LOS ANGELES — On Tuesday, Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater saw the premiere of “Max”, which was attended by the film’s stars, both human and non-human alike. The movie’s director Boaz Yakin was joined by cast Lauren Graham and Josh Wiggins, as well as Carlos, the main dog actor who portrayed the titular hero.

The story centers around a military service dog who is sent back to the U.S. to live with the family of his recently deceased Marine owner, Kyle Wincott. Younger brother Justin Wincott becomes Max’s main keeper and the two eventually develop a close bond. Important themes of the film focus on the effects that losing a loved one in combat has on families, as well as the recovery of military dogs with PTSD.

Indeed, it was the dogs themselves that were the real stars of the film. Of the five that portrayed Max, the previously unknown Carlos proved to be the most charismatic and talented. The 2-year-old Belgian Malinois was discovered in Kentucky by Hollywood’s Birds and Animals Unlimited, a respected company that has provided a number of past Hollywood projects with animal training and talent searching.

Josh Wiggins and Carlos walk the red carpet at the premiere of 'Max'
Josh Wiggins and Carlos walk the red carpet at the premiere of ‘Max’

A number of cast members expressed their thoughts on the dogs’ abilities and professionalism.

One of those was Graham, who said in an official movie interview: “The professionalism of these dogs is so impressive. They have a kind of intensity.”

Meanwhile Wiggins, who portrays Justin, stated “I was shocked at how well-trained they were…They could tell him to kiss, and lick and put their tongue back in their mouth.”

Despite the difficult nature of filming the movie at times, its producers managed to keep the dogs’ safety and comfort as a top priority. The American Humane Association even awarded the film its highest possible safety rating.

The film is set to be released Friday, June 26 in the U.S. and Aug. 7 in the U.K.