Heal the Bay honored Jeremy Irons at their 2013 Bring Back the Beach gala, for his contribution to the short film The Majestic Plastic Bag.
Heal the Bay honored Jeremy Irons at their 2013 Bring Back the Beach gala, for his contribution to the short film The Majestic Plastic Bag.
Jeremy Irons talks trash
In the 1995 movie “Die Hard: With a Vengeance,” Jeremy Irons was pure evil as an urbane and elegant bad guy.
As Simon Gruber, he terrorized pre-9/11 New York City, practically in the shadow of the still-intact World Trade Center towers.
Scary stuff . . . but it’s nothing compared to Jeremy Irons’ latest film.
In the new documentary “Trashed,” Irons shows us the terrifying possibility of a future world buried in its own garbage.
“After doing the documentary, how conscious are you, when you walk down the street, of trash?” asked Smith.
“Well, I mean, this part of New York is wonderful, there’s no trash in sight,” Irons said. “And I think it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind.”
“We throw it away and it’s gone?”
“That’s right. It’s clean, it’s lovely, it’s not something we have to worry about. But where does it go?”
Where, indeed? In Indonesia, garbage goes in the nearest river, and eventually out to sea. Worldwide, according to the film, Americans could recycle 90 percent of the waste we generate, but right now we only recycle a third of that — and some of our trash eventually finds its way back into us — such as plastics leeching into our food supply.
It’s weird to see an Oscar-winning actor rooting through trash cans in New York City’s nicest neighborhood, but for Irons, garbage has become, well, personal.
He pulled out one object: “Now this is recyclable, this is great, but it’s half full, so it’s wasted food. Coconut water: Fantastic for you, 100% pure, and it’s thrown away half-full. We waste a huge amount of the food we buy.”
“You have no hesitation to just pick through the trash, Jeremy?” Smith asked.
“No, it’s rubbish. That’s all it is. It’s just dirt. A bit of dirt before you die is good.”
“Celebrities get asked to be involved in a lot of different causes; what was it about trash that made you say, ‘I have to do something’?” asked Smith.
“I wanted to make a documentary about something which I thought was important and which was curable,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. It takes a little effort, it takes a little thought. It takes a little education. I think most people want to do what is right. But they need a bit of organization.
“We make everybody wear seatbelts now. That was a bore, wasn’t it? But we do it, and we don’t think about it anymore. Very simple to do the same with how we deal with our garbage.”
It might not be easy to picture Jeremy Irons as a garbage activist: From his breakout role in 1981’s “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” he has been in more than 40 movies, at least as many plays, and has won just about every acting award there is.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he said.
“You have a slew of awards that would say you got some talent,” Smith suggested.
“Yeah, if awards mean that. Yeah. Yeah.”
“You don’t think they mean much?”
“I do. I do. And I really don’t want to denigrate them. I think awards are fantastic. I don’t let them go to my head. I always, when I start a new piece of work, I still feel like a plumber, but I don’t know how to do it. I just sort of feel out of my depths — I’m not very good at plumbing!”
Well, he’s good at something. Born in England in 1948, Jeremy John Irons trained as a stage actor before breaking into film.
He’s been married to actress Sinead Cusack since 1978, with whom he has two sons. But on-screen he hasn’t always been such a devoted husband.
In 1990’s “Reversal of Fortune,” Irons was cast as socialite Claus von Bulow, accused of trying to kill his rich wife by giving her an overdose of insulin.
“Did you love getting in Claus von Bulow’s head?” Smith asked.
“I was slightly embarrassed,” Irons said, “and in fact fought off playing him for a while, because he was alive and I thought there was something tasteless about pretending to be someone who was still alive. And so I fought against it. Finally it was Glenn Close who persuaded me. She said, ‘If you don’t play him someone else will play him. You know, come on. Have a crack at it. It’s interesting.'”
Glenn Close was right: the performance earned him the Oscar for Best Actor.
Irons’ Claus von Bulow is a saint compared with his current role in the Showtime series, “The Borgias.” Irons is Pope Alexander VI, a man of many passions.
Off-screen, you might say Irons has become the unofficial pope of recycling — and, in what may be his most important role yet, an elegant and refined voice of caution.
