Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Strays: Plot, Cast, Release Date, and Everything Else We Know

Films about talking dogs are nothing new, and neither are films incorporating those talking dogs into a live-action world. But a film where an abandoned dog takes revenge on its former owner? That doesn’t sound like something that’s been done before. Filmmaking duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller will produce Strays, a new live-action/CGI animated hybrid comedy from Universal Pictures.

Strays, a part of Lord and Miller’s first-look deal with Universal Pictures, will primarily be geared toward an adult audience. That already sets the film apart from most talking animal movies. Josh Greenbaum is stepping into the director’s chair. This film will mark Greenbaum’s follow-up to his breakout feature, Netflix’s absurdist Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo-led comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. American Vandal creator and EP Dan Perrault wrote the script.

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With that, let’s take a look at everything we know about Strays. What can we expect from the story, and how might it play on conventions of live-action/animated films? Who is in the cast, both voice and live-action? When and where will the film be released? And what else should audiences know about Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Strays?

Strays: The Plot

Universal Pictures

At this time, we don’t yet have specific plot information beyond the premise. As reported by Variety, Strays follows a dog abandoned by its owner and blend live-action and CGI animation. The dog will then team up with other strays to find and take revenge on the owner who abandoned him. This concept sounds like it will play off the standard “abandoned animal finds its way back home” trope and take it in a particularly dark direction.

Classic films like Homeward Bound or The Adventures of Milo and Otis come to mind, along with more recent additions like A Dog’s Way Home. In those films and others, owners often accidentally leave their pets behind, who then have to travel some great distance to reunite with the owners. Sometimes pets are willfully left behind, though they usually find a new home with people who care about them. In Strays, it sounds like the dogs are not at all concerned with finding their “fur-ever” home. They just want to make those who neglected them suffer.

In a way, that could be more satisfying to an audience than the typical “happy reunited ending.” Those who abuse or abandon animals are almost always the most hated villains in movies, even more than those who do the same to humans. Seeing these people get some karmic justice at the hands of the animals they shunned is almost a guaranteed way to keep the audience on your side. Even if the dogs don’t find a new home by the end, seeing wrongful owners get their just deserts could be resolution enough.

It’s important to remember that this is still speculation, and we will have to wait for more concrete plot information, which will likely be revealed in the coming weeks and months.

Strays: The Cast

Netflix

As Strays is a mix of live-action and CGI animation, we have a cast of both live-action and voice actors. Will Ferrell is playing the lead voice role of Reggie, the abandoned revenge-seeking pooch. Ferrell’s Reggie will encounter an ally in another of the titular “strays” voiced by Jamie Foxx.

The film found its neglectful owner in Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte, who is taking on one of the few non-animated roles. While an intentionally antagonistic role isn’t something we would associate with MacGruber himself, Forte’s style does lend well to the possible physical comedy we could see with the “revenge” portion of the story.

In addition to Ferrell, Foxx, and Forte, the film will also star actress Isla Fisher. Her role is unknown at this point, and it is unclear if she will be a part of the voice or live-action cast. Rounding out the cast (and apparently the only one without a surname beginning with “F”) is Fresh Off the Boat and WandaVision actor Randall Park. It is thought that Park will have a voice role, though nothing is confirmed as of yet.

Additional reports have listed more potential cast members, though the studio or the filmmakers have not yet confirmed any players beyond the five above. Some of the additional speculated cast may appear, but until we receive confirmation, it remains only speculation. We can expect additional casting information to be revealed as we approach closer to the release date.

Release Date

Strays is set to be released by Universal Pictures on June 9, 2023. That date pits it directly against Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, so Strays definitely has its work cut out at the box office. Say what you will about the Transformers series (and many people have), but the films are almost always guaranteed smash hits.