‘Clifford the Big Red Dog' Has a Supersized Message for Kids

The film opens in theaters and streams on Paramount+ Nov. 10.

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

The story of Clifford the Big Red Dog debuted in 1963. Author Norman Bridwell created this lovable four-legged character and his best friend Emily Elizabeth who was based on his daughter of the same name. Since then, Clifford has been seen in more than 75 books, a TV series and now in the movie aptly titled, “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

Paramount Pictures
Darby Camp stars in "Clifford the Big Red Dog" from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

In the film, when middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) meets a magical animal rescuer Mr. Bridwell (John Cleese) who gifts her a little red puppy, she is in for a big surprise when she wakes up to find a 10-foot tall dog in her small NYC apartment.

Emily enlists the help of her quirky uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) to keep Clifford safe while her mom is away on a business trip. Clifford causes quite a stir in New York and catches the attention of  dubious science entrepreneur Zack Tieran (Tony Hale). Tieran wants to capture Clifford and use him for genetics research.

Paramount Pictures
Darby Camp and Jack Whitehall star in "Clifford the Big Red Dog" from Paramount Pictures. Photo Credit: Courtesy Paramount Pictures.

Clifford teaches everyone around him how to love in a big way. But he also teaches Emily Elizabeth to stand up to the bullies in her school, something Camp says she hopes resonates with a lot of kids.

“I hope when kids see this they learn they’re not alone,” Camp tells NBC. “If they’re being bullied and having trouble with their friends just like Emily, I would want them to know that they’re not alone.”

Mr. Bridwell, named after the author, is played by John Cleese who admits he’d never heard of the Clifford books until now. But says the message of the film is what intrigued him.

“I think it’s a timely distraction at a time when there’s so much anxiety in the world,” Cleese said. “You go into this movie and you come out happier. And a bit more optimistic than you were when you went in.”

“Clifford the Big Red Dog” stars Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Tony Hale, Sienna Guillory, David Alan Grier, Isaac Wang and John Cleese. It was directed by Walt Becker and will be released by Paramount Pictures in theaters and streaming on Paramount+ on Nov. 10.

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