“I didn’t say no to anything”: Caleb Landry Jones on Complex DogMan Performance in Luc Besson’s Outrageous Thriller

Landry Jones delivers an acute portrait of an offbeat loner in a phoenix from the ashes act of recreation, and dramatic self-protection.

4 mins read

In Luc Besson’s DogMan (Briarcliff Entertainment, March 29), award-winning actor Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Out of Ebbing Missouri, Get Out, Nitram) takes on an outrageous character in an unpredictable, certain to be cult film. In one of his signature outsider roles, DogMan finds Landry Jones as a wheelchair bound, raised-with-dogs New Jersey shut-in whose near telepathic relationship with his family of canines is put to the test after he takes on a local gang boss and, surprisingly, takes up a cabaret act performing as Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe. Still with me?

In an impressive act of character unpeeling, Landry Jones gives us we initially believe might be a flamboyant chanteuse before unveiling an acute portrait of an offbeat loner whose life, in a procedural confession, unfolds as a phoenix from the ashes act of recreation, and one of dramatic self-protection. We caught up recently for an in-depth chat about Besson’s inventive new onscreen creation, their collaboration on the picture and Landry Jones’ estimable career, including his indelible, Cannes-decorated Nitram portrait.

Interview at link above.


You’re walking a very fine line between introspection and flamboyance. Clearly you love and care for this character and we come to as well over the course of the film. I’m curious what you thought when you read this character on the page and how you negotiated it with Luc Besson.

Caleb Landry Jones: I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I wasn’t sure what it needed to be. I wasn’t sure what it was. I just didn’t know where to start. Luke started with me, very smartly, by just talking about it and going through the script and getting to know each other, talking about life, music, our pasts and our relationships to animals we met as kids. So there was a really natural, easy kind of thing when it came to direction, to playing with something.

In any other movie, just one of the many facets you play here would be a challenge. But you have so much on your plate in this move—working with dogs, the character’s spinal issue, the singing and the overall psychological complexity—what was the hardest part?

CLJ: I don’t think I realized this until I had already said yes, and shook his hand. It had already been a few months and we’d been talking about it. More and more I was thinking, ‘Where does it end and where does it start? And do we ever get to see him, and where do we see him and how do we know it’s him? What’s too much and what’s too little? What’s the fun stuff?’ But there’s an amount of trust that has to happen, I think, for good work to happen. And I trusted Luke very much…I didn’t say no to anything.


  • 00:28 – Approach to Besson’s creation
  • 04:18 – Biggest challenges
  • 06:33 – Unpeeling the character
  • 08:25 – On Luke Besson
  • 10:40 – Crafting his Cannes-winning Nitram performance

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