THE CALL OF THE WILD director Chris Sanders gets major surprise during production

Jesus Figueroa
Written by Jesus Figueroa

“The Call of the Wild” may tell the journey of Buck the dog, but director Chris Sanders has his own tale to tell about Buckley, the dog who Buck is modeled after.

Sometimes things just fall into place, even when having a rocky start.

Sanders said he had been looking for a dog to model Buck after, but he just couldn’t find the right mixture of breeds.

After a long search, filming started and Sanders settled for a a Bernese Mountain dog that was adequate. Shortly after filming started problems with the dogs being predominantly black and having so many night scenes.

Sanders’ wife, Jessica Steal Sanders, caught site of a dog on Pet Finder that matched the breeds the Buck would be and, surprisingly, the dog’s name was Buckley.

The dog was found in Kansas.

To get Buckley to set Sander’s wife drove 2 days to pick him up and get him to set.

Buckley was a bit young, but was the model for Buck and once he grew more the model was adjusted to reflect the changes.

Jessica not only brought Chris his lead dog for his first live-action movie, but a new pet as well.

Chris took Buckley with him to “The Call of the Wild” premiere in Hollywood to walk the red carpet.

Having come from animation, Chris was happy to work on a film where the lead character would be a computer generated image, but that was not the only part which proved to be beneficial.

Being able to draw gave Chris the opportunity to storyboard most of the movie shot by shot.
“I was working with Glenn Derry, who ran a special effects house we were working with, and I said, ‘Do you have a piece of paper I’ll just draw it,’ so he gave me a piece of paper and I drew these panels the way I thought the scene should unfold,” Chris said. “He said, ‘Hey, you can do that?’ I said, ‘yeah, I come from story boarding.’ He said, ‘Why aren’t you just doing that all the time?’ I said, ‘you’re right maybe I should do it all the time,” so I started story boarding more and more.”
Chris storyboarded scenes shot by shot and was able to show exactly what he wanted captured.

His creativity along with the cast and crew he worked with helped create a beautiful movie with positive messages of friendship, kindness and perseverance.

Opens In Theaters February 21


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