Activists for animal rights have demanded a boycott of Liam Neeson’s new film, The Grey, after the British actor revealed he ate wolf stew to prepare for his role.
In the movie, Liam Neeson, 59, plays the leader of a group of oil workers being hunted down by a pack of wolves after surviving a plane crash in the Arctic.
During the making of the film, the director suggested that cast members eat real wolf meat to “get into character”.
But while some were reluctant, Liam Neeson revealed that he “went up for seconds of the wolf stew”.
Furious members of animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said in a statement: “Neeson’s stance on kindness to animals is sorely out of step with the rest of the world.”
And arguing that instead of being predatory, wolves normally shy away from human contact, PETA urged cinema-goers: “Don’t just shy away. Run away from The Grey.”
Activists for animal rights have demanded a boycott of Liam Neeson’s new film, The Grey, after the British actor revealed he ate wolf stew to prepare for his role
Most of the wolf scenes in The Grey were shot using special effects, but PETA claims the film’s director Joe Carnahan ordered wolf carcasses from a trapper and that the animals would have suffered “horribly” before they died.
“Many animals caught in traps chew off their own limbs in order to escape,” said PETA spokeswoman Jane Dollinger.
“These animals go on to die of gangrene or other secondary infections, sometimes leaving nursing puppies abandoned to fend for themselves.
“Wolves are intelligent, family-oriented animals who mate for life and live in tightly bonded packs.
“Breaking up a wolf family causes loneliness, separation-anxiety, depression and grief.”
At a press conference to promote The Grey, Liam Neeson, who was born in County Antrim, said that while some cast members had been sick after eating the wolf meat, he was not fazed by the experience.
Liam Neeson said: “It was very gamey. But I’m Irish, so I’m used to odd stews. I can take it. Just throw a lot of carrots and onions in there and I’ll call it dinner.”
Wolf experts have joined PETA in its protest, claiming the film, which was shot in British Columbia in Canada, will incite Americans to slaughter wolves after falsely portraying them as man-eaters.
“Wolves pose no threat whatsoever to human beings,” said Jane Dollinger.
The animals faced extinction in the US until they were added to the endangered species list in many states.
In British Columbia, though there are just 8,000 left, it is still legal to kill them in traps.
Despite the animal rights protesters’ anger, The Grey has topped the American box-office charts since its release.
And reviews of the film have been sympathetic to Liam Neeson, noting a parallel with his character and tragic events in his own life.
Liam Neeson’s wife and mother of his two teenage sons, the English actress Natasha Richardson, died in 2009 from a head injury sustained in a skiing accident.
In The Grey it is suggested that Liam Neeson’s character has a death wish as a result of a tragedy involving his wife.
“Let’s just say that I had to do very little research,” Liam Neeson said of the role.
“I knew the emotions that had to be accessed. We just played the scenes of a man whose heart is broken.”
In addition to eating wolf meat, Liam Neeson did survivalist training to prepare for Canada’s sub-zero temperatures.
“I saw a documentary about this British man a few years ago who liked to swim through icebergs in Antarctica,” he said.
“He started preparing by taking freezing-cold showers for ten minutes every morning. I did the same thing to prepare for this movie, but I only got up to seven minutes.”
A spokeswoman for Liam Neeson referred questions about animal rights issues to the film’s producers, who declined to comment.
The 85th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took the streets of Manhattan in its spectacular style in front of 3 million spectators who watched the fourteen giant helium balloons, including Buzz Lightyear and SpongeBob SquarePants.
The US biggest singing stars also came to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 to entertain the crowds, including award-winning singers Cee Lo Green, Mary J.Blige and Neil Diamond.
At a 40 F temperatures, the crowd was entertained by the helium-filled balloons, including Clumsy Smurf, Kermit the Frog – and some newcomers, as Julius The Monkey.
Paul Frank’s sock puppet-inspired monkey Julius made its debut as a 41-foot-tall balloon. The crowds chanted “Jul-i-us! Jul-i-us!” as it passed.
Julius The Monkey was followed by “B”- a spooky character covered in stitches created by filmmaker Tim Burton.
And making their first appearance at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were a pair of bike-powered balloons, one featuring a large green elf designed by Queens resident Keith Lapinig, who won a nationwide contest with more than 10,000 entries.
But there were also some much-loved favourites, including video game character Sonic the Hedgehog, who returned after an 18-year absence, and a navel-themed Mickey Mouse.
They were joined by SpongeBob SquarePants, Snoopy, Spiderman and Kermit the Frog.
With a 40-ft Sonic the Hedgehog at its helm, the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in spectacular style
As the balloons, held up by scores of rope-bearers, snaked along the route, crowds were also entertained by the top vocal talents, including Cee Lo Green, Country singer Rodney Atkins and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery.
