Last May, word came out that a remake of the Japanese tearjerker Hachiko monogatari was in the works, starring the actor who has had a bum rap when it comes to animals -- Richard Gere. The production was supposed to kick into action back in September, but as is usually the case, the project was delayed. Hachiko, A Dog's Story now has a new start date in January, and Variety reports that it's also got a co-star and director. Joan Allen (The Upside of Anger) has signed on to star with Gere, and Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules) will take the directorial chair.

The project is based on the true story of the Hachiko statue in Tokyo's Shibuya station. A teaching assistant had a devout dog who would meet him every day. When the man gets sick and doesn't return home, the dog continues to wait, for what Variety says is almost ten years. As the remake story goes, Gere is a college prof who takes in an abandoned dog, so I'm not sure if the dog gets abandoned twice, or if he gives it a new home after it waits around for its master for years. Either way, it's sure to be full of tears and heartbreak, just what every moviegoer is looking for! Annoyingly, there is no word on who Allen is playing. Gere's lady friend? A sinister person from the pound? Who knows. The film heads into production this January in Rhode Island, if there are no further delays.