Channing Tatum on Soldier Dogs: “These Animals Are Very Pure”

“It’s deep. It’s going to get you, even if you’re not a dog person,” Tatum says of his new film.

If you liked Channing Tatum in Magic Mike and Magic Mike XL, well, then, you are probably mainly into his abs. But if you are also into Channing Tatum’s heart, then you’re gonna lose it over the new documentary that he co-produced with Deborah Scranton: War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend.

The film follows three war dogs—Layka, Mika, and Pepper—along with their soldier partners. Between personal interviews and military combat footage, audiences will witness the deep, heartrending connections between the dogs and their soldiers, both on and off the battlefield.

The documentary shares stories of love, loss, heroism, trauma, and—yes— death. (In the trailer, a soldier emotionally eulogizes, “You’re a warrior I hold in the highest regard. I put these items at your grave site. A leash, a bag of liver treats, and your brush.” Are you crying yet?!) But at the end of the day, Tatum hopes it is an inspiring film that highlights soldiers’ rarely-depicted softness.

“[These soldiers have] been so vulnerable in such a way with their dogs that they haven’t been able to have with humans,” Tatum told PEOPLE. “I don’t think people associate that with soldiers. [The dog-soldier relationship] is deeper than we will ever be able to know.”

Tatum committed to visiting active duty military canine units and came away with a strong impression. “These animals are very pure. They’re unbelievably intense. [This film] is going to get you, even if you’re not a dog person.”

Just in time for Veteran’s Day, War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend will premiere on HBO on Monday, November 13 at 10:00 PM ET. There will also be a sneak preview on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and HBO ON DEMAND on Saturday, November 11. You can watch the trailer below.

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