Are we doomed?, Smith asked “I don’t believe we’re doomed because I believe that human nature is extraordinary,” Irons said. ” I think we will be brought to our senses eventually. I think things may have to get worse. I think, I hope we will be brought to our senses. We’re on a highway to a very expensive and unhealthy future if we do nothing.”
“And gloomy future,” Smith added.
“Well, the sun will still shine,” Irons replied.
Brussels, Belgium. 7th March 2013 — British actor Jeremy Irons participated in a talk about plastic waste at the EU Commission. Jeremy was invited by EU Commissioner Januz Potonik to talk about plastic waste in the world. He added his voice to an EU campaign to ban non-recylable plastics, including plastic bags.
From The New Age
British actor Jeremy Irons brought a rare touch of glamour to the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday to talk about an issue close to his heart: Trash disposal.
“I refuse to call it waste. ‘Waste’ is a verb, it is what we do. We are wasting our resources,” he said.
His appearance at the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, was in support of a drive to find ways of reducing the mountains of plastic rubbish generated annually, much of which ends up in the world’s oceans.
“What I’ve tried to do is glamourize trash,” Irons said, conceding that it was not an issue that won many votes.
Irons dismissed the tendency to shelve recycling as a matter to be dealt with after resolving more pressing issues, such as the economic crisis.
He said it didn’t take much effort for people to separate their rubbish, adding, “It doesn’t cost me anything to put out my separate bins and I get rather a pleasure out of it.”
The actor said: “We can make money out of recycling,” adding that it also generated jobs.
He referred to the 12 million euros (15.6 million dollars) that Ireland had made by introducing a 15-cent charge on plastic bags, which he said had also reduced the use of new bags by 92 per cent.
Irons said that by contrast his country, Britain, was doing “spectacularly little” on recycling, failing for example to tax plastic bags – “a symbol of waste.”
He said disorganization and vested interests – specifically those of the companies earning money off rubbish disposal and incineration – stood in the way of progress towards better trash management.
Ultimately, however, Irons said it was up to individuals to bring about change – by refusing to buy plastic water bottles, reusing and repairing old goods or by composting, as he did.
“I’m just a bloke,” the actor said. “There are a lot of blokes and women around in the world,” adding that it was their behaviour that would help bring about change.
“Politicians will therefore, in their normal fashion, be able to follow the current mood,” he added.
Last year, Irons produced and featured in a documentary film, Trashed, highlighting the issue of rubbish disposal and the need for more recycling.
Getting Trashed with Jeremy Irons – from the Wall Street Journal
Jeremy Irons Voices the Fight Against Plastic Pollution
On May 16, Heal the Bay honors three supporters who’ve lent their formidable voices to protecting the ocean from plastic pollution at our annual benefit gala Bring Back the Beach.
In 2010, Oscar-winner Jeremy Irons narrated our mockumentary “The Majestic Plastic Bag”, lending gravitas to the story of a single-use plastic bag as it migrates to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The film screened at the Sundance film festival and remains popular on the film festival circuit. To date, The Majestic Plastic Bag has been viewed more than 1.8 million times on Heal the Bay’s YouTube channel.
We honor Jeremy Irons, not merely for sharing his rich, haunting voice with us, but for his ongoing work to stop the proliferation of trash. In his new feature documentary “Trashed: No Place for Waste,” Irons takes a different journey, this one following the migration of rubbish, the tons of waste that goes unaccounted for each year. Irons serves as the film’s chief investigator as well as the executive producer.
Heal the Bay will also honor our longtime champion Mark Gold for his years of laser-like focus and tireless advocacy in support of clean water. Mark was Heal the Bay’s first employee and served with our organization for 25 years, leading and inspiring our work as our executive director and president. He continues to support us as a researcher, fundraiser and board member. We can count on Mark as a sounding board, resource and guiding force as we tackle future attacks on clean water.
Philanthropist Dr. Howard Murad will be honored on May 16 for raising awareness for environmental issues and causes. Employees from Dr. Murad’s skincare company Murad, Inc. have joined us on numerous beach cleanups, as well as solidly supporting our efforts in curtailing marine debris.
You’re invited to join our celebration of these eco warriors on May 16, 2013 at the Jonathan Beach Club.
