Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Ancient Life: Articles I Ripped Out of The New Yorker, 5--Hollywood Animals (Literally)

More New Yorker articles I am compelled to save....
“Popular Chronicles: Animal Action”
The movie-star treatment for nonhumans
By Susan Orlean
November 17, 2003

“According to the American Humane guidelines, no animal actor should have to work like a dog. For instance, if an ape is on set for more than three consecutive days the production must provide a play area or a private park where the ape can exercise and relax. When a bear is working on a film, anything that produces smells that might bother the bear -- cheap perfume, strong liquor, jelly doughnuts -- must be removed from the location. Only cats that like dogs should be cast in cat-and-dog movies. No individual fish can do more than three takes in a day. Also, under no circumstances can a nonhuman cast member be squished. This rule applies to all nonhuman things, including cockroaches. Karen Rosa, the director of American Humane's Film and Television Unit, was discussing this particular guideline one day last summer. "If you show up on set with twenty-five thousand cockroaches, you better leave with twenty-five thousand cockroaches," she said. I wondered if she extended the same welcome to cockroaches at home. "A cockroach in my kitchen is one thing," Rosa said. "A cockroach in a movie is an actor. Like any other actor, it deserves to go home at the end of the day."


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.