China Diary

Day 190: Of Mice And Men

In China, I’ve eaten absolutely everything. Just day before yesterday, I had some lamb kidney, lamb tail and cow stomach. Yesterday, they brought me arterial meat of a beef, and I happily munched it (wasn’t my favorite, kinds chewy), but when I was offered a possibility to eat mice, I declined. It was introduced to me: “we could eat live mice”, but I think they meant “little” mice instead. Small detail, lost in translation. They showed me pictures, roasted little mice, but I respectfully declined. Why? I mean, there’s nothing different in eating a mouse than eating a chicken. Well, to me, there is.

There’s a line I draw between animals I’m willing to eat, and animals I’m not willing to eat. Anthony Bourdain had the same: he had some species of animals and some methods of preparation that he didn’t support, but mostly ate everything else.

Mine goes like this: if it feels like I’m betraying my fellow creature, I’m not going to eat it. If I wouldn’t like to kiss my wife with the mouth after eating the animal, I’m not going to eat it. If me eating it contributes to its’ extinction, I’m not going to eat it. And that’s all I can really say about my vague line in the sand on what’s edible and what’s not – because anything more wouldn’t really stand for closer look.

There is a huge difference in eating a dog or eating a pig. Dogs are animals that have gone through evolution alongside man, and they’ve ditched some survival instincts because they’ve grown to trust humans. Capturing them for food, I would consider it to be betrayal. Same goes with housecats, although I’m not sure if anyone really eats cats.

Mice, on the other hand, are cute little creatures. Also, a bit too ratty for my taste. I used to have some hamsters, which are practically mice, too, and eating them I couldn’t bear. I also used to have guinea pigs. Wouldn’t eat them. But rabbit I’ve eaten and enjoyed. So go figure…

Nevertheless. My line in the sand is: no dogs, no mice, no guinea pigs. No cats, no monkeys and no endangered animals. Not a very sustainable guideline, but that’s now I roll.

It’s been over a year since I started writing this blog. Exactly a year ago, we were just starting out the last storyboarding session for the film in Beijing. I was only beginning my huge six months stint in China, but already had been over two weeks away from home.

Today, a year later, we just finished screening the latest VFX shots of the movie, and listened through the first pass of music. Somewhere between these 365 days we managed to cast, shoot and edit the film, and now we are on the final stretch to get it ready. But to think  how far from this point we were 12 months ago, it feels like there could have easily passed at least twice or three times the time…

Nowadays sometimes I allow myself to think a little ahead of what’s coming up next year. Before, when everything was still much more uncertain, I declined to go thinking about the next year. Maybe it was superstition (I didn’t want to jinx it, or something), but mostly, it was because I didn’t want to start doing any planning until I actually knew more on what’s going to happen.

Now, I’m a bit wiser. I know for sure Iron Sky The Coming Race is coming out on January 16th. A film that has been seven years in the making. And I know for a fact we are going to release Iron Sky: The Ark next year as well. So, two films in one year. What this means is premieres, a lot of premieres. Promotion, a lot of that, too. And traveling… I’m already bracing for the flight miles I’m going to have to take to make it through next year. It’s probably going to be the only year I release two films in the same year, so I need to be prepared for it. If the release of the first Iron Sky is any kind of an indicator, it’s going to be busy, busy, busy like the Bokononians like to whisper.

PS. For some reason I don’t have a lot of photos of my current trip… So I’ll just throw in some old stuff instead. Since, actually, today one year ago was the day when I first met with Vivienne Tien, who I almost instantly casted to play the lead in Iron Sky: The Ark. This is her, from one year ago!



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