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Josh Peck hadn’t seen the 1989 Tom Hanks movie “Turner and Hooch” before landing the role on Disney+ series of the same name, premiering July 21.
“I had seen bits and pieces, and when I got the audition, I watched the whole thing,” Peck, 34, told The Post. “And then I immediately understood what was so lovable about it. That era between ’85 and ’95 was the gateway to movies like ‘The Sandlot’ and ‘The Goonies.’ Great family movies. I like the idea that we were paying homage to the original while also creating a new world.”
A continuation of the film, “Turner and Hooch” is set after Hanks’ character has died offscreen. The comedy follows his adult son, Scott Turner Jr. (Peck), an ambitious and uptight U.S. Marshal who inherits an unruly French Mastiff from his late father, throwing his carefully organized life into disarray.
The dog makes a mess of his apartment, interrupts his fieldwork with partner Jessica Baxter (Carra Patterson) and puts him in the path of a new love interest, Erica (Vanessa Lengies), who’s a dog trainer.
As it turns out, Peck’s canine co-star was actually five different dogs, he said.
“There’s Opie, Hammer, Sid, Arnie and Mimi. And they’re all talented in their own ways. Opie was our elder statesman, an older dog, so he had a chill way about him. Hammer would pull my arm out of its socket because he only had one speed, and that was ‘Rip Josh across the scene’ at all times. And then there was Mimi, our only female dog, who was our super-specialist. When we needed a dog to jump high, she was the one we called in. It was like having a team — you called in your specialist.”
Since Peck has made his career doing family fare such as Nickelodeon’s “The Amanda Show” and “Drake and Josh” as well as the “Ice Age” movies, “Turner and Hooch” felt like a natural fit, he said.
“I was looking for something that was similar to what I grew up doing, but also elevated. This allowed me to do the kind of broad physical comedy that is my greatest joy while also adding in certain elements of things that I wasn’t used to doing — like looking like a guy that could save you as a U.S. Marshal.”
Peck’s penchant for programming geared towards family audiences was just how the roles came to him at first, but now it’s become what he deliberately seeks out.
“Naturally, anything you do as a child and in your teens, you kind of want to rebel against, which I did in my early 20s. I’ll always want to do things that challenge me. But also, the beautiful thing that comes from your 30s is embracing the things that come naturally to you. And if you can bring joy to a family, that’s kind of a superpower. It’s a great skill, and it’s something that I’m honored to have a little bit of.”
As for Hanks himself, Peck has not discussed the show with him, but they have met.
“Whatever Mr. Hanks wants to do, I’m down to clown. If he ever wanted to be on the show — granted, his character is deceased, but we could do flashbacks.
“I actually got to meet him once when I was doing the show [‘Grandfathered’] with John Stamos, he invited me to his birthday. And of course, Tom Hanks was there, because who else would be there? He was so sweet and made a point to introduce himself to me and my wife. He was so gracious and generous. My interactions with him have been exactly as you would imagine.”
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