Hollywood loves hyperbole, but when it comes to talking about Noel Marshall’s wild “Roar,” it’s hard to overstate just how crazy, dangerous, and just plain nuts the film’s production was.
For 11 years, producer-director Marshall; his wife, the actress Tippi Hedren; and their children, including then-fledging actress Melanie Griffith, lived, ate and slept in the company of 150 lions, tigers, cheetahs, and jaguars. (Yes, this sounds like a bad enough idea already, but wait for it.) Eventually, Marshall and Hedren came up with the idea to use their own life — and cats! — as the basis for a film meant to bolster their love for animal conversation. It did not work out very well.
The film’s shoot was plagued from the start, both by financial difficulties (Marshall and Hedren sold almost everything they had to finance it), and a series of horrific, seemingly random plagues, including floods, wildfire, and disease. And that’s to say nothing of the injuries.
When Drafthouse Films re-released the film back in 2015, the forward-thinking distributor sold the feature with a canny (and true) tagline: “No animals were harmed in the making of this movie. 70 members of the cast and crew were.”
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As IndieWire detailed at the time: “Some of the injuries sustained in the course of production: cinematographer Jan de Bont was scalped, requiring 220 stitches; Griffith was mauled by a lion, which required facial reconstructive surgery; an A.D. narrowly escaped death when a lion missed his jugular by an inch; Hedren, who was also attacked by birds on the set of ‘The Birds,’ endured a fractured leg and multiple scalp wounds; and Marshall himself was wounded so many times that he was hospitalized with gangrene.”
Those injuries and upheavals are just part of the upcoming behind-the-scenes documentary, “ROAR: The Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made,” which dives deep into the film’s troubled production, complete with exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage. “Roar,” it seems is still dangerous, and now there’s even more of it.
In our exclusive clip, various cast and crew members (including Marshall’s son John, who starred in the film) detail the circumstances surrounding perhaps the most notorious injury to happen during production: the scalping of de Pont at the hands (paws) of some very angry big cats. Check it out below.
“ROAR: The Most Dangerous Movie Ever Made” will debut on Animal Planet (too good) on Saturday, June 24 at 10PM ET.