Willem Dafoe for Disney’s Arctic dog sled drama ‘Togo’

US actor Willem Dafoe at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles March 2018. — AFP pic
US actor Willem Dafoe at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles March 2018. — AFP pic

LOS ANGELES, July 13 — Oscar-nominated actor Willem Dafoe is to feature in a movie being made for Disney’s 2019 video streaming service.

The story of the Great Race of Mercy, a 1925 Alaskan dog sled mission across the frozen wilds of Alaska, is to become the subject of Disney’s Togo.

Named after one of the sled dogs involved in a record-breaking five-day, 674-mile (1,085km) trek between the towns of Nenana, central Alaska, and Nome on the arctic state’s western tip, Togo is expected to debut on Disney’s streaming service which is set for a late 2019 launch.

At the time, the punishing, sub-zero journey from Nenana to Nome usually took three and a half weeks but, in light of a diphtheria epidemic blighting Nome and its surrounds, Norwegian sled musher Leonhard Seppala and his husky dogs — atypical lead dog Togo among them — were part of the transportation effort that made the distance in an astonishing five and a half days.

Though it was Balto, lead dog on the mission’s final short-sprint leg, that became the Serum Run’s popular canine hero, the hardy, intelligent and dedicated Togo was crucial to the punishing mission’s success.

Willem Dafoe of Spider-Man, The Florida Project, John Wick and The Fault in Our Stars will play Seppala, having previously co-starred in Netflix exclusive Death Note.

He has been Oscar-nominated for The Florida Project (2017), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), and Platoon (1986).

Ericson Core, cinematographer on The Fast and the Furious and director of the Point Break remake, is helming the movie, using a script written by Tom Flynn of 2017’s father-daughter divorce drama Gifted. — AFP-Relaxnews

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