Joaquin Phoenix Acquires Film Rights to PETA President’s Book Free the Animals

Joaquin Phoenix advises next generation to ‘Free the Animals’ in a new movie.

Vegan actor and activist Joaquin Phoenix has just picked up the film rights to Free the Animals: The Amazing True Story of the Animal Liberation Front in North America. 

Initially released in 1992 and authored by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, the book has a 30th anniversary edition releasing in May. Along with acquiring the rights for a planned feature film adaptation, Phoenix also wrote a new forward to the new book detailing why liberating abused animals is so important to him.


“Sometimes I’m asked why I go to slaughterhouse vigils or why I don’t buy wool or leather, and the answer is simple. I’ve seen the torture and killing that occurs when someone takes—steals—what rightly belongs to another living being. Strips what’s theirs right off their back or kills them so that parts of their body can be eaten or worn. I’ve seen what horror and fear animals in laboratories live in simply because they aren’t protected from human curiosity and there’s money in caging them to test things, like how they will react when frightened by a rubber snake or when their babies are torn away from them. Knowing all that, I have a moral obligation to act. And I know that’s how the heroes of this book, Free the Animals, felt, too.”

Free the Animals follows a rookie cop in Maryland whose “world is turned upside down” when she uncovers the various abuses of animals in laboratories. Joining “Valerie” in her crusade to save abused animals are others willing to risk their own freedom by doing whatever it takes to bring change, even it ends up with the once law-abiding police officer bending the law and living a life on the run.

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Joaquin Phoenix says that while the characters in Free the Animals break the laws to bring change, there are other ways to help save animals without the need to run afoul of the law. Ultimately, he hopes the story still leaves people wanting to get involved, even if they choose to do so through protesting, petitions, and other methods. And, above all else, treat all animals with kindness.

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