Is Jean-Claude a Real Dog? Was He Really a Part of The Fall Guy Stunts?

In David Leitch’s action comedy film ‘The Fall Guy,’ the seasoned stuntman Colt Seavers teams up with a dog named Jean-Claude to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Tom Ryder, the star of his film. Jean-Claude becomes a part of several life-threatening stunts throughout the movie, starting with Colt’s enthralling chase to save Alma Milan and Tom’s phone. After the chase, Colt takes Jean-Claude with him as he continues the investigation with Dan Tucker. Since the dog puts his life on the line while following the commands of the stuntman, the viewers are guaranteed to be concerned about the lovable canine!

Jean-Claude and His Puppet

Jean-Claude is a real dog. Two female dogs belonging to the Australian breed called Kelpie play Colt Seavers’ canine companion in the film. Kelpie is a sheepdog widely used in the Australian continent for mustering and droving livestock with limited or no guidance. The Kelpies are generally divided into two varieties: the Show and Working Kelpies. It is a soft-coated and medium-sized dog breed that has been exported to several countries, including the United States and Argentina. Even though two real dogs “play” Jean-Claude in the film, it doesn’t mean their lives were put on the line to perform stunts.

In the action scenes in the movie, a puppet stood in for Jean-Claude to ensure the safety of the two dogs. With the help of CGI, the puppet was then replaced by the appearance of the canines. “I just want to give a quick shout out to Jean Claude, the dog in our movie who also had a stunt double, and it was a puppet,” Stephanie Hsu, who plays the dog’s caretaker, Alma, told Variety. “Jean Claude was not allowed to bite the man in the garbage truck. His puppet had to do it, and the animal trainers were puppeteering a puppet through the garbage bin. I have a really incredible photo of it. Shout out to Jean Claude’s puppet stunt double,” the actress added.

David Leitch, the director of the action comedy, is a renowned dog lover. With his writer, Drew Pearce, he must have wanted to increase the stakes in the narrative by introducing a dog character in the action sequences. As Colt and Jean-Claude hunt down the people behind Tom Ryder’s disappearance, almost all the viewers are guaranteed to root for Colt for the sake of the safety of his dog. Furthermore, for Leitch, the experience of having a dog in the filming sets was also special. “When you are in an action scene, you are always trying to give yourself problems to make things fresh. Rain is good. Ice is good. And then adding an animal on set is always great,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Jean-Claude can also be seen as a nod to the beagle puppy that belonged to John Wick, arguably the most popular dog lover on the planet. Leitch unofficially made his directorial debut with the first installment in the ‘John Wick’ franchise, and Pearce seemingly wanted to make a connection with the same through Jean-Claude. In addition, the screenwriter had learned from his previous collaborator Shane Black, who helmed ‘Iron Man 3’ based on a script the former co-wrote, that there are people who love dogs more than fellow human beings. For them, ‘The Fall Guy’ will remain intriguing because of Jean-Claude if they don’t care much about Colt’s efforts to find Tom.

Ultimately, Jean-Claude’s significance in the film is a homage to a late pet of Eva Mendes, the partner of Ryan Gosling. “Eva used to have a dog named Hugo who was a Belgian Malinois, who was an attack dog. He only spoke French. He’s passed now, so this is my homage to him,” the actor said about the scenes with Jean-Claude during  a Q&A session at SXSW.

Read More: The Fall Guy: Where is Ryan Gosling’s Movie Filmed?