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My Pet World: Hollywood Kingpin's Love of Dogs Permeates Film

By Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services on

If there ever was a Hollywood kingpin -- Lawrence Kasdan fills the bill. He's participated in writing and directing so many great movies, including "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi," "The Bodyguard," "Body Heat," "Silverado" and "The Big Chill" to name a few.

Often, his writing and production partner has been his wife, Meg. You'd figure the studios would clamor for any script hot off their computer.

Kasdan laughs and says, "Not if the script isn't an extravaganza big picture." His latest movie, "Darling Companion," which opens in L.A. and New York on April 20 (later in other markets) is a story about people of a certain age, co-starring Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins and Sam Shepherd.

Earning top billing, over all these stars, is a dog.

The movie begins with Keaton's character and Elizabeth Moss (who plays her daughter) discovering a lost dog at the side of the road in Colorado. Keaton winds up adopting the pet, who her husband (played by Kline) loses a year later. Family dynamics are turned upside down as everyone searches desperately for the dog.

Why such upheaval over a lost dog?

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"I learned it's one of the most emotional things that can happen," Kasdan says,

He knows because about five years ago, he and Meg lost their dog, Mac.

"While attending a wedding, we left Mac with a friend," he says. "They were hiking when a mountain biker spooked the dog and he ran off. We thought he'd show up immediately. We searched and searched and put up posters and made announcements on local radio. We did everything."

Kasdan says that while he knew he loved Mac, he wasn't prepared to be as "devastated" as he was by the loss.


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