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Roger Avary

1.What type of vegetarian are you?(vegan,lacto,lacto ovo,etc.)
If I have my terminology down, I'm an ovo (and occasional goat-lacto, though I'm trying to cut that out) vegetarian. Though, when I can I avoid eggs and dairy...but sometimes, especially when eating out, eggs and milk products just happen. I'm working on it.
2.Do you plan on going vegan?
I've gone vegan before (going as far as cutting out my leather jacket -- not easy in Hollywood!), but I admit that I probably did it too early, and didn't stick to it. I'll try again. It gives me something to strive toward.

3.At what age did you make the decision to go vegetarian?
I was 26.
4.What was your reason for going vegetarian?
My wife was a longtime vegetarian and wouldn't kiss me if I ate meat. Kissing her is vastly more important to me than eating the flesh of a dead animal, so I quickly became a vegetarian. We've been married now for eight years and I've been a vegetarian for all eight (though I faltered a few unfortunate times).
I should also mention that I had been incrementally adopting the lifestyle for many years before, beginning as a boy when I was living in Mexico. I heard what sounded like a child screaming for its life in the street, so I ran outside to help and it turned out to be the slaughter of a pig (via a machete to the groin). The street was awash in blood, and it was a gruesome sight that to this day effects me. I immediately gave up pork. By the time I had met my wife I had given up red meat. She nudged me into leaving fish and chicken behind. I imagine if more people visited slaughterhouses that more people would become vegetarians. Perhaps it should be required to take grade-schoolers to them on field trips.
When people ask me why I'm a vegetarian, the primary reason isn't just that my wife made me do it. The real reason is that animals feel and think, and it horrifies me to imagine eating something that's a product of pain and murder. It also doesn't make me happy that the environment can't possibly support the meat industry forever. The worlds resources are being wasted needlessly, and anyone who's tried to go vegetarian quickly discovers that eating meat is more of a bad habit than a necessity. I imagine a utopian future where the worlds resources are utilized to their maximum, and that doesn't include the murder of animals to feed an already fat nation.

5.What (if anything) do you find hard about being vegetarian
I find that most actors I work with, like Eric Stoltz, are longtime vegetarians. But I also work a lot with the French, and it's rare that you find a French actor who's also a vegetarian. Sometimes I'll be invited by a French actor for diner at a fancy Parisian eatery and all they're serving are hardcore meat dishes. For some reason I have a more difficult time fending off these situations in France than I do in the United States. French cooks don't appreciate my asking them if they use a meat-based stock in their soups. I invariably get a nasty look.
The only other thing I have trouble with is that I end up consuming much more carbs than I do proteins. As a writer I spend much of my time on my ass -- and you can imagine what that does to your figure. It's been a struggle to balance my diet/lifestyle to accommodate this imbalance.

6.Do you find that you feel better or worse since going vegetarian
I've fallen off the vegetarian wagon several times (usually in Paris), and I always find that when that happens I not only get terrible stomach cramps from digesting all that meat and dairy, but that it also makes me stink. So I'd have to say I feel lighter and happier when not eating meat.

7.What about animal rights do you have any thoughts on that?
I feel very strongly about animal rights. In fact, I was offered to write and direct "American Psycho" in the early days of my career. I started reading the book and when I got to a scene where the American Psycho cuts open a dog it crossed my line. Now, you may or may not know, my line is *very* difficult to cross. I have a high tolerance for filmic violence...which is not really the vegetarian way. But when I read that scene I put the book down and called the producers and said: "Not only am I not going to make this film, but I'm going to ask you not to make it."
I also lived in Belinda Carlisle's guest house in the South of France for almost a year, and much of her involvement in PETA rubbed off on me. Drew Barrymore is also a close friend, and as you probably know Drew is a hardcore supporter of animal rights. Both of these fabulous women have had a powerful impact on me...for the better.

8.Is anyone else in your family or circle of friends vegetarian?
My wife, as I mentioned before. I'm also raising both of my children as vegetarians. My daughter is an activist at 4!

9.What are some dumb things you hear from non-vegetarians?
"Not eating meat makes you look sickly".

10.Tell people where they may know you from.
I won an Academy Award for co-writing "Pulp Fiction" -- and I should mention that the whole "Royale with Cheese" gag in it was Quentin Tarantino's.

11.Do you have any new projects coming up in the future?
I'm directing a film called "Mexicali" this year with Bill Paxton, and I have a project I've written and am directing about Salvador Dali. I have to say that one of Dali's quirks was his love of eating snails and sea urchins. I've had many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to accomplish. I've also written a script that's being produced at Paramount called "2nds".

12.Do you plan on mentioning vegetarianism in any up coming projects?
In "Mexicali" the original writers made mention of tuna steaks. My first change in the script was to convert that to veggie skewers. In my script for "2nds", which concerns a 60 year old man who undergoes an operation to make him 25 again, I heavily discussed the need for him to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle in order to maintain his newfound youth. Hopefully this will undo some of the damage my previous films have wrought.

13. What are your feelings about the way food is portrayed in the media?
It's a direct reflection of the eating habits of the vast majority of the country. I'm as guilty as anyone in the media of not promoting the highest possible values. I'm trying to change that as much as I can.

14.Do you know any other famous vegetarians?
Eric Stoltz, who is a dear friend of mine, is a great vegetarian. Drew Barrymore is a vegetarian example for us all.

15.What are some of your favorite things to eat?
I love extra firm tofu. Raw or cooked. I think it's the utopian food of choice.

16.What would you like to tell fans of your work about going Vegetarian?
It's not difficult. It just requires a modest adjustment to your life habits. Take it a step at a time. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to make adjustments to your recipes.

17. Are people in the film industry more accepting or less than the average person?
Much more so among actors. Less so among those behind the camera.

18.Do you have any pets?
I have two fantastic cats: Marshall and Madison.

19.Have any last thoughts or words of wisdom?
Drinking cows milk is almost as bad as drinking Elmer's Glue. It's not normal. Go for Soy Milk -- it's much tastier.