Fans of Pirates of the Caribbean will be familiar with Jack the monkey. The little undead capuchin monkey is the constant companion to Captain Barbossa and has held a presence in each of the films in the series. In addition to CGI, a real monkey actor is used on set for filming, and a recent report about the monkey's treatment during Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has landed Disney and the production into some hot water. Apparently, the monkey was frequently sick, and PETA has issued a statement once again asking to leave animals out of the entertainment industry.
The monkey actor used in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was reportedly sick several times during. According to The Sun, actress Kaya Scodelario (who plays Carina Smythe in the film) said that the monkey was the "most memorable" member of the cast because he "threw up all the time." Scodelario further says that he would "projectile vomit" in the middle of scenes due to his tiny stomach and filming on a boat, which she thought was "hilarious." Her comment has since garnered Scodelario plenty of criticism from animal rights activists, but it has also gotten the attention of PETA.
Animal rights organization PETA was less than enthused to hear that the monkey was potentially sick, and issued a statement to producer Jerry Bruckheimer to stop using real animals in his movies. In a letter they sent to Bruckheimer, PETA wrote that CGI and modern technology can be used instead of actual animals, which they believe are never treated well on set. Capuchin monkeys, in particular, require "complex physical and psychological needs" which usually can't be met on a film set.
PETA previously wrote Jerry Bruckheimer in 2015 when a monkey bit a makeup artist on a separate Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and urged him to cease using animals. The organization pointed out that Joe Suffredini of Avian Entertainment -- who provided the monkeys for the film -- frequently violated the federal Animal Welfare Act, which has basic guidelines for how animals need to be treated in the entertainment business.
Disney has yet to issue a response to these claims that the monkey was sick, and how it was taking care of on set. Certain information thus remains unclear, but Disney's team will likely share their side of the story soon.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales released in theaters last weekend. It received middling reviews and had the second lowest domestic debut of the series, though, the film is doing better overseas. The film finds Jack Sparrow on a quest for the Trident of Poseidon while being pursued by the ghost pirate Salazar, who seeks revenge on Jack for an earlier transgression.
The situation over the capuchin monkey is likely to receive further updates, so stay with CinemaBlend and we'll keep you updated with new information as soon as it becomes available.