TRAVERSE CITY — Walter Rowen panted, not unlike a dog, after he sprinted around on aluminum stilts with furry paws at the bottom with two other similarly outfitted men.
“I’m 44,” said Rowen, who who to catch his breath. “I don’t have the cardio these young pups got.”
Rowen, who goes by the nickname “Who,” is a martial arts students and will appear as one of the seven dogmen in "Dogman 2: Wrath of the Litter," which is ramping up for production in September.
The project just received an incentive of $123,209, about 30 percent of what director Rich Brauer plans to spend in Michigan to produce the film, according to the Michigan Film Office.
Brian “Buzz” Wilson is one of the 39 part-time hires who will be involved in the film. He’s an inventor extraordinaire with proof of his ingenuity strapped onto the legs of three dogmen, which sprinted around his backyard on Friday. A fourth dogman discovered that two washers were missing from his dog stilts and decided it best not to trot.
The movie’s prequel, Dogman, was inspired by the original, bloodcurdling song of the legendary half man/half dog, created by WTCM production director Steve Cook. The movie suggests in the last few minutes that a litter might be on its way, Brauer said.
“Well, it was a bad litter,” Brauer said. “Every one of these puppies grew up to be a monster and they’re just bad, violent and horrible, and they need to be stopped. They’re seven-foot tall, a freak of nature, and they kill people. They just like killing stuff, like cats with blue jays.”
The movie will reveal the origin of dogmen — how they came to exist, Brauer said.
“It isn’t a weird, sexual, Benzie County thing,” Brauer said, refusing to elaborate further.