updated 09/04/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 09/04/2014 AT 10:45 AM ET
The Dark Knight Rises actor is starring in the upcoming crime drama The Drop with an extra special costar: Rocco the dog. PEOPLE has an exclusive look at Hardy, 36, and the rest of the cast working with the furry scene stealer.
In the film, Hardy plays Bob, a disengaged bartender who also uses his place of business for gang-related money drops. But when Bob takes in a pit bull puppy he finds abandoned in the trash, he begins to reevaluate the dark, meandering course his life has taken over the past 10 years.
“Very often we want to save an animal, because we need to feel good about something,” director Michaël R. Roskam explains.
The part of endearing dog Rocco is played by three pit bulls of different sizes to maintain continuity. Roskam chose the breed because he felt the misconceptions surrounding pit bulls echo the misjudgments Hardy’s character faces.
Of course, there were no misconceptions on set. The cast and crew of The Drop all fell in love with the trio of pups playing Rocco. Watch the sneak peek above, and we’re sure you will too.
Also starring Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini in his final film performance, The Drop opens in theaters Sept. 12.