Natalie Portman hasn’t eaten meat since she was nine years old. But it wasn’t until she read Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” in 2009 that she realized consuming dairy and eggs could harm animals too.
The book struck her so intensely that she instantly called up Foer and told him she thought the project would also work as a documentary. The writer and the actress had been friends for years, striking up a friendship after Portman — then a student at Harvard University — approached Foer after a Cambridge, Mass., book reading for his 2002 novel “Everything Is Illuminated.”
It took nearly a decade for the documentary, out June 22, to come to fruition, along the way picking up financial backing from Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Ev Williams. Portman, now 37, eventually decided to serve as the film’s narrator, while both she and Foer, 41, share producing credits.
The film focuses on the evils of factory farming, though it doesn’t argue that eating meat is inherently problematic. “This is not a film that is for the vegan abolitionist,” said director Christopher Quinn, best known for his 2006 film about Sudanese refugees, “God Grew Tired of Us.”
“It’s really for anyone who wants to have an understanding of where their food comes from. And I understand why it’s easier for people to turn away. I was one of them. No one wants a finger-wagging about how you eat. People don’t want to change because our lives our busy and complex. It’s a hard thing to ask of anybody.”…