Steve Dale, USA WEEKEND contributing editor, has an inside story on a Hollywood movie.
He says that while Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Weist and Sam Shepherd appear in Darling Companion, the lastest movie by Lawrence (The Big Chill, The Bodyguard) Kasdan, the real star is a mutt.
The story begins when a woman (played by Keaton) rescues a dog by the side of a Colorado road. About a year later, that same dog is lost by her husband (Kline) while he’s hiking.
The entire family mobilizes to find the dog, Freeway – named for a dog Kasdan’s real-life sister-in-law found on the side of the road in Detroit.
Perhaps real-life wrote more of the screenplay than Kasdan and his wife, Meg. He and Meg know a little too much about what it’s like to lose a dog. Their own dog, Mac, was spooked by a mountain biker in Colorado about five years ago and off he went. “I knew I loved Mac, but I wasn’t prepared for how devastated I was,” Kasdan says.
“We were worried something could happen to him in the mountains, but also it’s that bond, that relationship you develop – you don’t know how much it means until it’s gone,” adds Kasdan. “After about 10 days, we were getting very discouraged when we were given renewed hope by a friend of Meg’s who said, ‘Mac’s all right; you’re going to find him.’ ”
Meg asked, “How do you know?”
The friend replied, “I know things.”
It turned out the friend was right. Three weeks later, Mac was discovered.
Might that have happened anyway? Or was it that the friend (either clairvoyant or crazy) motivated the family to keep on searching.
In the movie, guess what – the same thing happens. The housekeeper (played by Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer) says she “knows things.”
Spoiler alert: Freeway is found in the movie, just as Mac was in real life. “We didn’t dare consider any other ending,” Kasdan says. While in real life Mac was microchipped, so was the dog in the film; Kasdan is a huge fan of microchipping for ID and recovery of pets.
Steve Dale is a certified dog/cat behavior consultant and contributing editor USA WEEKEND. Steve’s a syndicated newspaper columnist and radio host, and his latest e-books are Good Dog! and Good Cat! Read more about him here.