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Lars von Trier: Murderer!

Old 04-30-04, 06:50 PM
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Lars von Trier: Murderer!

Reilly drops out over dead donkey
Actor John C Reilly has reportedly quit Lars Von Trier's Manderlay in protest over the killing of a donkey. Entertainment Weekly reports that the Chicago star walked off the film's set in Trollhatten, Sweden last month. He has since been replaced by Slovenian actor Zelijko Ivanek.

According to the swirl of rumours emanating from the shoot, 38 year-old Reilly was outraged over a scene that involved the slaughter of a donkey for food. But executive producer Peter Aalbaek Jensen insists that the donkey was old and sick and that the killing was entirely humane.

Speaking from the Zentropa production office in Denmark, Aalbaek told the Ritzau news bureau: "As it was explained to me from Sweden, everything went by the book and the entire process was monitored by a veterinarian. We were very conscientious about that, because we didn't want 70,000 American animal rights groups on our back." That said, he added wryly, "We could probably kill six children for a film without anyone raising a fuss." As yet, there are no reports of children being murdered on the set of Manderlay.

Reilly's exit marks the second major loss to the cast of Von Trier's film. Nicole Kidman was originally committed to star in the movie, following up her turn in the director's previous film Dogville, but bailed out of the project last summer. A tale of racism in the segregated south, Manderlay is the second part in Von Trier's controversial trilogy of films about America.
Hrrmm... thoughts? I've been a supporter and defender of LVT but this rubs me the wrong way. Not cool. The supposed presence of a vet doesn't really mean much to me. Question is will it affect my viewing/purchasing in the future?
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Old 04-30-04, 07:45 PM
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John C Reilly is such a great actor. That is a pretty sick thing they did, and I applaud his(Reilly) decision in the matter.
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Old 04-30-04, 07:57 PM
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American farmers kill cows, chickens, pigs and other animals all the time. Just because we don't see it, it doesn't mean it's not happening. So they killed a donkey, big deal. At least they killed a sick one.

I think I'll go have a hot dog.
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Old 04-30-04, 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by Psychlowne
I think I'll go have a hot dog.
mmm Donkey Dogs

I really don't know how I feel abou this. I think it is sad, and I do applaud Reilly for standing up for what he believes in and walking. Was it wrong? I don't know. Also, the film is being shot in another country, I don't know what their laws are in regard to this.

Rated NC-17 for Strong Donkey Violence.
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Old 04-30-04, 08:58 PM
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Send Reilly to go hang out with Ted Nugent for a few months.
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Old 04-30-04, 09:12 PM
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I'm with Reilly on this one. Killing an animal for food is a lot different than killing one for entertainment.
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Old 05-01-04, 07:23 AM
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Next time visit a slaughter house or view the slaughter of horses in Maîtresse. Those horses were healthy and had no vet present.
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Old 05-01-04, 07:42 AM
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Originally posted by DVD Smurf
Next time visit a slaughter house
See post above.

or view the slaughter of horses in Maîtresse. Those horses were healthy and had no vet present.
I know nothing about 'Maitresse', but I do know it was 30 years ago, and I would like to think that things have changed. And, even if they haven't, that doesn't mean its right.
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Old 05-01-04, 09:04 AM
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Originally posted by flashburn
I know nothing about 'Maitresse', but I do know it was 30 years ago, and I would like to think that things have changed. And, even if they haven't, that doesn't mean its right.
Not really... it is a business and we still cut their throats and bash the animals heads in with sledgehammers... If we all had to go out to hunt for the food, we would not have time to see films, work, or surf the internet. There would be areas with starvation and such as farming can raise large amount of meat in a small area. Whether it is right or wrong, depends on your personal beliefs. As a carnivor, who enjoys a good hamburger or steak, I believe that there should be a pleasant way about it. But I cannot find any pleasant way of killing an animal. Besides, I like to find a cure to cancer and other illnesses that kills thousands of animals for the case of saving sick people arond the world. Sure, there are idealists out there who would give up their life instead of taking the medication that has killed tens of thousands mice.

The scene was shot in Sweden, which have stricter animal rights laws than in the US. For example, it is illegal to declaw cats in Sweden.

Lastly, to quit over the shot of the scene was his decision based on his believes, yet it rings wrong with double morals as we accidentally kill innocent children in war. Where is his voice in this matter? Just because he witness this, should all people quit when they see something traumatic? Where would our soldiers be then?

whisper - ...maybe the slaughter of the donkey isn't his true reason for quit the job...

