Disney+ is on the horizon, with its launch date set as November 12. One of the films which Disney had first discussed bringing to the service was Togo. The feature stars William Dafoe, known from his time on Spider-Man, and People have now offered a first look at the movie.
In summary, Togo tells the story of an unlikely bond which is struck up between sled dog Togo and driver Leonhard Seppala, played by Defoe.
Talking to People, Defoe discussed the film: ‘It’s a beautiful story of an underdog (no pun intended) and how we can learn from adversity.
‘[The viewers] will see beautiful nature, a world past, with touching relationships between the characters in a suspenseful adventure story.’
The film is based on a true story and rooted in history. The 1925 Nome Serum Run, also known as the Great Race of Mercy and The Serum Run, saw a dog sled relay carry diphtheria antitoxin carried across Alaska by 20 mushers and around 150 sled dogs across 674 miles in five and a half days. The feat saved the small town of Nome and the communities surrounding it from an epidemic which was beginning to develop.
Togo the dog was born small and sickly, requiring additional care from Seppala’s wife. As he only grew to around 48lbs as an adult, this would normally be considered too small for him to become a lead dog. However, he proved himself by jumping through a kennel window and running for miles back to Seppala after he attempted to give him away.
Seppala put Togo on his runs, but to start with, the dog would lead the others off the trail in charges against reindeer. However, when Seppala put him in a harness to keep the other dogs focused, Togo calmed down and was in joint lead position by the end of his first run.
While previous accounts of the tale would prioritise Balto, the dog who ran the final leg of the journey, the film will take account of Togo’s story, which involved the dog leading Seppala’s sled through the most dangerous territory during the run.
The movie will be directed by Ericson Core, known for directing Disney’s Invincible in 2006. The script is from Tom Flynn, Doug Jones is a producer and other stars in the movie include Thorbjørn Harr and Julianne Nicholson. It will premiere on December 13, 2019, on Disney+.
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