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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for a boycott of the film Alpha, which hits theaters this weekend, over an allegation that animals were slaughtered and skinned during an Alberta shoot for the family-adventure story.
“Five sensitive bison lost their lives, all so that their bodies could be used as props in this wholly forgettable flick,” PETA senior vp Lisa Lange said in a statement. Alpha opens Friday in North America courtesy of Sony Pictures.
“PETA is calling on the public to show Hollywood that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated by refusing to buy a ticket to Alpha,” she added. The animal deaths were the subject of a 2016 investigation by The Hollywood Reporter that centered on the role of the film’s animal wrangler, John Scott, who was overseen on the shoot by the American Humane Association.
Scott could not be reached at press time for a comment. But a source close to the movie, formerly known as The Solutrean, insisted the bisons were not slaughtered for the sole purpose of the movie production.
Instead, a meat-processing company was contacted to purchase previously slaughtered bison carcasses for use in a key scene that followed a hunting expedition. The AHA prohibits the use of animals killed for the purpose of film production.
It is understood that no one from the movie’s production authorized or knew of the breach of the AHA’s guidelines, which an internal investigation concluded was due to a miscommunication with Scott. “This unfortunate situation was the cause of a wrangler who went rogue,” said a source close to the pic.
Directed by Albert Hughes and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alpha is the first film from the Sony-partnered Studio 8, headed by former Warner Bros. chief Jeff Robinov. The story, which takes place 20,000 years ago in Europe, during the last Ice Age, centers on a young man (Smit-McPhee) who is injured and left for dead by his tribe while on a hunt. The young tribesman then finds and befriends a wolf who has been abandoned by his pack, and the two team up to fight for survival. Johannes Haukur Johannesson co-stars.
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