He was originally supposed to act out a scene with a tiger in Thailand, since he was cheaper to use than other tigers, but the animal was “funky,” according to McConaughey. “We didn’t quite trust that tiger … He had been caught out of the wild, like, yesterday.”
But that didn’t stop producers from using a live tiger rather than a computer generated (CG) one. “A CG tiger would have been safer,” McConaughey said. “Maybe more expensive. But less of a buzz.”
But considering some of the real threats tigers face in the world today, people are saying that the “buzz” isn’t worth it. Tigers used for the entertainment industry are routinely whipped into submission by their trainers.
“McConaughey knows that computer-generated imagery could have been used instead, sparing the tiger a lifetime of incarcerating cruelty and the actor and others on set the risk of a potentially deadly attack,” Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, told The Dodo, pointing out that we’re living in a world where tigers are at risk of extinction.
“In a world where captive tigers outnumber wild ones, where they are slaughtered for their bones and skins and claws and forced to perform in circuses or languish behind bars in zoos, there is no reason to also exploit tigers as props on movie sets,” Roberts said.
Still, the producers decided to shoot the scene in New Mexico with another tiger, after they decided they didn’t trust the Thai tiger.
The tiger in New Mexico “was a younger tiger, and he’d lose his attention span,” McConaughey said. “He’d roar and look around and get anxious, like, ‘Why am I doing this again? Why’s this guy walking in front of me, putting his hand on my head?'”
McConaughey said he had to watch out for the tiger’s curiosity. “Because his curiosity might mean I’m screwed!” he said. “When you’re curious like a cat, you might want to reach out and paw some string … and I didn’t want to be pawed.”
The tiger was accompanied by a trainer who had the tiger restrained by a wire leash.
“McConaughey has hinted that his fear in this scene was real,” Roberts said. “He’s an actor; he should be able to show fear without a live tiger in front of him.”
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Source: The Dodo