The Shawshank Redemption is arguably one of the best movies ever made.
It’s one of those films that folks find themselves stopping on to watch for the 90th time while channel surfing.
But the film almost never got finished thanks to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) uproar over a maggot being killed!
Every movie that involves animals in any way is required to hire some people to monitor the production to ensure that the animals aren’t mistreated. This is a pretty good rule — it’s what ensures that filmmakers aren’t hitting a sedated bear with a Taser every time it fails to bite Leo DiCaprio’s skull in exactly the right way.
But then, you have what happened behind the scenes of The Shawshank Redemption. According to the DVD commentary, the filmmakers hired a representative of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to monitor the filming because one of the characters keeps a baby bird in his shirt pocket. This was back in the day when it was still cheaper to shove an actual baby bird in there instead of later constructing one out of CGI.
Fortunately, the ASPCA representative was fine with the bird, but, after being brought on to monitor the production, she had one other major issue that nobody could have predicted: In one scene, the character finds a maggot in his food and feeds it to the bird in his pocket. The ASPCA forbade them from shooting this scene because it technically involved cruelty to an “animal” — the animal in question being the maggot that they bought from a bait shop.
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