Will Ferrell lends voice to an abandoned dog in raunchy heartwarming comedy ‘Strays’

From the worldwide box-office hit Barbie, Will Ferrell stars in the latest feral comedy movie Strays, a subversion of the dog movies we know and love. Ferrell lends his voice to a naïve, relentlessly optimistic Border Terrier named Reggie who was abandoned on the mean city streets by his lowlife owner, Doug (Will Forte; The Last Man on Earth, Nebraska).

In this hilarious comedy, Reggie along with three other adorable mischievous dogs strut the streets to go back home because he is certain that his beloved owner would never leave him on purpose. But once Reggie falls in with a fast-talking, foul-mouthed Boston Terrier named Bug (Oscar® winner Jamie Foxx; Ray, Soul), a stray who loves his freedom and believes that owners are for suckers, Reggie finally realizes he was in a toxic relationship and begins to see Doug for the heartless sleazeball that he is.

Directed by Josh Greenbaum, the comedy features a powerhouse comedic supporting cast—including Grammy winner Josh Gad (Beauty and the Beast) as Gus, a Labrador Retriever; Harvey Guillën (Puss in Boots: The Last Wish) as Shitstain, a Chihuahua; Emmy nominee Rob Riggle (The Hangover) as Rolf, a German Shepherd; Brett Gelman (Stranger Things) as Willy, a despicable Animal Control officer; Jamie Demetriou (Pinocchio) as Chester, a Bulldog; and Emmy nominee Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) as Dolores The Couch, the inanimate object of Bug’s affection.

Upending audience expectations, Strays explores the saltier side of a man’s best friend but makes the audience care more about the characters with all its elements of love and loyalty in the midst of an emotional journey trying to find out the truth about humans. “What really surprised me was the heart and depth in the script, with fully developed characters,” Greenbaum says. “It reminded me of films like Stand by Me and Breaking Away, where friends become family.”

Ferrell was immediately amused by the concept of an R-rated dog film, but it was the heart of it that hooked him. “I immediately loved that the premise emulated a Homeward Bound type of dog movie with a journey behind it, yet it’s filthy and R-rated,” Ferrell says. “I remember thinking it could be really great and could be something we’ve never seen before. The audaciousness of the premise and the sweet, earnest relationships between the dogs surprised me.”

To play Reggie, Ferrell tapped into Reggie’s evolution from affectionate rube to confident hero. “Reggie is the ultimate glass-half-full kind of sweet little guys,” Ferrell says. “He wakes up with a smile on his face every day and just wants to have an owner who loves him. To play someone who just sees the best in everything and everyone was a really fun thing to do for me. There’s a real innocence, sweetness and earnestness to Reg, and it’s really fun to watch him describe fetch-and-fuck, this amazing, diabolical game. To have him explain it to his new friends and watch his world kind of collapse around him and realize that everything he believed in is now thrown out the window, was a really interesting and enjoyable experience.”

Strays, Ferrell says, is really a story about friendship, love, loss and the absurdity of life. “The audacity of the film is what makes it original,” Ferrell says. “It goes to a place that you don’t expect it’s going to go. That been said, there are real tender moments where Reggie, who’s walked through life with rose-colored glasses on despite living in horrible circumstances, is educated about what the real world is like. That intersection there is super sweet and really earned.”

From Universal Pictures International, Strays is rated R-16 by the local censors board and will open on September 13 in cinemas.  

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