Famous people sometimes surprise with their quirks. Michael Jackson built a whole amusement park in his estate, Nicolas Cage bought the skull of a dinosaur, and Lady Gaga bought equipment for detecting ghosts in bulk. However, all these oddities are completely innocent and safe in comparison with the act of parents Melanie Griffith, the famous actress Tippi Hedren and her stepfather – the director Noel Marshall. Extravagant representatives of Hollywood settled in his mansion of a lion! SPLETNIK.RU decided to remember how the young Griffith got on with the wild neighbor.
It all began after a trip to Africa in 1969: the pristine nature and graceful rulers of the savannah so inspired impressionable creative people that Hedrin and Marshall immediately flared up the idea of taking a film about lions. The performers of the main roles were Tippi, her daughter from Melanie’s previous marriage, Noel himself and his two sons, John and Jerry. But the main character – the lion was not enough! Therefore, the preparatory period for the shooting began not with the reading of the script, but with the search for the future shaggy star. However, there was no experience of existence in the frame with such a partner – even Tippi Hedren, who already came in contact with dangerous fauna in Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds. A familiar trainer recommended that the director recall Stanislavsky’s system and create future circumstances right at home. To get used to the wild beast and better understand its habits, the circus specialist suggested that the family take a tame lion to himself. So in the family appeared the king of animals named Nile.
If the 13-year-old Melanie ever asked her parents for a pet, she obviously did not expect that the fulfillment of her desire would take such a scale. While some moms and dads are categorically against even the hamster, Tippi and Noel, without thinking (and not even spending on the cage), settled a large predator next to their children.
It should be noted that this speech was not about a lion cub, but about a fully grown-up individual weighing almost 200 kilograms – the benefit of the luxurious Marshall Estate in Sherman Oaks, California, was enough for a walk.
Noel at this time thought through the details of the plot of the future film, and he, it must be said, turned out to be quite bloody. The basis of personal impressions of Tippi Hedren and her husband from a trip to the black continent: during the trip they came across an abandoned farm, which was occupied by the lion pride. The hero of the film was to become an American Hank (his role was assigned to Marshall himself), a solitary living on a ranch in Africa with several lions, tigers and other wild animals. One day to visit him comes the wife and children. But, by a fatal coincidence, they missed each other: Hank left to meet his relatives at the airport, and his wife and children at the same time already went to the ranch on their own.
The photos published in Life Magazine, on the contrary, depict an almost idyllic picture of the coexistence of people and beasts. Melanie, who was still a teenager (it was in 1971), squeezed the lion like a kitten, bathed with him in the pool and even slept in the same bed. In the pictures, a harsh predator and, truthfully, with his habits resembles a domestic cat: with curiosity he looks in the fridge in search of a delicious and tries to disentangle himself on the typewriter of the head of the family, not letting him work.
In reality, however, the experience for the family became truly dangerous and almost ended in tragedy.
I shudder when I look at these photos now! We were infinitely stupid! We should not have taken such a risk. These animals are so fast that if they decide to grab you, nothing will stop them except a bullet in the head!
– Tippy Hedren regretted the interview she gave in 2014.
In the distant 1971, the family was still more optimistic and, perhaps, lightheaded, because Neil had relatively well established in the family and serious incidents with him did not arise. However, and from him proceeded a real danger: subsequently the lion attacked his master Ron Oxley in his own house. And Griffith and her family had real problems during the filming, when they had to work with a lot more wild “actors” (according to the plot, the main character holds 110 predators on the ranch). Instead of the planned nine months, work on the painting dragged on for 11 years and cost the health of many project participants.
Shot from the movie “The Roar”
From the operator of the tape Jan de Bont, the predator tried to take off the scalp. It was necessary to impose 220 stitches! Melanie Griffith herself was attacked: the lion hit her in the face with a paw, after which the plastic surgeons interfered. It’s interesting to note that shortly before that, Melanie decided to stop filming.
I do not want to stay without half of the face,
She said then to her mother, but her parents persuaded her to return, but it turned out that the girl almost foresaw her fate. Since then, she does not like to remember about these shootings, and hardly mentions them in her interviews.
However, for presumption, the initiators of the filming, Tippi and Noel, were also punished. Marshall was hospitalized repeatedly: the lion wounded him so often that the director even developed gangrene, and Hedren broke his leg. In total during the shooting 70 people were injured. Incidentally, the scenes of some attacks entered the film, so that in some episodes on the screen you can see quite natural blood.
Shot from the movie “The Roar”
I do not know how we survived. We were alone with these huge predators,
– recalled Tippi.
Father is a damn bastard because he dragged us into this. At first the idea seemed cheerful, but everything turned into a danger,
– echoed her son Marshall John in the memoirs.
On the world screens the film was released only in 1981 (with the rental in the US was not due to debts to creditors), and its production was called one of the most dangerous in the history of cinematography. Despite the exciting storyline and the bloodthirsty details, commercial success did not have a picture. Of the 17 million dollars spent on shooting, only two million were returned at the box office. So the film has also become one of the most failed independent projects.
All the participants in the bloody story took a lesson from her. Tippi Hedren manages the private shelter-preserve Shambala Preserve for lions and actively opposes the content of large predators at home – and this is still permitted by law in some US states. Melanie Griffith is one of the members of the board of directors of the organization. Noel Marshall also switched to shooting more peaceful pictures: in 1988 he was the producer of the romantic comedy “One Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon” with River Phoenix in the title role.
Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith
Melanie herself, this episode from her life, we hope, helped to bring up the strength of character and the ability to tame the hot temper of others (she tamed the sultry Antonio Banderas!), And did not give a whole bunch of neuroses. However, who knows, maybe the true causes of epileptic seizures, to which the actress complained, lie just in the stress experienced in her youth.