When you see the “No animals were harmed in the making of this film” message at the end of a movie’s credits, it tends to give the viewer some peace of mind. But now, “The Hollywood Reporter” has obtained an email written by a representative of the American Humane Association, the grantor of those assuring accreditations, that she covered up a very close call with a tiger used in the 2012 film, “Life of Pi.”
While “Life of Pi” did use CGI for many scenes involving the tiger, they did use a live tiger for scenes when computer graphics wouldn’t suffice. While filming one specific scene, the tiger was in clear danger. AHA monitor, Gina Johnson, spilled the following beans in an email to a colleague:
“This one take with him just went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side. Damn near drowned… I think this goes without saying but DON’T MENTION IT TO ANYONE, ESPECIALLY THE OFFICE! I have downplayed the f*ck out of it.”
As a monitor, it was Johnson’s job to ensure the welfare and safety of all animals involved in the film. Another suspicious detail to this news is that, at the time, Johnson was intimately involved with a high-ranking production executive of the film. A film that went on to win four Oscars and sported the “No Animals Harmed” credit.
The AHA has also ignored issues with the filming of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” where 27 animals reportedly died due to dehydration, exhaustion, or drowning while staying on a farm during filming hiatus. (Since the deaths happened during hiatus, the AHA claimed they had no jurisdiction to investigate, despite plenty of evidence of neglect.) That film went to theaters with a carefully worded credit that the AHA “monitored all of the significant animal action. No animals were harmed during such action.”
Other AHA “monitored” films and their alleged incidents include, among others:
– Disney’s 2006, “Eight Below,” in which a Husky dog was punched repeatedly in the diaphragm
– a chipmunk squashed to death in 2006’s “Failure to Launch”
– Many dead fish and squid that washed ashore during filming for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” all due to lack of precautions while setting off special effects explosions.
We’ve always heard that you can’t believe everything you read, but this particular example of that is extra depressing.
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