Tom Cruise wanted a monkey for his 'Rock of Ages' character Stacee Jaxx, the movie features a live baboon
by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes, Entertainment, Film/TV
Tags: .

You might hope that Hollywood learned something after “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” proved how well CGI animals can replace live ones in movies. But, “Rock of Ages” tells a different story.

The musical film opening this weekend features a live baboon as part of the entourage of Tom Cruise‘s character Stacee Jaxx, and Cruise says it was his idea. “I wanted to play [my character’s scenes] real but also we needed the comedy and that’s why, when we kept working on it, there is a scene that we have with the manager, you know, and in the script it had Stacee yelling [at his manager, played by Paul Giamatti]. So that’s when I said, ‘I need a monkey,” the actor said in an interview with Ryan Seacrest, according to Vanity Fair.

So…why would that mean he needed a monkey? Apparently, Cruise thought that without a monkey, there just wouldn’t be comedy. “I’m looking for what thing is going to help comedically. Because [Jaxx is] totally outrageous but yet I wanted to play it straight and have these different moments that evolve. [...] You kind of have to go for it. So that’s where I came up with the monkey and then Adam [Shankman] kept going, ‘Look, do we need the monkey?’ And I kept saying, ‘I really need the monkey. And then he came at me with the baboon,” he adds. “Rock of Ages” was first a Broadway musical, and no primates were featured on stage (no nonhuman primates, that is).

Animal advocates and organizations aren’t too happy with Cruise and Shankman’s decision to have a baboon as a “co-star.” Primate Patrol has called for a boycott of the movie.

“Please avoid contributing to the box office receipts for ‘Rock of Ages’ – don’t go see it! Monkeys used for entertainment are taken from their mothers when they are young, and when they become to old or too big to handle are often discarded at shoddy roadside zoos or pseudo ‘sanctuaries.’ They are highly social beings and life in the entertainment industry completely disregards the need that they have for adequate exercise, natural nourishing diets, and valuable interaction with other primates. Primates are afflicted by loneliness, boredom, and depression from the loss of freedom they experience in the entertainment industry,” the organization writes. They add that the baboon, named Mickey, was recently on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and that he exhibited “abnormal behaviors and a fear grimace.”

Primate Patrol is a division of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest which rescues and provides sanctuary to chimps rescued from biomedical research labs. Primate Patrol works to end the use of nonhuman primates in entertainment.

Photo credit: 360b / http://www.Shutterstock.com

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • http://msirismg.tumblr.com/ Iris M. Gross

    The animal rights people aren’t going to tell me how to spend my money. If I want to see TC, I’ll see him. Those people go too far!

  • Earth and Animal Wellness

    It is really sad they used this baboon. They are very abusive to these intelligent animals and any animals in films, the circus or shows are beaten, chained or have been taken away from their mother at an early age. Computers are so realistic now and they should have used an animated baboon. Shame on Tom Cruise. If he could see how this baboon was “trained” he may have changed his mind. They are smart, strong and intelligent and the human trainers have to dominate them or submit fear in them. Shame on Tom Cruise. I will boycott this movie. My opinion has dropped of him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=857184871 Wendy Terry

    I loved this movie! And a monkey named “HayMan!” What’s not to like about that?