"Hachiko" A Dog's Tale" Behind The Scenes: Our star and co-producer, Richard Gere, was my first choice from the beginning. At our first Hachi meeting, we discussed casting. The only actor that came to mind was Richard. The story of Hachiko is really about the deep spiritual connection between kindred spirits, and Richard's strong beliefs and charitable works gave integrity and strength to the character of Parker. I also knew of his respect of Asian culture. As for my second, or even third choice? There wasn't any!
"Hachi: A Dog's Tale" Behind the Scenes: I always say that we couldn't have done this film without Boone Narrs, our lead animal trainer. His company, "Boone's Animals for Hollywood", is one of the most widely known and highly respected animal training companies in the world. Boone's quiet strength and keen sense for animals became the guiding light of the film.
The real life Hachiko of 1920's Japan was white, but we needed a warmer color to contrast against snow scenes. I wanted a full face with soulful dark eyes. Boone did a nationwide search, and one by one, brought the animals to his ranch. Each time, I'd hurry on down to meet the newest cast member. Every one of the three Akitas were exactly what I envisioned. One thing was certain - they were always on their marks, and knew their lines.
"Hachi: A Dog's Tale" Behind the Scenes: Few people know that Richard is an accomplished pianist, so it was natural that they decided to have professor Parker teach music. In the scene, Parker's wife, Cate (Joan Allen), reminds the family that the dog is only a temporary guest. In real life, Joan is as classy and feminine as one can be.
"Hachi: A Dog's Tale" Behind the Scenes: Cary Tagawa played Parker's best friend and colleague. This was the first role for Cary that was outside his "tough" guy screen image, and we were all impressed with the depth and sensitivity he brought to the character. Off screen, Cary is as nice as the character he plays here.
"Hachi: A Dog's Tale" Behind the Scenes: This scene was taken from personal experience with my dog Hachi. I never met a dog who didn't like to fetch - until I met Hachi. I'd toss a ball, and he'd watch it roll to a stop. Then, he'd look at me as if to say, "I wonder why she keeps doing that?" Unlike the Hachi in the film, my dog never fetched even once!
A very moving short cartoon was sent to me by Leslea Newman, author of "Hachiko Waits". Even though it's in Japanese, the emotions remain the same. Thought I'd share it with you...