The recent Benji invested some time on the streets prior to director Brandon Camp made the a star.Netflix
America’s favorite underdog is back! Benji — the scruffy, soulful-eyed mutt whose an initial film, “Benji,” grossed about $45 million at the box office once it premiered in 1974 — is return on Friday because that a full-length reboot top top Netflix. The update features the 4th 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 very first pitched the movie, the new “Benji” movie would have looked a little bit … different.

“One exec want Benji come talk, since he stated that’s what animals in films do now,” Camp speak The Post. “Another claimed we must do miscellaneous cool, like ‘Benji in Space.’”

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

Camp left Hollywood in a huff. That wasn’t gift a diva — he had great reason to remain true come the spirit of the initial “Benji.”

His father, Joe Camp, developed the character virtually 45 year ago. An pet lover who shot television commercials, he had dreams of mirroring a charismatic dog’s emotional journey by shoot him in ~ eye level.

“The movie executives usually laughed in ~ him and told the to put his cowboy hat ago on his head and go ago to Texas, since no one in America would ever before see the movie,” Brandon says.

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

Doggone it, to be they shortsighted. His dad financed the film independently and also then drummed up the money to perform a solitary premiere in Dallas. The movie took off from there.

Brandon, who grew up filming and promoting Benji through his parents and even carried the dogs who played him right into school a couple of times because that show-and-tell, decided he would follow in his father’s footsteps by act the recent movie ~ above his own. Fairly than bend to “ruff” studio demands, he decided to make a low-budget film exterior of the system.

Picking the best pup was crucial. Brandon started scrolling with animal-rescue websites because that a glimpse that a shaggy star with just the appropriate warm, expressive eyes.

Brandon found his Benji in a floppy-eared mutt, that was brought to a Humane society shelter in Virginia ~ being discovered — malnourished, matted and flea-ridden — in an north grocery store parking lot.

He has since found a love home, and Brandon states he took to acting prefer … a dog through a bone. “He was a natural. Ns think he to be born to do it.

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“Now he’s acquired a complete entourage, very demanding agents and lawyers, a trailer and a an individual chef,” Brandon jokes of the pooch, who recently took pleasure in doling the end “pawtographs” in ~ the movie’s LA premiere. However really: “All he requires is a large, pillowy bed and also a squeaky toy. If only all of the actors and actresses I operated with were this easy.”

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

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

Brandon claims he loves it: “Tears were in his eyes the first time he experienced it, and also thus, tears were in mine, too.”