Pre-order your copy from Amazon.co.uk
Actors: Jeremy Irons
Directors: Candida Brady
Format: PAL, Widescreen
Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe)
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Blenheim Films
DVD Release Date: 22 April 2013
Run Time: 97 minutes
TRASHED– 5 stars – New York Daily News – Jeremy Irons takes us through a tour of the world s grotesque garbage consumption and failure to dispose of its trash, which inspires horrified reactions from both him and us. This is appalling , our Oscar-winning guide says, sitting on a debris-strewn beach in Lebanon. Seem bleak? It s supposed to, as director Candida Brady uses a thriller-ish tone to show the state of the planet. And if facts about 150 years of plastics, dioxins and dangerous castoffs don t jolt you, a visit to a hospital for malformed children will. Yet for all the poisonous truths in Trashed, there are also solid grass-roots solutions that, as presented, feel do-able and politically digestible. That helps, because everything Irons finds puts you off food. Crucial viewing for realists and alarmists both. —http://www.laweekly.com/movies/trashed-1494726/
This is appalling, says the actor Jeremy Irons, surveying a reeking mountain of consumer waste fouling a once glorious beach in Lebanon. That spoiled shoreline is only one of many revolting sights in Trashed, Candida Brady s down-and-dirty documentary about our inability to neutralize safely much of what we throw away. Taking us on a global tour of escalating rubbish and toxic disposal options, Ms. Brady rubs our faces in the poisonous consequences of littering the planet with substances that, like bedbugs and French mimes, are almost impossible to get rid of. But if we must talk trash, Mr. Irons assisted by a scientist or two and Vangelis’s doomy score is an inspired choice of guide. Soothing and sensitive, his liquid gaze alighting on oozing landfills and belching incinerators, he moves through the film with a tragic dignity that belies his whimsical neckwear and jaunty hats. Every sterile whale and plastic-choked turtle is a dagger in his heart (and will be in yours too), to say nothing of the farmers ruined by chemically contaminated livestock. By the time Mr. Irons visits a Vietnamese hospital for children with severe birth defects the legacy of Agent Orange that plastic water bottle in your hand will feel as dangerous as a Molotov cocktail. –www.nytimes.com
The world is in a heap of trouble — make that heaps: giant, toxic mountains of garbage that endanger our oceans, marine life, the atmosphere and humanity in general — without an end in sight. That is, unless citizens, industry and governments get deadly serious about such solutions as mass recycling, composting, plastics reduction and more. Such is the global crisis that’s vividly, relentlessly detailed in the vital documentary starring dulcet-voiced zero waste advocate, actor Jeremy Irons. Guided by writer-director Candida Brady, Irons (genial, studious) travels the globe visiting some of the most egregious, noxious examples of trash disposal and waste mismanagement; vast, open-air garbage dumps in Lebanon and Indonesia that infect its waterways and coastlines are particularly horrendous. It’s not a pretty picture, to say the least, with a stop in Vietnam to examine birth defects linked to wartime Agent Orange spraying proving a deeply grim offshoot of the film’s central thrust. Then there’s the garbage calamity’s most insidious culprit: non-recycled, non-biodegradable plastic. The movie, as have other eco-documentaries, chillingly examines how endless bits of the toxic material routinely flood our oceans, harm its inhabitants and find their way into the fish we eat. Scientists, doctors and academics weigh in as well, though flipside input from corporate interests and government policymakers would have added welcome dimension to this crucial discussion. —www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-trashed-capsule-20121214,0,7515915.story
Q. and A.: Jeremy Irons and ‘Trashed’
By JOANNA M. FOSTER
Read the original post HERE.
A new documentary about the ultimate fate of just about everything we lug home from the mall opens on Friday in limited release in the United States. “Trashed,” directed by Candida Brady and starring Jeremy Irons, delves into the less festive side of consumerism and waste disposal — overflowing landfills in England, a toxic trash incinerator in Iceland, a hospital for children with birth defects in Vietnam.
We sat down recently with Mr. Irons to talk trash. Following are excerpts, edited for brevity and clarity.
Q. “Trashed” opens with a powerful image from Lebanon of a mountain of trash stacked high next to the ocean. Can you describe what it was like sitting on that trash mountain?
