The Dog Actor In Prey Was Adopted Especially For The Movie ⁠⁠– And She Was A 'Hot Mess'

Dan Trachtenberg's "Predator" prequel, "Prey," features two of the most fierce female protagonists in recent cinema history: the Comanche warrior Naru (Amber Midthunder) and her canine companion, Sarii. As Naru battles against a deadly extraterrestrial threat, she has Sarii by her side to help. The two are a regular Predator-fighting team, and who doesn't love a horror movie with a tough, lovable dog? Sarii is one capable canine, but it turns out that the dog who plays her, Coco, took a little bit more wrangling than your average actor. 

In an interview with Dexerto, Trachtenberg and Midthunder revealed that while they loved scenes with Coco so much that the crew kept putting her into new ones, she was also a "hot mess" who required some extra patience on set. Most working dogs are trained for years, and that includes dog actors, but Coco was adopted specifically for filming "Prey," and she needed a bit of acting practice first.

A girl and her dog

Coco is an American dingo, also known as a carolina dog, and they're one of the oldest breeds in existence. The ancestors of today's carolina dogs came across the Bering land bridge between Asia and Alaska with the Indigenous people who traveled east and then south to populate the Americas. They are incredibly smart, a little shy, and full of energy, with similar temperaments to the Australian dingo and Japanese native breeds like shiba inus and akitas. If "Prey" becomes popular enough to inspire people to adopt their own carolina dogs, I hope they do their research and are prepared for a dog that's more wolf than golden retriever. 

The idea for having a dog in the film was heavily inspired by "Road Warrior," the "Mad Max" sequel that features an Australian cattle dog/blue heeler named simply "Dog." The buddy relationship between these two badasses informed the characters and the story, but that meant Coco would have to really hit her mark. Trachtenberg explained that while Coco was a very good girl, she was a little too excitable sometimes. He described her as:

"Super rambunctious. Very energetic. Always a nail-biting moment for us on set, 'Is Coco gonna like, make her mark and do what she needs to do?' It was sometimes a journey to get there, but eventually she always did. It was very exciting, lots of cheers would happen when we finally got a great take with Coco."

Coco wasn't causing major trouble or anything, she was just being a dog and doing dog things, which isn't always conducive to filmmaking. Dogs are unpredictable, and apparently Coco was just a bit extra random.

Who's a good girl? Coco is!

Midthunder, who worked pretty closely with Coco since they're onscreen together so much, said that she wasn't very well trained and was "kind of a disaster," but that she was the most lovable kind of disaster. Coco was adopted for the movie and lacked movie dog training, so they were sort of just trying to get her to "act" and hope for the best. Midthunder explained that while it was occasionally a hit or miss proposition, no one really minded because Coco was so sweet:

"She was a little bit of a hot mess — but in a sweet way. She was not a movie dog, she was literally adopted to be in this movie, and she just happened to be very high-energy. She was such a delight to have around, she was so fun and very playful. And then it would be time to do stuff ... sometimes she'd do it, sometimes she wouldn't. But obviously, it all ended up fine, because she was great, and everybody loves her."

Coco's sweet and playful nature definitely comes through the screen, and the end result is more than worth the extra takes required to make sure she hit her cue. Sarii is sure to go down as one of the greatest doggos in movie history, and it's all thanks to Coco. Watch your step, Lassie. There's a new four-legged star in town. 

"Prey" is now streaming on Hulu.