MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While her single mom Maggie is away, middle schooler Emily Elizabeth and her fun but impulsive uncle Casey stumble upon a magical rescuer at a carnival who gifts her a little red puppy.

Emily Elizabeth never imagines waking up to find a giant 10-foot dog in her tiny New York City apartment.

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“Clifford the Big Red Dog” is based on the beloved scholastic book character created by author Norman Bridwell.

Darby Camp, 14, plays Emily Elizabeth and British actor Jack Whitehall plays uncle Casey.

“It’s such an iconic character. It’s not lost on us how important a figure Clifford is in so many people’s lives and we feel so excited to be part of that legacy now,” Whitehall said.

The movie features an ensemble cast that also includes Academy Award nominee John Cleese as the magical dog rescuer and many more.

For Darby, it’s a role she took very seriously.

“I just felt so honored they chose me I felt so blessed. I was like I really hope I can make bring this character to life the way that people always dreamed,” said Camp.

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That meant working with a 10-foot dog who wasn’t exactly how you see him in the film.

“What did Clifford look like to you?,” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“We had lots of different things. We had two guys who created a puppet and we were acting opposite them most of the time,” said Whitehall.

“Then we had Clifford‘s head on a stick which was used for some of the close-up shots. Then we had two men operating his tail.”

“The puppets and their expressions were so perfect. I felt like it was like a real dog that looked like a puppet, strangely,” said Camp.

It’s a tug at your heartstrings movie that both actors say has something for everyone.

“We live in a very cynical world with quite dark times and this movie is just escapist fun and it’s so sweet. It’s such a well-intentioned film that has a beautiful message at the heart of it,” said Whitehall.

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“Clifford The Big Red Dog” is now in theaters and on Paramount+.

Lisa Petrillo