‘Arthur The King’ Director on Incredible True Dog Story

‘Arthur The King’ Director on Incredible True Dog Story February 21, 2024

It’s safe to say most people have never heard a story quite like the one depicted in the true story “Arthur the King,” arriving March 15 from Lionsgate. Mark Wahlberg stars as Michael, a pro adventure racer competing in the 2018 Adventure Racing World Championship in the Dominican Republic. There, he, and his team encounter the stray dog Arthur, who accompanies them throughout their journey.

Simu Liu as Leo and Mark Wahlberg as Michael in “Arthur The King”. Photo Credit: Carlos Rodriguez/Courtesy of Lionsgate

The film is based on the true story of Mikael Lindnord, who detailed in the bestselling book “Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home.” With the story now coming to life on the big screen under the direction of Simon Cellan Jones (“Ballers”), Lindnord calls it “a masterpiece.”

“The scenes are so close to the real life,” he said. “I think Simon when his team created this love letter to Arthur, it is way beyond my expectations.”

After seeing the film on the big screen with his family, the adventurer said the reactions from were “everything.” He even said the dog portraying Arthur was so good, “the kids are going to think Arthur is playing in that movie himself.”

Jones approached the project as a dog lover, full aware of what dogs are capable. Contrasting those who might think it’s far-fetched, he added, “the connection between humans and dog is a really weird thing and a really cool thing. And it gets you when you least expect it.”

“I loved that it was a thrilling adventure story – that gets derailed by a dog,” said Jones. “It starts as a film about the obsession of winning and then shows you that there are other ways to win. It is also about how a dog sees these people. A homeless, destitute creature who is very sick and very tired, this dog ends up having the same sort of qualities the racers have. The determination, the refusal to quit, this sort of tough, mad obsession with keeping up and getting where they need to be.”

Working with the dog who played Arthur went pretty well, except for the first week when Jones said he was cursing himself and anyone else. After he and the dog found their rhythm, they formed a really great relationship and the dog “began to love his work.”

“We were out there for nine weeks of shooting or whatever it was,” he said. “And I think the dog sort of came to work excited after a week or two.”

Lindnord’s connection with Arthur had a radical effect on his life.

“Things like this don’t happen to people like me,” he mused. “I gave some meatballs to a dog and now I’m part of a big Hollywood movie. I’d never been on a set before, never dreamed of being in Hollywood or writing a book. I never dreamed of meeting a dog. The only dream I had was a world championship gold medal. That was my goal. But that changed. He changed me.”

Beyond that incredible canine connection, Lindnord says the film is ultimately about “the important things in life—your family and your friends who are close to you.”

“Arthur The King,” directed by Simon Cellan Jones and starring Mark Wahlberg, arrives in theaters from Lionsgate on March 15.

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