Get ready for a classic tale of a man and his computer-generated dog.
A new trailer for The Call of the Wild, an upcoming film adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel, was released today. It will star Harrison Ford as gold prospector John Thornton; his canine companion, Buck, is a CGI creation in the movie, played by actor Terry Notary via motion-capture.
London’s original story focuses on Buck, a St. Bernard mix who’s kidnapped from a wealthy California household and eventually becomes a sled dog in the Yukon for a series of owners—many of whom abuse him—before ending up with Thornton, with whom he develops a powerful bond. At the end of the novel, however, Thornton is murdered by members of a fictional Native American nation called the “Yeehats.” The story ends with Buck joining a pack of wolves and killing a number of Yeehats, who call him a “Ghost Dog.”
Although the trailer prominently notes that the film is “Based on the Legendary Novel,” it appears to add a few things to the story—at the very least, a massive avalanche, as well as Buck’s rescue of a woman—played by The Expanse’s Cara Gee, but unnamed, as yet—who falls through some ice. (The trailer also features a fight with a bear that, oddly, only gets a passing mention in the novel.)
It seems likely that Buck meets Thornton more quickly in the film; in the book, he doesn’t appear until about halfway through the story. Twentieth Century Fox wouldn’t hire Indiana Jones himself to star in half a movie. Also, one also wonders how the film will approach the Yeehat characters, who play a key role in the narrative.
The Call of the Wild has been adapted multiple times in the past, in a 1923 silent film, a very loose 1935 movie adaptation starring Clark Gable, and a 1972 movie with Charlton Heston. The upcoming production, which also stars Avengers: Endgame’s Karen Gillan, The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford, and Legion’s Dan Stevens, will be released on Feb. 21, 2020.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.