Report: ‘Life of Pi’ Tiger ‘Damn Near Drowned’ on Set

Allegations of 'No Animals Were Harmed' approval being granted too easily

  • Share
  • Read Later
20th Century Fox

The beloved tiger made  famous by his role as Richard Parker in Life of Pi almost drowned while on set, according to a new report.

An investigation by the Hollywood Reporter alleges coziness between the film industry and the American Humane Association, the nonprofit tasked with ensuring animal safety during filming and that bestows the “No Animals Were Harmed” stamp of approval on many movies, including Life of Pi.

“Last week we almost f***ing killed King in the water tank,” Gina Johnson, an American Humane Association monitor on the movie, wrote in a 2011 email quoted by the Hollywood Reporter. She was using the name of the tiger who played Richard Parker in the critically acclaimed film. “This one take with him just went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side. Damn near drowned.”

The movie centers on a boy who is lost at sea, stranded on a life boat with the tiger.

Dr. S. Kwane Stewart, a veterinarian and national director of the AHA’s “No Animals Were Harmed” program, disputed allegations that the organization and the film industry are too close and that it bestows undeserved “No Animals Were Harmed” approvals.

“This whole idea that we’re cozy with the industry — it’s simply not the case,” he told THR. “We first and foremost want to keep the animals safe.” He did acknowledge the challenges of working with large animals like horses.

“These are huge animals, with blazing speed, on stilts,” he said. “If you want to avoid incidents, keep them in the stables entirely.”

[THR]

12 comments
RichC
RichC

HBO cancelled "Luck" because of how hard it was on the horses.  But, as long as people continue to demand realistic fillms...

Rosenberg
Rosenberg

No coincidence that this report comes out only after a movie with some Indian characters with a Taiwanese director. As the article itself states, Hollywood has been doing this for DECADES of abused or dead animals, but of course nobody even looks into it until there are some brown people involved in making the recent movie.

albertson.chris
albertson.chris

Zero information here.  They did not even say why the tiger "almost drowned".  Normally this means someone was held under water for a to-long time.  Did someone observe this happen?  The article fails to list who observed it and exactly what they saw and for how long (if any time at all) the animal was under the water.   The author failed to explain if tigers are good swimmers and if they can hold their breath longer or less long than humans.   As I said zero information.

mro.producer
mro.producer

The people supposedly protecting the animals - are in bed with the producers.

rbtroj
rbtroj

Wait - I thought I had heard that the tiger was 100% CG? So was it a real tiger that almost drowned or a CG tiger that almost virtually drowned? ;-p

AlexTrabal
AlexTrabal

@albertson.chris “This one take with him just went really bad and he got lost trying to swim to the side. Damn near drowned." Are you kidding me?

DanielMaldonado
DanielMaldonado

@rbtrojI spoke with a friend of mine who worked on the CGI on LIfe of Pi and asked him your question.  He responded as follows: "I think there was a total of over 250 scenes in which the CGI Tiger was presented. There were I believe less than 10 scenes in the movie in which a real tiger was used. Three stunt tigers were filmed but most of the footage could not be used. Any Lee could not get those tigers to act on cue."

CynthiaAvishegnath
CynthiaAvishegnath

Is the report writer an expert on tigers and whether they can swim?

Is the report writer familiar with a tiger's habit and behaviour?

albertson.chris
albertson.chris

@AlexTrabal @albertson.chris I read that too.  No information if the tiger actually went under the water longer then tiger like to be under the water.  "Getting lost" is not anything like drowning,

Many mistake being afraid of water with drowning.  For example it is impossible to yell for help if you are drowning.  It takes air to yell.  Being lost and having to look around is just that, being lost and looking around.  Downing involves being under the water and the above quotes does not even talk about that.


It could very well be the cat almost drown but the quote does not support that.