Oscar winner and longtime vegan Joaquin Phoenix might quickly be taking his animal activism to the massive display.
The actor has acquired movie rights to Free the Animals, the 1992 guide by PETA founder and president Ingrid Newkirk, about the militant group Animal Liberation Front. Phoenix additionally penned the foreword for the thirtieth anniversary paperback version, out May 5.
The tome’s full title is Free the Animals: The Amazing, True Story of the Animal Liberation Front in North America. It follows “Valerie,” a younger police officer whose world is turned the wrong way up when she comes face to face with a bunch of monkeys faraway from an animal testing laboratory. Along the approach, she encounters people who find themselves keen to threat freedom for the trigger, and he or she joins them in residing on the run from the legislation that she swore to uphold.
In a bid to encourage the subsequent era of activists, Phoenix writes, “Yes, Free the Animals is about the balaclava-wearing heroes who break windows and laws to save animals, but it’s also about everyone. It’s a call to us all to take action. Whether it’s wielding crowbars and bolt-cutters or picking up a pen or a protest sign, every one of us can and must fight injustice and push for animal liberation every chance we get.”
Phoenix’s foreword provides extra context to a high-profile cease he made throughout his awards season run for his Oscar-winning flip in Joker. After choosing up a Screen Actors Guild prize, Phoenix, nonetheless in his tuxedo, accompanied activists from LA Animal Save for a vigil outdoors a slaughterhouse in Vernon, California. “We offered a sip of water, comforting words and a gentle touch to the pigs on the transport trucks that stopped before passing through the gates,” he writes. “It’s heartbreaking to look into these individuals’ eyes and imagine what they must be feeling, to realize that we were likely offering them the only kindness they’d ever known, and that in a few moments, their lives would come to a violent end.”
Phoenix continues by addressing a query that he’s requested about why he attends such vigils and why he doesn’t purchase animal merchandise. The reply is easy, he writes. “I’ve seen the torture and killing that occurs when someone takes — steals — what rightly belongs to another living being. Strips what’s theirs right off their back or kills them so that parts of their body can be eaten or worn. I’ve seen what horror and fear animals in laboratories live in simply because they aren’t protected from human curiosity and there’s money in caging them to test things, like how they will react when frightened by a rubber snake or when their babies are torn away from them. Knowing all that, I have a moral obligation to act. And I know that’s how the heroes of this book, Free the Animals, felt, too.”
THR checked in with the writer, Newkirk, for her response to Phoenix buying the characteristic movie rights, and he or she stated that she fielded “considerable interest” from two different stars. But she went with Phoenix in the hope that he not solely directs the movie but in addition stars in it. Newkirk has even zeroed in on the position he might play.
“I’m convinced he would win another Oscar for playing Josh, the Navy whistleblower who risked a court-martial to get help for a little dog about to die in a deep-sea diving experiment and who then went on to lead the West Coast Animal Liberation Front teams that freed many more animals who faced certain death,” she says. “Joaquin understands what animals go through and lives and breathes animal rights — it’s part of his very being. I also have his word that he would never allow the use of real animals, who often spend their lives in cages and are shipped to Hollywood sets to perform what to them are stressful, nonsensical, repetitious acts. Instead, he would use computer-generated imagery or domestic animals who live as companions — and of course, he would have access to PETA’s photo and video vaults, which contain footage from the raids described in the book.”
Phoenix, who final starred in Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon, subsequent toplines Ari Aster’s Disappointment Blvd. and Ridley Scott’s Napoleon.
A model of this story first appeared in the April 27 situation of The Hollywood Reporter journal. Click right here to subscribe.