Beagle co-stars with Keanu Reeves in new revenge flick

In John Wick, Keanu Reeves plays a retired hitman who goes on a rampage after the demise of his beloved Beagle. (Photo credit: David Lee)

Throughout the history of cinema, one of the most reliable plots is revenge. Man on Fire, Rolling Thunder, and similar films all feature protagonists out to avenge the death of beloved humans. But there haven’t been many movies where the main character is out to avenge the death of a pet.

Actor Keanu Reeves has a new best bud and co-star. He’s a four-legged Beaglenamed Andy, and they have leading roles in the new film John Wick, which opens tonight.

Reeves plays the title character, a retired hit man who returns to a life of crime and goes on a murderous rampage after Russian mobsters kill his dog. Yes, this is a brutal movie, and yes, the actors had a difficult time filming it.

Kim Krafsky, a certified animal trainer from Animal Actors International, knew she found the right dog when she first spotted Andy. Krafsky told the New York Post the director wanted a Beagle because, “There’s this thing about them; they’re just cute. They’re not overly large or small. They’re just a cuddly breed with those big sad eyes.”

The dog also had to be friendly, outgoing, and comfortable around people. “All of those things have to be wrapped up into one animal,” Krafsky says.

While filming the movie, Andy would stand right next to Krafsky as she gave him his cues and monitored his behavior.

Everyone on the set had a tough time during Andy’s final scene. It was especially hard on Omer Barnea, the actor playing the killer. “He felt horrible,” said Krafsky. “Every time the director yelled cut, Omer just picked up the dog and cuddled him.”

When the cameras stopped, Andy would relax and get a lot of puppy love from the cast and crew.

Andy is hardly the first dog to play a major role in a movie this year — Rocco, a Pit Bull, was a key character in The Drop. The film also featured late actor James Gandolfini’s final performance.

Sources: The New York Post, IMDB, Lions Gate