Canadian singer Avril Lavigne sat on a float featuring a giant fattened turkey as she sang, followed by a musical set from the colourful cast of Sesame Street.
Brass bands from high schools and colleges around the country also marched along the route, such as the Nation Ford High School from South Carolina, which included sixteen sets of siblings.
Macy’s Great American Marching Band, with trombones, tubas and booming drums, led the march.
Ana Santiago, 34, a said receptionist from Park Slope, Brooklyn said:
“The parade makes you enjoy life.”
“You see the kids cheering and celebrating, and that makes the day.”
“It’s a tradition,” Ana Santiago added.
“New Yorkers should take advantage of it. You never know what you’ll see.”
The parade followed high-energy performances from glitzy cheerleaders and characters from Broadway show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, including Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.
In total, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade boasted more than 40 smaller balloons, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders as an estimated 50 million people watched the television coverage from home.
Floats included a mini version of Mount Rushmore from the South Dakota Department of Tourism. The grey granite structure also featured Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park in an effort to drive more visitors to the state.
Grammy winner Neil Diamond performed on the float as it moved through the streets.
The crowd on Seventh Avenue started singing “Sweet Caroline! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” as the singer waved.
Ronald McDonald, joined by scores of waving children, drove a large red shoe float. It pulled along a giant helium float of the food chain’s grinning ambassador.
Another float featured popular cartoon character Dora the Explorer alongside children dressed as Christmas presents. Olympian ice skater Johnny Weir waved to the crowds as he rode on a white horse float.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 started at 77th Street and headed south on Central Park West to Seventh Avenue, before moving to Sixth Avenue and ending at Macy’s Herald Square.
Despite fears that stormy weather would batter the balloons, the balloons floated under blue skies.
Joe Sullivan, a balloon handler, who has been volunteering at the parade for more than 15 years, held a line securing a huge floating pumpkin.
“When it’s windy it’s a struggle,” Joe Sullivan said.
“But today is great weather. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Thousands of children flocked to the event, which closed with Santa Claus riding on a sleigh float and waving to the spectators.
“We’ve been up since two o’clock in the morning,” said Jodi Caplan, 40, of Westtown, in upstate Orange County, who brought her two kids to witness the festivities.
“It’s their first parade. This is the perfect day – perfect weather.”
The giant balloons were created at Macy’s Parade Studio, and each undergoes testing for flight patterns, aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift.
The helium heavies were inflated on Wednesday across the street from the western side of Central Park.
Thousands of people, many families with children in tow, were drawn to the spectacle of the balloons lying as if asleep on the streets, held down by weighted nets.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got its start in 1924 and included live animals such as camels, goats and elephants. It was not until 1927 that the live animals were replaced by giant helium balloons. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.
Since the beginning, the balloons have been based on popular cultural characters and holiday themes.
L’Oréal’s anti-grey pill, a daily medication based on a secret fruit extract, is scheduled to launch within the next four years.
Bruno Bernard, head of hair biology at L’Oréal, told The Sunday Times:
“We have a watertight proof of concept with this, and we think it will have a market among men as well as women.”
Although L’Oréal has been researching the pill for more than a decade, scientists acknowledge it will take at least another 10 more to chart its effectiveness, because hair-greying is such a slow process.
The bad news for people whose hair has already started to turn grey, the scientists believe the anti-grey pill won’t reverse the process.
“Ideally you would take it (the pill) for your whole life,” said Bruno Bernard.
“But realistically we would encourage people to start using it before their hair goes grey because we don’t think it can reverse the process once it has started.”
Scientists say they don't believe their anti-grey pill will work on people like George Clooney, whose hair has already begun the greying process
Hair cells are at their best between puberty and the age of 25. Once people hit 30, the hair cells slump into an “oxidative stress” process and their defense against toxins breaks down summoning the appearance of grey hairs.
The new anti-grey pill is designed to protect the hair cells.
According to researchers, the absence of a protective enzyme called tyrosinase-related protein 2 (TRP-2) causes hair pigment cells to die as people get older.
But, instead of developing a synthetic drug that mimics TRP-2, L’Oréal screened thousands of natural compounds humans are exposed to already and found one in the fruit.
Des Tobin, professor of cell biology at Bradford University’s Centre for Skin Science, told The Sunday Times:
“With people living longer and working longer, they are in the grey zone for longer, and the demand for something like this is huge.”
George Cotsarelis, a hair cell expert at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said although he was skeptical, if the company had found a way to prevent pigment cells from dying off it could be “very interesting”.