A. It was appalling. I’ve never been so grateful to leave the “set” of a film. It is certainly something to look at, but what people who see the film don’t experience is the smell of dead animals and wafting chemicals that make you gag. There are flies and fleas everywhere, stray dogs tripping over rubbish and yapping furiously at the scavenging birds circling overhead.
What really made my stomach turn was watching the steady stream of evil-looking runoff oozing from the bottom of the mountain of garbage straight into the sea. It looks and smells like poison, and there are still fishermen out there, although far fewer than there used to be.
What fish they do catch certainly aren’t eating what you or I would care to eat. It was all just horrific, but what’s happening there is what happens if you do nothing, and it’s an illustration of what we are all doing only they haven’t bothered to hide it.
Q. Has making “Trashed” led you to change any of your personal habits?
A.Yes. And I don’t consider myself an environmentalist or activist — I’m hardly an expert on green living. But what I’ve started doing since making the film is that I take packaging off at the point of purchase.
I consider myself quite capable of getting my tomatoes home safely without sitting on them, so why must they come packaged in plastic armor? And I think I can even get a pair of scissors home without chopping off my hand so I really don’t need that damned impenetrable plastic shell.
So I take it off and leave it on the counter and ask the person who sold it to me to deal with it themselves, because I didn’t want it in the first place. That way we push it back toward the manufacturers because the supermarkets will say: “Look, we can’t deal with all of this. Can you please provide less or take it back and reuse it?”
Q.How do you think waste compares with climate change as an issue? Shouldn’t trash be an even more obvious problem that no one can dispute?
A.It seems pretty obvious when you see a landfill or a the insides of a seabird bursting with plastic fragments. But so much of that is so removed from our everyday lives that it’s a bit like climate change and Bangladesh — out of sight, out of mind.
And just like there are those who dispute the scientific evidence behind climate change, there are those who argue there is no connection between environmental toxins and health. In the documentary we talk to villagers in France living near an incinerator who saw cancer rates spike in their community. They took the government to court over it and were told that there was no proof of any connection. Just like some of the effects of climate change, some of these health effects are still down the pipeline.
Finally, there’s also a lot of money in trash, as there is in the fossil fuel industry. In places like New York, it’s not just a lack of organization that results in so little being recycled, it’s also that there is a huge amount of money in trash disposal. The people who are getting rid of our waste at the moment have a fine industry and have no incentive to change that.
Q.What practical steps would you recommend to anyone who sees “Trashed” and wants to do something?
A.Find out in an intelligent way what happens to the waste that leaves your home, and decide whether this is something you approve of. You might be surprised to learn that, especially around New York, much of it is incinerated in areas with poor, disadvantaged communities. Are you O.K. with the poor getting your toxic ash?
If you’re not, become a little motivated and write to your Congressman to ask if they think this is acceptable.
I also would like to encourage people to actually buy something. If you don’t have a reusable shopping bag, please get one and get a second for a friend or family member. There are kinds that fold up as small as a Ping Pong ball and you can keep it in your purse or briefcase and never have to take a pointless plastic bag home again.
And although you might get a few dirty looks, see what happens if you start taking the packaging off at the point of purchase. Retailers are very sensitive to their customers — you have the power to let them know what you do and don’t like, and they will listen.
Q.What was the most surprising thing you learned while making the documentary?
A.I didn’t realize that all this nondegradable rubbish and consumerism is in large part thanks to World War II and the massive war production apparatus that needed to be developed for peaceful purposes after the days of making weapons had ended. I was born in 1948, so it’s really only in my lifetime that this throwaway society has emerged.
I do remember a time before plastic bags when there was just a lot less of everything. I’m still a bit shocked when I walk down Main Street and see all this stuff in the windows. Who buys it all? How could you ever find the time to wear or use it all?
Maybe I’m just getting old, and I know that buying things doesn’t make you happy. But I feel like there’s a new social mood, maybe because of the economic crisis, more of us are reflecting on what we really need and what we can do without.
Q.The Christmas shopping season is in full swing. What would you like to say to people as they head out to the mall or load up their Amazon shopping cart?
A.Don’t buy people something they don’t need, let alone don’t want. Send them a kind message. I know we’re all supposed to keep on buying to get the economy going, but most of us don’t need very much — and in my opinion there is nothing like a lovely pair of warm socks or a good bar of soap.