Max, the new family friendly feature film, is about a PTSD stricken military dog who moves in with his deceased handler’s family, and stars Robbie Amell. The movie goes into wide release this Friday, June 26 in theaters across the country.
The Belgian Shepherd and his handler, United States Marine Kyle Wincott, played by Toronto born actor Robbie Amell, build a special relationship while serving on Afghanistan’s frontlines. Max finds it difficult to go on after Wincott is mortally wounded.
Amell, who has two dogs of his own, found working with the highly trained dogs to be an eye opener.
“These dogs are really, unbelievable,” said Amell, who described how his canine counterparts could hit marks buried under sand and perform complex choreography.
“The main [dog] I worked with, his name was Carlos, was a beautiful Belgian Shepherd and so unbelievably smart. I ruined more takes than Carlos did.”
Amell’s dogs include a 4 pound Shih Tzu/Poodle and a 5 pound Maltese. “They couldn’t be farther from a Belgian Shepherd,” joked the dog lover.
The heart of Max, is the special bond that can form between a human and an animal. The movie, directed by Boaz Yakin, sheds light on the idea that four-legged veterans can also deal with the scars of war.
Amell, who researched service dogs for his role in the film, said he was touched to learn that military dogs can also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), when they lose someone.
“Of course it’s horrible when it happens to people…but you can talk through it and you can seek help,” he said, but a dog can’t seek help for what’s going on.”
Amell, 27, is trading dogs for cats in his next film, Nine Lives. The comedy is currently shooting in Montreal with Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken and Jennifer Garner.