Red Dog – a box office star


He has those same copper-hued  coat and magnetic eyes of myriad Aussie
sheepdogs, however, there isn’t another quite as  unique as  KoKo,  the wonder  woofer star of Red Dog.  Here he is with the film’s sound recordist,
James Currie and his daughter  Nikola on location at Globe Derby Park.

KoKo, never camera shy, was only too happy to pose with James
and Nikola  in the name of future publicity. The KelpieXcattle dog, was acquired from a NSW breeder when he was 12 months old and his name was KoKo.

The film captures beautifully the bond between  a dog and his master within the unique setting of an Australian Outback  mining community.  It is based on the true story (if unashamedly embellished by the outback myths surrounding it)  by British author Louis de Bernieres about the  dog who became so wellknown for his travels through the Pilbara region of Western Australia that they built a statue to him in remote Dampier.

“Young Koko did the major work in the film,, but there was also the old Red Dog  and another hound who could run over the big mining pipes better than KoKo,’’ says James.

“They looked at a lot of dogs and Kriv loves to tell he audiences that they died KoKo’s  coat because he wasn’t quite red enough.’’

The British author  Louis Bremieres, spent a few weeks on location during filming.  The blokes yarned on location and Louis told James how  serendipity saw him accept an invitation to go to Writers’ Week  in Western Australia.

“Here was this Englishman with a French name and during the festival someone told him about this dog and they told him there was a statue of the dog at Karatha,’’ recalls James. “ And so he travelled there and met some of the people who knew Red Dog from the 1970s. Louis used everything available to him and wrote a 150 page book.’’

James reckons Louis was thrilled at the well-assembled cast  which reflected the multinational makeup of mining communities and its conglomeration of strange characters.

So much of this great film is uniquely Australian, from the moment a thirsty long-haul  truckie (Luke Ford)  walks into an outback pub.  But no-one is drinking because Red Dog is real crook and  the barman Jack (Nash Taylor) tells Luke how he has been poisoned and the vet had better come real quick.

And so his life story and that of the human who becomes his master,  the fancy-free American, John,  unfolds  in a laconic manner with their recollections laced  with humour, a dash of romance and some heartfelt tears . It’s a classy feel-good film and in the tradition of ”Lassie’’, it shouldn’t be  missed. Because Red Dog mirrors those countless other quirky Aussie KelpieX sheep dogs and cattledogs, we may have known on the farms and cattle stations in our own lives.

The film feaures John Lucas, Noah Taylor, Luke Ford, John Batchelor and bringing a wonderful feminine touch to the story is Rachel Taylor – but Red Dog steals the limelight and is the real star.

Editor’s note: I will be writing a feature on the illustrious career of James Currie for next month’s celebs and culture blog.


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1 Comment to “Red Dog – a box office star”

  1. By Marie Jonsson-Harrison, 22/09/2011 @ 7:00 pm

    Great article Nadine, funny that we wrote about the same thing this time 🙂 Great movie and I hope it becomes a world wide hit.
    Love Marie xxx

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