After Life, a Netflix series starring comedian Ricky Gervais recently entered its third season on Netflix. In it, Gervais plays Tony Johnson, a man who’s heartbroken after his wife dies of cancer. The couple’s dog, Brandy, both serves as a painful reminder of his loss and acts as a shoulder to cry on.
Watching Tony go from resenting Brandy to realizing how much he needs her has charmed fans over the past three years. This subplot emphasizes the importance of a dog’s presence for people who are grieving.
Bonding With A Co-Worker
Given their onscreen chemistry, fans wondered if the dog in the show actually belongs to Gervais in real life. It turns out she does not. The German Shepherd’s real name is Anti, and she’s a seasoned dog actor. Anti appeared in two films in 2018: the short film Oscar’s Bell and A24’s In Fabric.
Even though they don’t go home together at the end of the work day, Gervais loves working with Anti. Between seasons, the actor has said he missed his canine co-star.
Gervais has admitted in interviews that he wrote a dog into the show for the chance to hang out with a dog on set. Currently, the actor says he travels too much to have a dog, but he does have a rescue cat at home.
That makes his time spent working with Anti all the more special.
[SPOILER ALERT] Since many people panic when a dog graces the big screen, Gervais has already been vocal to fans that Brandy will survive the show’s run. During an appearance on ITV, Gervais shared:
“Everyone was saying is the dog ok, I’ve been saying it for a year – the dog does not die. I promise, the dog does not die. She’s gonna live forever.”
Gervais On The Value Of A Dog’s Love
You might already know that Ricky Gervais is a long-time animal lover and advocate. The actor/comedian has called for a ban on fur, an end to animal testing, and a ban on animal circus performers. Gervais knows his animal rescue efforts will continue when he retires from show biz. At least, he can finally rescue some dogs of his own.
“That’s my dream I suppose, just live in a castle with loads of rescue dogs,” Gervais told Magic Radio.
After Life and its central theme of dogs as companions and healers are a perfect fit for Gervais, who truly believes in the power of a dog’s love. When asked what it is about dogs that help people get through grief, Gervais told BBC’s “The One Show”:
“They’re just better than people (no offense.) They’re members of the family, they’ve got so much compassion, and dogs do everything for us. They guard us, they guide us, they smell cancer, they’re incredible. You couldn’t invent something as good as a dog.”
We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Gervais!
Tune in to watch Anti play Brandy the dog in After Life, only on Netflix.