If you’ve ever looked at the IMDb of Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller, you will know that it features an eclectic – some might say chaotic – list of films. There are two Susan Sarandon movies aimed at grown ups, four Mad Max movies, and then – the kids movies Happy Feet and Babe: Pig in the City.
As well as directing the Babe sequel, Miller also co-wrote the screenplay to the first Babe, which was released in 1995. The film required an 18 month production schedule, not least because nearly fifty pigs had to be ‘produced’ to star in the film.
According to an Entertainment Weekly article from 1995, “Because pigs are bred to grow very large very rapidly, the production team could use each Large White Yorkshire (a pure-breed was necessary because its physical attributes could be predicted) only during a three-week window for actual shooting. So every three weeks, 6 pigs were bred — resulting in 48 pigs, 46 of which saw at least a few seconds of screen time. All of them had to be rigorously indoctrinated by animal trainer Karl Lewis Miller (no relation) during the five-month shoot.”
The movie was populated entirely by young ladies (some things in Hollywood never change); “Although the movie keeps Babe’s gender deliberately unspecified, because of all the ground-level, from-behind shooting that needed to be done, only female pigs were used. (The private parts of the male pigs proved to be a little too, well, visible.) Pigs were filmed when they were between 16 and 18 weeks of age and 18 inches tall.”
Miller’s filmography is only going to get even more chaotic with the release of Three Thousand Years of Longing, in which Idris Elba plays a genie and Tilda Swinton is the one granted three wishes.
If you’re a fan of Babe, check out our guide to the best family movies.