In preparing for his eponymous starring role in “Turner & Hooch,” Josh Peck got the Manny Pacquiao treatment.
“I did physical fight training with Justin Fortune, who trains Manny Pacquiao. If someone drops out of the next Logan Paul fight, maybe I’ll hop in,” Peck told Variety at the Disney Plus series premiere event on Thursday.
Taking place at Westfield Century City, the pooch-filled premiere event featured set pieces from the show and dog-friendly “Puptails,” including the “Muttjito” (beef bone broth garnished with mint) and the “Blueberry Pawtini” (turkey bone broth garnished with duck jerky and a blueberry).
In “Turner & Hooch,” based on the Tom Hanks film from 1989, Peck plays Hanks’ character’s son, also named Scott Turner. A U.S. Marshal looking to advance his career, Turner finds his life turned upside down by an oversized, slobbering dog named Hooch.
“Tom Hanks is the goal, right?” Peck said. “He’s such a legend that all I can do is try to steal from him a little bit, because I just want some of his greatness to rub off on me.”
Peck also had a unique experience working with canine co-stars: He worked alongside not one dog but five, all playing the role of lovable French Mastiff, Hooch.
“Dogs force you to get out of your plan and out of your comfort zone, which is really great for a guy like me, who likes to run his scenes in the shower the night before,” Peck said with a smile.
Vanessa Lengies, who plays Peck’s love interest and dog trainer Erica, said working with animals was “transformative” for her.
“The amount of listening it took, I’ve never experienced that before,” Lengies said. “As an actor, it requires you to be so present and throw out any plans that you might have had for the scene, because the dogs don’t know your plans.”
As co-star Lyndsy Fonseca put it: “You can’t fake it around a dog because they’re gonna call bullshit.”
While the presence of animals on set certainly lightens the mood, it also comes with its own unique challenges.
“The dogs would certainly pass gas sometimes in the middle of a scene, and usually I could power through it, but I’m not that professional,” Peck said. “I’d be like, ‘I’m sorry, can we just take a moment and let the air literally clear?’”
French Mastiffs are also known to bring on a healthy dose of slobber, and Lengies mentioned urine as a common occurrence as well.
While the series shares the same name as the original movie, the cast and executive producers note that it’s a continuation of the story, not a reboot.
“We wanted to be respectful and try to honor the original story but at the same time contribute to it and take it further,” said executive producer and director McG. “So it’s both nostalgic and something new.”