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'DC League of Super-Pets' Origin Story Involves an Actual Animal Shelter

Jared Stern, who wrote and directed the new animated film, told CNET that he got the idea to make the film after volunteering at an animal rescue.

Superman flying with his dog Krypto
One of the main characters in the new film DC League of Super-Pets is Superman's dog Krypto, who has the same powers as the Man of Steel.
Warner Brothers

This story is part of I'm So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

The new animated film DC League of Super-Pets follows Superman's dog Krypto, who has powers just like his guardian, as he takes charge to help the Man of Steel and the rest of the Justice League when they are kidnapped. 

For assistance Krypto recruits shelter pets that, through an accident, gain superpowers of their own. The film, which opens Friday in theaters, features the voice work of John Krasinski, Dwayne Johnson, Vanessa Bayer, Kate McKinnon, Diego Luna, Keanu Reeves and others.

While star power and a thrilling plot are enough to hook most of us, DC League of Super-Pets also has a touching origin story.

 Jared Stern, who wrote, directed and produced the film shared that he got the idea for the movie while volunteering at an animal rescue with his wife when they were still dating. In the front of the shelter was a room filled with adorable kittens. But there was also a back room at the rescue with all the "lifers" that would likely never get adopted.

"Some of them are older. Some of them were dealing with various issues. And I thought, 'Oh, it's going to be tougher for these ones to get adopted.' And I have no idea why, but I thought, 'What if they got superpowers?' And maybe because they seemed so powerless, I wanted them to be powerful." said Stern on CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast. "That was the seed of the idea from that one day at the pet shelter and then thinking about the various DC Super-Pets and smashing it all together."

Stern, who also created the Netflix animated series Green Eggs and Ham, co-wrote The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie and had access to different Warner Bros. DC superhero properties.

In the comics, Superman has a dog named Krypto who has all the same powers as Superman like heat vision and the ability to fly. But there are actually a bunch of superhero pets that are part of DC comics like Ace the Bat-Hound who in DC League of Super-Pets is voiced by Kevin Hart. One of Stern's favorites was a turtle.

"There's a pet that comes from a classic old school DC comic called Merton McSnurtle the turtle. This turtle ended up becoming the Flash's turtle and gets super speed," said Stern.

Merton is portrayed by Natasha Leone in the movie.

You can listen to my entire conversation with Stern in the podcast player above. He also discusses directing Keanu Reeves, what he learned working at Disney and his love of trail running.

Subscribe to I'm So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, CNET's Connie Guglielmo and I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.