Friday, November 17, 2006


Richard Linklater, the prolific Austin filmmaker (his A Scanner Darkly came out just a few months ago), has been a practicing vegetarian since his early 20s --"almost half my life," he says. But his mission making Fast Food Nation, the fictionalized adaptation of Eric Schlosser's 2001 nonfiction bestseller on America's meat industry, was not about converting carnivores to herbivores.

"I don’t disparage anyone who eats meat," says Linklater, who cowrote the Fast Food Nation screenplay with Schlosser. "Eric eats meat. I just think that people should eat healthy, certified humane and organic meat. Not the factory processed stuff we show in the film."

In researching Fast Food Nation -- which stars Greg Kinnear as a marketing exec investigating reports of tainted beef patties coming from a huge livestock/slaughterhouse/meat packing plant that supplies his chain -- Linklater interviewed several ranchers who raise cattle the old-fashioned way. Kris Kristofferson is an amalgamization of them in the picture.

"I really admire these guys," says Linklater. "The ones who are doing it right -- you know, grass-fed, no hormones or antibiotic pumpage. They’re good stewards of the land, they care about the animals, they’re doing it the right way. But they’re under such tremendous pressure. How can you compete against someone who’s cutting every corner, breaking every rule, and is poluting the environment? It’s not a level playing field.... I tried to depict that a little bit with Kris Kristofferson's character. A lot of the things he’s saying came right out of the mouths of some of these ranchers. They’re being encroached on, every which way."

Click here for the Fast Food Nation offical site.


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