Prolific character actor James Cromwell has appeared in a lot of memorable movies in the course of his long career, including LA Confidential, The Green Mile and The Queen, but no film has had an impact on his life like 1995’s Babe.
The film, about a farm pig who dreams of becoming a sheepdog, gave Cromwell perhaps his most famous role and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He delivered the iconic line, “That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.”
But the film didn’t just have an impact on Cromwell’s career, it also inspired a major change in his life: it inspired him to become an ethical vegan and speak out for animal rights.
And recently, life imitated art as Cromwell did something that would make the sheep-pig proud: he saved a real-life “Babe” from being slaughtered.
According to a release from PETA, a piglet fell off a meat truck, where he was being “taken to be fattened for slaughter.”
The poor pig was reportedly “scraped, bruised and covered in mud.” James Cromwell, who serves as an Honorary Director at PETA, heard about the story and stepped in to save his life.
“Having had the privilege of witnessing and experiencing pigs’ intelligence and inquisitive personalities while filming the movie Babe changed my life and my way of eating, and so I jumped at the chance to save this real-life Babe,” the 83-year-old actor said. “Every pig deserves to live in peace and joy at a sanctuary, choosing when to frolic, where to forage, and how to spend their time, yet few do.”
Cromwell named the pig “Babe,” and arranged for him to be transferred to the Indraloka Animal Sanctuary.
In a heartwarming video, Cromwell meets the real-life Babe over video call.
“I hear you’re a rather extraordinary pig,” the actor says. “You jumped off a truck so you wouldn’t be somebody’s Easter dinner? What a great thing to do.”
Cromwell said he was looking forward to meeting Babe in person one day, and ended by saying “That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.”
The movie Babe humanizes farm animals like pigs and ducks, who are horrified that humans eat their kind. Working on the film inspired Cromwell to become a vegetarian and become an advocate of animal rights.
“I decided that to be able to speak about this [movie] with conviction, I needed to become a vegetarian again,” he told Vegetarian Magazine.
In 1996, a year after the film’s release, he organized a vegetarian Christmas dinner for homeless in Los Angeles. The animals in Babe say “Christmas means carnage,” and Cromwell wanted to dispel that notion with a meat-free dinner.
He has worked with PETA, appearing in several of their public service announcements. He received their Hero to Animals award and was named an Honorary Director.
We’re so glad this real-life Babe is safe, thanks to James Cromwell!
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