Willem Dafoe will star in Disney’s “Togo” live-action movie about two of the key figures in the 1925 Nome Serum Run — sled dog Togo and sled driver Leonhard Seppala.
Disney is developing “Togo” for its streaming service, which will launch late next year. Ericson Core, whose credits include “Invincible” and the remake of “Point Break,” is directing.
Nome, Alaska became famous in 1925 as the destination of the serum run, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, in which dog sleds played a major role in transporting diphtheria serum through harsh conditions over nearly 700 miles to save the city from an epidemic. Gunnar Kaasen and his lead sled dog Balto became known for running the final leg of the run while the 12-year-old lead dog Togo and Seppala ran the penultimate and longest leg in temperatures that were 30 degrees below zero in gale force winds.
The story will focus on the unlikely friendship between man and dog. Togo was an unruly and undersized puppy but showed great leadership qualities and became the lead dog at age five. He passed away in 1929.
Tom Flynn wrote the script for the project, which is being produced by Kim Zubick. Jessica Virtue and Louie Provost are overseeing “Togo” for the studio.
Dafoe will play Seppala. He received his third Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor this year for “The Florida Project” after being previously nominated in the category for “Platoon” and “Shadow of the Vampire.”
Dafoe is shooting Dee Rees’ drama “The Last Thing He Wanted” opposite Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck and is also starring in Jason Momoa-starrer “Aquaman” for Warner Bros. He is repped by CAA and managed by Circle of Confusion.