By Aaron Blevins, 4/19/2012
There were plenty of celebrities at the premiere
of “Darling Companion” Tuesday
night, but none of them quite stole the show
like the rescue dogs from The Amanda
Foundation in Beverly Hills.
But, they had some pretty stiff competition
from actress Diane Keaton, actor Kevin
Kline and Kasey the dog, who plays
“Freeway” in the movie and wowed
paparazzi and journalists when he
“answered” their questions by barking on
The premiere was held at the Egyptian
Theatre and benefitted The Amanda
Foundation, which rescues dogs from all six
Los Angeles shelters and serves the majority of the city.
Several of the foundation’s dogs were on hand, making a strong point for adoption.
“We’ve got everything from small and fluffy to big and magnificent,” said president
The organization was invited to the premiere by Sony Pictures Classics after director
Lawrence Kasden and his wife, Meg, who co-wrote the movie, expressed an interest in
getting a local animal shelter involved. Austin said Keaton had been a supporter of
the foundation in the past.
“It’s not too often such an illustrious cast and a famous director do something with a
local organization,” she said.
Furthermore, the movie is based on the three-week adventure of a Los Angeles shelter
dog the Kasdens rescued seven years ago. The mutt, Mac, gave the family quite a scare
several years ago, when he became lost in the Rocky Mountains during an outing. Though
he returned three weeks later, the drama that unfolded created the backdrop for “Darling
In the film, Beth Winter (Keaton) rescues a bloodied stray dog she finds on the side of a
busy freeway. After “Freeway”, as it comes to be named, becomes a part of the family,
Winter’s husband, Joseph (Kline), loses the dog following their daughter’s wedding in
the Rocky Mountains. Adventures and misadventures unfold as the couple, along with
friends and family, begins to search for their beloved “Freeway.”
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, 5th District, an outspoken advocate
for animal rights, attended the premiere. He praised the film’s message, and was pleased
that the story originated from a Los Angeles animal shelter adoption.
“It is amazing to think of how Mac being adopted years ago led to a Sony Pictures
Classics film being made, with such magnificently talented participants involved and
countless people in audiences around the world soon to be entertained and enthralled
— yet that extraordinary sequence of events illuminates what happens every single day in
our city shelters: animals are adopted, and then loved, and the caring relationships that
develop end up transforming lives forever,” Koretz said.
Austin said she was pleased to partake in the event, as they raise awareness about
adoption services, leading to an influx of adoptions and shelter visits. It also promotes
the necessity of spay and neuter services, she said.
The Amanda Foundation conducted 6,000 such surgeries last year, Austin said.
Considering the litters that those animals may have birthed, those surgeries likely prevented
20,000 additional animals from roaming the streets or winding up in Los Angeles Animal
Services shelters, which are a part of the largest animal shelter system in the U.S., she
“Our problem is so bad, we have our own department of animal services,” Austin
She said the organization, which has operated in Beverly Hills while serving Los
Angeles for more than 30 years, has approximately 100 pets up for adoption on any given
day. Its Spaymobile services areas of the city with the largest stray problems. The Amanda
Foundation operates a pet hospital on site. For more information, call (310)278-2935
or visit www.amandafoundation.org. The organization is located at 351 N. Foothill Rd.
in Beverly Hills.
“Darling Companion” opens in Los Angeles on Friday. It is rated PG-13.