You may know him more from his role in the 1995 movie "Babe", but Oscar nominee James Cromwell, star of “L.A. Confidential” and “The Green Mile” has always been outspoken when it comes to addressing his concern about society and impact of environmental pollution on it, rather than about his own career. “I don’t like the system,” he says about Hollywood. “I don’t like what it does to people. I don’t like the values. I don’t like the class system. I don’t like the disparity in pay, for men and women, and men and men.” He adds: “I have a chip on my shoulder about Hollywood.”
Believe it or not, always active about social causes he was arrested many times, most recently in 2017 for activism against fracking. “Methane is 87 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2,” he says and explains how fracking is being introduced across the US by stealth. He is also aware that issues such as fracking are often ignored by people until they “affect your life, your air, your children, your water. Then they become really real.” He feels people must be aware of the danger, “Because there’s going to come a point when mother nature turns around and slaps us up the side of the head.”
Cromwell was best known for his role as Farmer Hoggett in the 1995 movie “Babe” that tells a tale of a piglet who is ambitious to become a sheepdog. The movie was made when he was 55 years old and it became an unexpected hit. The movie had such low expectations that Universal opted out to give it a Hollywood premiere and the reviewers were nearly forced to watch the movie for a review as a condition of watching “Apollo 13.”
It was in the farming sets of “Babe,” where Cromwell first started interacting with piglets and started thinking about animal rights. This incident not only led him to become a vegan, but also to take up the fight for animals. In more recent days, he narrated “Farm to Fridge,” a 2011 documentary about the horrors of slaughterhouses. He was arrested in 2013 for protesting against animal testing and again in 2015 during his sit-in protest at a natural gas-fired power plant and he spent three days in prison last year for refusing to pay a fine of $375 for the incident.
Shortly after the sentence was served, Cromwell was arrested again for disrupting an orca show at Sea World, as reported by The Guardian. Activism comes at a cost, but in Cromwell's view, it is a price worth paying in the long run.