It’s a sunny afternoon in Hollywood where the cast and creative team of the Disney+ Original Series Turner & Hooch have gathered together for the first dog-friendly premiere I’ve ever seen. On an astroturf lawn bedecked with San Francisco-themed doggy obstacle courses, lawn chairs, blankets, and pillows with Hooch’s face, stars and invited guests are about to be the first public audience to see the new series. In addition to the cast of Turner & Hooch, stars from The Mysterious Benedict Society and Big Shot are present, including Josh Peck’s former co-star John Stamos. And in a pinch-me moment, I’m there on the green carpet to learn more about the show and see it for myself.
“I was graduating high school when the movie came out and so that was the era when we were all going out to the movies all the time,” Creator/Executive Producer/Writer Matt Nix revealed. “I loved the movie and over the years, it's one of those movies that people just watch over and over, Turner & Hooch… I was super familiar with it and I've got a lot of nostalgia for it. I think a lot of people do, and so it was exciting to have the opportunity to bring it to a new generation.”
TV Legend Reginald VelJohnson reprises his role as David Sutton in the series, a continuation of the original film. “It was just like the old days,” the actor and dog enthusiast explained about returning to this world. “In the old days, Tom [Hanks] and I were in a car all day long with the dog's slobber down, and they'd say, ‘Cut. Cut,’ and they wiped the spit off us. It was really cool. But these dogs were a little bit better mannered. They're really well taken care of.”
Jeremy Maguire is no stranger to working with dogs, having co-starred on ABC’s Modern Family where he had many scenes stolen by Stella. “The dog was the best part,” he told me when I asked about what he liked most about working on Turner & Hooch. “The dog was always just so nice.” A Hollywood trick with animal movies is that there’s usually multiple animals playing a character, oftentimes specialized in certain tricks. “I got to play with five,” he shared when I asked him how many dogs played Hooch. “They were all really nice and very obedient. But also, working with a dog was just very unpredictable, but it always ended up super fun.”
Josh Peck may be the big name attached to the series, but he certainly knows his place when I ask about his slobbery co-star. “Oh, man. I mean, they're as great as you can imagine,” he grins as he tells me about acting alongside dogs. “I don't mean to sound shallow, but I'm kind of into them for their looks because their folds, that face… They're just 150 pounds of love. I don't know what's not to like about them.” As for taking on the role of Scott Turner, son of Tom Hanks’ character from the 1989 comedy classic, Josh shared that he did not take it lightly. “I'm just very honored to be doing this continuation of it. I think we were really careful to make sure that we didn't mess with people's memory of the movie, and hopefully just enhance what they already fell in love with.”
“Who doesn't love the movie? Who doesn't love Tom Hanks? Who doesn't love dogs? I mean, everything was attractive. And we really did have such a great time,” Brandon Jay McLaren shared about his experience on the series. But as great as working with dogs was, his favorite part of the project was just getting to go back to work. “We made a season of television in the middle of a pandemic and I think that's pretty incredible.”
Sadly, Hooch was not in attendance, presumably too busy eating Turner’s car. I’m sure he would’ve enjoyed the obstacle courses, embroidered swag bandanas, and “Puptail” drinks for dogs from Healthy Spot. He also would’ve delighted in chewing up a pillow with his face on it, which became a parting gift for Guests as they left following the double-episode premiere. If I’m lucky enough to be invited back to a season two premiere, hopefully I’ll have the chance to give that good boy some well deserved boops.
Turner & Hooch premieres Wednesday, June 21st, only on Disney+.
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).