Nonetheless, I have the outmost respect for Reilly and his decision. I think, when we see something traumatic we should raise our voice, and be loud about it. Yet, we should also put it in perspective with the rest of the world and its cultures.

Last edited by DVD Smurf; 05-01-04 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 05-01-04, 10:29 PM
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Jeff Wells suggested in his column that the whole donkey thing was probably just an excuse to get out of it -- von Trier's already lost three or four actors (Kidman and Caan didn't return and it's been rumored that Stellan Skarsgard has dropped out too) so that sounds fairly probable. Otherwise Reilly is a wuss.
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Old 05-02-04, 03:11 PM
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Ah yes. People are wusses if they take a stand on principle. Perhaps filmmakers should start using terminally ill people and death row inmates for their murder scenes. How cool would that be!

But I guess this means they aren't using the same sort of set as was used in Dogville with the chalk-drawn dog etc.
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Old 05-02-04, 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by thawtz
Ah yes. People are wusses if they take a stand on principle. Perhaps filmmakers should start using terminally ill people and death row inmates for their murder scenes. How cool would that be!
Wow talk about going overboard dude!
It was a SICK donkey for pete's sake...
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Old 05-02-04, 05:26 PM
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Perhaps filmmakers should start using terminally ill people and death row inmates for their murder scenes.
I'm disappointed, you didn't manage to work Hitler in there anywhere.

Incidentally according to Variety Reilly pulled out of the project because he didn't think his small role was worth a trip to Sweden, not because of the donkey thing. Apparently he never even set foot on the set.
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Old 05-02-04, 05:47 PM
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Originally posted by thawtz
Perhaps filmmakers should start using terminally ill people and death row inmates for their murder scenes. How cool would that be!
They have already done that in the tasteless Facez of Death...

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Old 05-03-04, 05:42 PM
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I'm disappointed, you didn't manage to work Hitler in there anywhere.
Wouldn't want to throw out my best card so soon.

And here's the full Variety article for posterity:
Did a doomed donkey really kick thesp John C. Reilly off the set of Lars von Trier's "Manderlay"?

Papers all over the globe were buzzing late last week about Reilly's alleged refusal to do the film when he learned that he was to appear in a scene where a live donkey would be butchered for food.

"The ethical problem of one actor makes me smile when hundreds of thousands of animals are killed every day without anybody getting excited about them," Peter Aalbk Jensen, managing director of Zentropa Entertainment, told Australia's Herald Sun.

However, it now appears Reilly never stomped off the set --- because he was never on it.

Von Trier wanted to work with Reilly on the first film in his American trilogy, "Dogville," but the actor declined because of schedule conflicts.

Reilly then agreed to take a small role in "Manderlay," but when the actor saw a revised script, his part had been trimmed even further --- down to one scene, a new one that featured the slaughtering of a donkey.

Reilly decided the role wasn't worth the trip to Sweden and told Von Trier he'd have to catch him on the next one.

Whether or not Reilly was angered by the donkey's death, any fury would seem ill-placed.

According to Aalbk Jensen, the donkey was to be put down anyway, and a vet was attending the execution scene.

"Everything was done according to the rules," the producer tells Variety. "Who wants to upset American societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals?"
Off I go to look for Facez of Death.
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Old 05-04-04, 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by Groucho
I'm with Reilly on this one. Killing an animal for food is a lot different than killing one for entertainment.
What if you film an animal being slaughtered for food, and people find that film clip entertaining?
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Old 05-04-04, 09:54 AM
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Livestock, sick and healthy, are slaughtered every day, sometimes for food, sometimes not. If Reilly really quit because it bothered him, then that's his choice. If he used it as an excuse to drop out of the film, that's his choice too. I do hope Reilly is a vegan though, otherwise it would be hypocritical of him, and my respect for him will have gone down, not up.

It's not like this donkey was tortured to death, or died a meaningless death. Showing an animal being killed and butchered for food is not that big of a deal. There are training videos you can go buy to teach you how to kill and butcher (aka 'process') livestock and game animals, and they are full of animals killed only for the making of that video. This also isn't the only feature film made that shows this process, and it won't be the last. Also, there was a show on Food Network a couple of years ago that I saw about a family run restaurant in Spain that only sold what was produced on the family farm. About 15 mins of it was the 'processing' of a pig from start to finish, including blowing up the bladder with air and using it like a soccer ball. Where is the outcry there? Yet another animal needlessly buthced for food and entertainment, its organs ripped out and tossed around like a ball!

I think if Reilly hadn't made a big deal about it, the event would have gone largely unnoticed.
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