Interview – Nelson Woss (Producer)

Reel Review Roundup had the privilege of spending a few minutes chatting with Red Dog producer Nelson Woss over the phone during an intense day of media interviews. It was the day after the Perth premiere and although exhausted, Woss still oozed enthusiasm about his latest project.

The tale of an adorable kelpie continued to bring Australian communities together during the making of a film based on the canine’s life 40 years after his legendary trek through WA , according to Red Dog producer Nelson Woss.

Woss, who has a fondness for Australian legends (he brought the story of our most famous outlaw to the big screen in 2003’s Ned Kelly) came across the story of Red Dog when he discovered Louis De Bernieres’ book about the inspirational canine.

Red Dog united a small mining community in the early 1970s then hitch-hiked around WA (and as legend has it a quick detour to Japan) looking for his master.

Woss said the community came together once again after all these years to help get the film made.

“We were tough, hardened film makers working with a budget that was one-third of the budget we had for Ned Kelly,” he said.

“We didn’t have (trailers) and our crew members were on double and triple duty.

“We got the support of so many organisations that helped us get the story on the screen and even the locals got behind us

“This is a period film which can be hard to make especially on a low-budget.

“We couldn’t afford extras so we ran an advert in the local paper and the locals turned up to the set and some of them even loaned us their 1970s cars.”

Leading man Josh Lucas, who plays Red Dog’s master John, was inspired enough by the story that he gave up the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to get down and dirty in the Pilbara to shoot the film.

“We chased a few actors but Josh made sense,” Woss said.

“He is a dog lover and so when we showed him pictures of Koko (who plays Red Dog) he jumped on a plane and came over to WA.”

A long time fan of any movie with animals, Woss was not deterred by the old Hollywood saying ‘never work with kids or animals’.

When asked if he would ever work with animals again he insisted he “would definitely work with Josh Lucas again” followed by a hearty laugh.

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