Prey, the new Predator prequel coming to Disney+, features a scene-stealing dog inspired by Mad Max: The Road Warrior’s trusty companion.
Canine sidekicks are a long-running tradition in movies, whether it’s Turner and Hooch, John Wick’s pitbull, Samantha in I Am Legend, Dug in Up, or Toto in The Wizard of Oz. We cheer and fear for them more than anyone else.
Max Rockatansky’s blue-heeler, known only as “Dog,” was a tragic highlight of The Road Warrior. Tom Hardy, who later played the titular role in Fury Road, once cited the pet as what “connected” him to the original trilogy.
While there’s no Australian cattle dog in Prey, it does star a “rambunctious, high-energy” American Dingo named Coco, inspired by Max’s famous pooch.
Prey director reveals dog in Predator prequel was inspired by Mad Max
Prey follows Naru (Legion’s Amber Midthunder), an aspiring hunter and expert tracker in the Comanche Nation. Alongside her dog Sarii (Coco), she sets off to find a mysterious beast that’s skinned snakes alive and left buffalo carcasses in its wake. Is it a lion, or a bear? No, it’s a Predator.
In an interview with Dexerto ahead of the film’s release on Disney+, director Dan Trachtenberg (of 10 Cloverfield Lane and Portal: Still Alive fame) and Midthunder spoke about their hectic experiences with Coco on set.
Describing Coco, Trachtenberg said: “Super rambunctious. Very energetic. Always a nail-biting moment for us on set, ‘Is Coco gonna like, make her mark and do what she needs to do?’ It was sometimes a journey to get there, but eventually she always did. It was very exciting, lots of cheers would happen when we finally got a great take with Coco.”
He then revealed Road Warrior to be a “big inspiration for having a badass and their dog… I love having there be this buddy relationship with this creature, with another animal, amidst a Predator film.”
Prey “evolved” to have the dog in action scenes
Coco was originally meant to have a much smaller role in Prey, but as the production “evolved, we kept on finding more things,” Trachtenberg said
“We were trying to get Coco out of scenes but the opposite ended up being true, and we ended up including her more – even in some of the action set-pieces, because I just thought it’d be so fun.
“One of the great things about Road Warrior is the way Mad Max uses his doggy, so we wanted to have the same kind of fun in this movie as well.”
Coco was a loveable “disaster” during Prey’s production
Midthunder explained that Coco was adopted especially for the movie, so she wasn’t exactly the most well-trained movie dog in show business. “She was kind of a disaster,” she laughed.
“She was a little bit of a hot mess – but in a sweet way. She was not a movie dog, she was literally adopted to be in this movie, and she just happened to be very high-energy.
“She was such a delight to have around, she was so fun and very playful. And then it would be time to do stuff… sometimes she’d do it, sometimes she wouldn’t. But obviously, it all ended up fine, because she was great, and everybody loves her.”
Prey hits Disney+ and Hulu on August 5.