Phil Lord and Chris Miller were insistent on keeping a major R-rated gag in Strays, no matter what.
In a Hollywood Reporter piece, the comedy writing duo spoke about producing their upcoming adult-oriented dog comedy and how good adult comedies find a balance between sweetness and raunchy humor. “A common refrain of ours is it’s not spectacular to watch people argue. That’s something we all experience all the time. What’s spectacular is watching people get along,” Lord revealed, before hinting at Strays‘ mysterious joke. “We were like, ‘If we do this, this violent act must happen, and it must make the audience stand up and cheer when it does,'” he added, confirming, “And at the first test screening, they did.”
While the act in question remains ambiguous, Strays‘ marketing hinted at a hilariously violent confrontation between lead dog Reggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) and his abusive owner, Doug (Will Forte). The trailer for Strays sees Doug abandon Reggie in the city after multiple attempts to get rid of him, leading to Reggie befriending and bonding with fellow strays Bug (Jamie Foxx), Maggie (Isla Fisher) and Hunter (Randall Park). After realizing what happened, Reggie vows to return home and get revenge, specifically by biting off Doug’s manhood. On top of the R-rated dog jokes, Strays teased a few animation-blending sequences during its final moments after its talking canines eat some hallucinogenic mushrooms together.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s TV and Film Projects
Strays won’t be Lord and Miller’s only 2023 release. The duo recently produced Cocaine Bear and serve as both producers and writers for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, a follow-up to Sony’s Oscar-winning 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The sequel — which Lord and Miller co-wrote alongside David Callaham — introduces new multiversal factors to protagonist Miles Morales’ life, including portal-generating villain the Spot (Jason Schwartzman) and an interdimensional group of superheroes called the Spider-Society, led by Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac). In between these films, Apple TV+ will release Season 2 of Miller’s TV show, The Afterparty, in July.
Additionally, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse expands upon its predecessor’s worldbuilding, boasting five different universes with their own unique art style per Spider-variant. Four of these dimensions belong to Miguel, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Punk, and Spider-Man India respectively, while Lord called the unknown fifth dimension “jaw-dropping.” The film reportedly clocks in at 140 minutes, making it one of the longest Western animated films ever. Predictions suggest Across the Spider-Verse will make up to $85 million domestically for its opening box office weekend, while early critic reactions have been overwhelmingly positive.
Strays releases in theaters on Aug. 18
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