Green cred: Paul Haggis’s home is fully solar powered and his family owns three Prius cars. “Our ‘gas guzzler’ is a Mini Cooper,” says Haggis, who has given his time to environmental organizations since the 1980s, first with ECO and then, when it folded, he became a part of the Environmental Media Assn.’s working board.
Focus: Global warming. “I always hoped to leave this world to my kids not much worse, or perhaps even a little better, than when I found it. Now, the hard truth is that unless we take radical action immediately, there may not be much of a world to pass onto them at all. That isn’t some scare tactic by the lunatic fringe, that is mainstream scientific thinking — and most of us just have our heads in the sand.”
Latest battle: “Luan,” says Haggis. “It’s a rain forest wood from a once huge, irreplaceable forest that is being ravaged by clear-cutting, and it is what we build all our sets of in Hollywood. I tried to ban its use on my new film (‘In the Valley of Elah’) and met tremendous resistance, even from environmentally conscious people.
The problem is, there is no easy and cheap replacement for luan. However, I made the edict and told them that whatever the additional cost of the alternative, I would find the money by cutting something else out of the budget.
After a lot of research, they came back with birch plywood, which costs $2 a square foot more. I said, ‘Fine.’ They said, ‘There is a hitch. The core and backing of the plywood are made of luan.'”
The helmer is still looking for a solution, but must start shooting in December. “A few years ago there was an environmentally sound and cheap alternative called studio board. Nobody bought it, and the company went out of business.”
Eco mantra: “Don’t preach. If you insist on having a cause, lead by example.”