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The latest Benji spent some time ~ above the streets prior to director Brandon Camp made that a star.Netflix
America’s favourite underdog is back! Benji — the scruffy, soulful-eyed mutt whose first film, “Benji,” grossed about $45 million at the box office when it premiered in 1974 — is returning on Friday because that a full-length reboot top top Netflix. The update functions the fourth dog to play Benji in a movie due to the fact that the start of the franchise, and retains every the family-friendly innocence of the originals.

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But if manager Brandon Camp had taken advice indigenous Hollywood honchos as soon as he an initial pitched the movie, the brand-new “Benji” movie would have actually looked a tiny bit … different.

“One exec want Benji come talk, because he stated that’s what pets in films do now,” Camp speak The Post. “Another claimed we need to do other cool, prefer ‘Benji in Space.’”

Then, that got also worse. Camp, who wrote and directed the 2009 Jennifer Aniston flick “Love Happens,” threw increase his hand at a tip to surround a sad, washed-up Benji through ultrahip YouTube stars.

Camp left Hollywood in a huff. The wasn’t being a diva — he had great reason to continue to be true to the heart of the original “Benji.”

His father, Joe Camp, created the character practically 45 years ago. An animal lover that shot television commercials, the had desires of reflecting a charismatic dog’s emotional journey by shoot him at eye level.

“The movie executives basically laughed at him and told him to put his cowboy hat back on his head and go earlier to Texas, due to the fact that no one in America would ever see that movie,” Brandon says.

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“Benji” manager Brandon Camp and also his father, Joe — who created the character practically 45 years back — pose through the scruffy pooch native the Netflix reboot.Getty Images

Doggone it, were they shortsighted. His dad financed the movie independently and also then drummed increase the money to execute a solitary premiere in Dallas. The movie took turn off from there.

Brandon, who flourished up filming and also promoting Benji with his parents and even carried the dogs who played him into school a couple of times because that show-and-tell, determined he would certainly follow in his father’s footsteps by law the latest movie top top his own. Quite than bend to “ruff” studio demands, he chose to do a low-budget film exterior of the system.

Picking the appropriate pup to be crucial. Brandon started scrolling through animal-rescue websites for a glimpse of a shaggy star with simply the appropriate warm, expressive eyes.

Brandon found his Benji in a floppy-eared mutt, who was lugged to a Humane culture shelter in Virginia after ~ being discovered — malnourished, matted and also flea-ridden — in an empty grocery store parking lot.

He has because found a loving home, and Brandon says he required to acting prefer … a dog through a bone. “He to be a natural. I think he to be born to carry out it.

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“Now he’s gained a complete entourage, an extremely demanding agents and also lawyers, a trailer and also a an individual chef,” Brandon jokes of the pooch, that recently delighted in doling the end “pawtographs” at the movie’s LA premiere. But really: “All he requires is a large, pillowy bed and a squeaky toy. If only all of the actors and also actresses I functioned with were this easy.”

Brandon, a dad of four, is excited to present the lovely pup to a brand-new generation — and of course, he wants to do his dad proud. “When I chose I wanted to lug Benji back,” that says, “I asked for the tricks to the proverbial car. Come his credit, my dad to be hands-off, and also let me phone call my version of the story.” Still, that hews close to the original, through a few variations: This “Benji” is set in new Orleans, rather than McKinney, Texas; a solitary mother, rather than a solo dad, is initially wary that bringing home a brand-new pet because that her two kids.

And just how does Joe feel about his son’s vision for “Benji”?

Brandon states he loves it: “Tears to be in his eye the very first time he saw it, and also thus, tears were in mine, too.”