Luc Besson at 2018 Berlinale

Luc Besson’s ‘DogMan’ Signs SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement to Promote Film at Venice

Luc Besson’s latest movie “DogMan” has signed SAG-AFTRA’s interim agreement, giving it the green light to promote the film during its premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

While it’s not the first such independent movie to sign the interim agreement for promotional purposes, it’s the first among movies due to premiere at the fall film festivals, of which many will be looking to have their stars hit the Lido or Toronto next month.

It’s unclear whether stars from “DogMan” will be on hand, but the film stars Caleb Landry Jones and Jojo T. Gibbs.

The film’s presence on the fall festival circuit is also a controversial one after Besson was recently cleared of all rape charges in a court case dating back to 2018, in which the director was accused of raping Dutch-Belgian actress Sand van Roy.

“DogMan” is Besson’s first film since 2019’s “Anna,” and it stars Landry Jones as Douglas, a man who was abused as a child by his father and found solace in the friendship of dogs. Douglas later dresses as a woman and further explores his love of canines. Check out the trailer for the film here.

Caleb Landry Jones in “DogMan”screenshot/Kinology

Besson wrote and produced “DogMan” and also independently financed the project, which puts it in line with the other 100+ movies that have qualified and agreed to SAG-AFTRA’s terms in the interim agreement. The film is set for release in France on September 27 followed by an international rollout, but it does not have domestic distribution.

Though “DogMan’s” inclusion at Venice was controversial, festival director Alberto Barbera defended the decision to platform the project, as well as other new films by Roman Polanski and Woody Allen.

“Luc Besson has been recently fully cleared of any accusations,” Barbera recently said. “Woody Allen went under legal scrutiny twice at the end of the ’90s and was absolved. With them, I don’t see where the issue is.”

At least one U.S. film already pulled out of the Venice Film Festival as a result of the SAG-AFTRA strike and the inability of actors to promote. That’s Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers,” which stars Zendaya and was meant to be the opening night film. Distributor MGM and Amazon ultimately delayed the film’s release until 2024.

Venice takes place August 30 through September 9.