Most Americans have a few cats or dogs to keep as pets, and maybe a goldfish, but never lions and tigers. Still, with the popularity of Tiger King, the public has been intrigued by people who live with exotic animals and, as it turns out, Hollywood icon Tippi Hedren is one of those people.
Tippi Hedren, famed for her work in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and the totally bonkers movie Roar, has been adopting and keeping lions and tigers since the early '80s. Now, her granddaughter Dakota Johnson says Hedren still lives with lions and tigers, though she doesn't possess quite as many as she did back in the day:
Yeah, she has 13 or 14 lions and tigers. There used to be like 60 cats, and now, there’s just a couple.
Tippi Hedren and her then husband Noel Marshall started collecting big cats for Roar. The production involved 70 members of the cast and crew being around untrained wild animals while they were filming and, of course, resulted in several severe injuries. Yet despite all that, Tippi Hedren still keeps the animals around. While on The Graham Norton Show, Dakota Johnson also pointed out that there weren't as many big cats around when she was growing up, as most had been relocated to compounds:
By the time I was born, they were all in huge compounds, and it was a lot safer. And it wasn’t as totally psycho as it was when they first started.
Dakota Johnson’s mother, Melanie Griffith, had a starring role in Roar. Sadly, like many of the other cast and crew members, Griffith was attacked and needed to have facial reconstructive surgery. Tippi Hedren didn’t leave the production unscathed, either, suffering a broken leg. Jan Du Bont, the director of Speed, served as the film's cinematographer and was scalped by a lion.
Yet, despite the risks the cast and crew took to make Roar, it only took in $2 million dollars on a budget of $17 million.
Roar, of course, isn’t the only film that Tippi Hedren has worked on that involved nature at the center of the story. As previously mentioned, she first starred in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, a film that saw her protagonist face off with some rogue birds in a small town.
Dakota Johnson definitely has an interesting family and, believe it or not, her grandmother's love of big cats is only the tip of the iceberg. Still, it's good to hear there weren't too many large felines around when Johnson was born. Having lions and tigers around a small child may not have been the best idea. Fans of Dakota Johnson can check out her latest film, The High Note, which will be released on VOD on May 29.