Josh Peck Gets Real About Having 5 Slobbery French Mastiff Costars on Turner & Hooch Reboot
Now we wish our job was playing with pooches on camera.
It's one thing to work with an animal, it's another thing entirely when that animal—five of them, actually—is your co-star. No one knows this better than actor Josh Peck, star of the new Turner & Hooch reboot now streaming on Disney+.
You may remember the 1989 film of the same name starring Tom Hanks as Scott Turner, a neat-freak cop whose life is turned upside down by an enormous French mastiff. The 2021 series features Peck as U.S. Marshall Scott Turner (son of Hanks's character), who inherits his father's unruly dog, Hooch. Despite the chaos Hooch causes everywhere he goes, the gargantuan slobber machine turns out to have a knack for solving crimes. What follows is a buddy-cop farce that's fun for the whole family.
Peck sat down with Daily Paws to discuss what it was like to share the spotlight with not one, not two, but five furry costar pups, most of whom are nearly as big as him.
He explained that acting alongside an animal was a delightful challenge. "It was really hard to take ourselves too seriously in a refreshing way," Peck tells Daily Paws. These acting dogs are professionals, but they're still unpredictable. "We had to adjust to them and improvise ... If you honor the reality of what they're doing, then somehow the scene would just work."
He described filming one scene in particular that was especially hectic in the best way. In episode two, Turner and Hooch wind up in a fountain surrounded by floating food, so of course Hooch is having the time of his life. Turner is meant to be scolding the dog for getting them into yet another sticky situation, but Peck emphasized the importance of a friendly disposition and positive reinforcement to "keep the intensity down and the dogs comfortable while also trying to capture whatever the scene required."
Essentially, Peck had to pantomime frustration with his body while praising French mastiff Hammer with coos of "You're such a good boy."
"It was perfect because he couldn't have been more pleased, it looked good, and I think that was the best way to make it work," he says.
Peck adds the dogs always came first during production. It was important that he build a foundation of trust with his doggy costars. Luckily for him, that meant spending two weeks bonding with each pup one-on-one, going on walks, practicing cues, and, of course, eating lots of treats. "We just got so close," Peck says. "Every time we walked on set it was just like you're a kid."
Given how much he adored the experience of acting with animals, it's no surprise that Peck considers himself a dog person. He's partial to white, "fit in your purse adorable little dogs" like his childhood bichon frise Sushi or his recently deceased Maltese, ironically named Monster. Still, he has a soft spot in his heart for big boys like his costars Obi, Hammer, and Mimi to name a few.
"For anyone who's flirting with the idea of getting a French mastiff but might be intimidated because they're big dogs, they're pretty awesome," he says. "I'd say go for it."