In the upcoming animated film Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank, Michael Cera plays Hank, a hard-on-his-luck hound who wants to be a samurai and finds himself in a town full of cats in need of a hero to defend them from a ruthless villain (Ricky Gervais) who plans to wipe their village off the map. Hank finds himself turning to a reluctant mentor (Samuel L. Jackson) to become the town's hero but there's a catch: this is a cat's world and cat's hate dogs. Loosely inspired by Mel Brooks' iconic 1974 film Blazing Saddles, Hank finds himself on a wild journey — and for Cera, one of the things he loved about playing Hank is that he's a character that simply doesn't quit.
"I think I enjoyed the most that he just is so tenacious and doesn't quit on his dreams, in the face of all this prejudice that is coming at him," Cera told ComicBook.com. "I really like that he stays the course, and he just keeps going and overcomes all odds."
Among those odds is the cats versus dogs of it all. With the world of Paws of Fury being one in which cats don't exactly like or even respect dogs, not only does Hank have the challenge of learning to become a samurai and saving his new village, but he also has to overcome preconceived notions about dogs. For Cera, the film and Hank's journey presents positive messages of acceptance, messages he thinks that everyone can benefit from.
"I think it's a really clever way to bring that message across, especially to kids, just in a very digestible way, that it's cats and dogs. And they don't get along, or the cats just hate the dog because that's how they're wired," he said. "But once they start opening themselves up and seeing everything that this dog is able to do for them and what a good heart he has, they learn to accept him and bring him into their fold."
He continued, "I think that's beautiful. Yeah. I think that's a really nice takeaway, especially for kids, that even though we're different there's room for all of us, we can all live in harmony."
Directed by Robb Minkoff, Mark Koetsier, and Chris Bailey, Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank also stars Ricky Gervais, Mel Brooks, George Takei, Aasif Mandvi, Gabriel Iglesias, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Kylie Kuioka, Cathy Shim, and Samuel L. Jackson. It opens in theaters on July 15th.
Will you be checking out Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!