be loved.
And a dog will give you that.
Doesn't matter what you are,
what you look like,
your dog will love you
NELSON: In life...
..sometimes you have unique
and special relationships.
They can be with your family
or your friends
or your dog.
And you should enjoy them.
You should make the most of them
and be there in the moment
no matter what else
is going on in your life
or what you think's important
or whatever's stressing you out,
because those relationships
and those moments
don't last forever.
Koko was always in the moment
and when you were with Koko,
you were in the moment...
with him.
And I cherished that,
loved that.
I think everyone's dog
or everyone's special companion
can make you feel that way.
..two, three.
NARRATOR: Every now and then
a one-in-a-million dog
comes along.
A one-in-560-million, if we're
being completely honest.
Koko's tale can finally
take its place
amongst the pantheon
of legendary dogs
that came before him
and the many, many more
still to come.
But the truth is, as you know
if you're lucky enough
to have a dog,
stories like Koko's,
as incredible as they are,
aren't unique.
Everyone's dog is special.
No matter who we are,
these wandering souls
bring us all together,
fill us with their love
and change our lives
for the better.
Even when we dress them up
in ridiculous costumes.
NELSON: Oh, good boy!
Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places
we used to go
But all I've got
is a photograph
And I realise you're not
coming back anymore
I thought I'd make it
The day you went away
But I can't make it
Till you come home again
to stay
I can't get used
to living here
While my heart is broke,
my tears I cry for you
I want you here
to have and hold
As the years go by
and we grow old and grey
Now you're expecting me
to live without you
But that's not something
That I'm looking forward to
I can't get used
to living here
While my heart is broke,
my tears I cry for you
I want you here
to have and hold
As the years go by
and we grow old and grey
Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places
we used to go
But all I've got
is a photograph
And I realise you're not
coming back anymore
Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places
we used to go
But all I've got
is a photograph
And I realise you're not
coming back anymore
Every time I see your face
It reminds me of the places
we used to go
But all I've got
is a photograph...
Don't they call that a wrap?
-MAN: Uh, yep.
I watch too much TV! (LAUGHS)