For a special effects disaster movie costing in the neighborhood of $200 million, 2012 is surprisingly green, and as we reported last week, its producers won an EMA award for their eco-production efforts. We found out more at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “After making The Day After Tomorrow, I said to myself, ‘From now on my movies should have a green footprint,” vowed director-writer-producer Roland Emmerich, who drives a Prius and powers his home with solar energy.
His producing partner Michael Wimer explained exactly what was done. “We bought carbon offsets, we used biofuel for all of our generators, we recycled our sets and what we couldn’t recycle we donated to Habitat for Humanity. It was important to us,” said Wimer, figuring these things may have saved half a percent of the cost of the movie, but that wasn’t the point — they wanted to prove that carbon neutrality was possible and not contribute to the destruction of the planet, off screen at least. Reiterating what he said at the EMAs, “You don’t inherit the Earth from your parents, you borrow it from your children,” reminded Wimer, who ‘s driven an electric Rav-4 for seven years. “Changes are happening to the planet, and you either take responsibility or you don’t.”
2012 star John Cusack told us he recycles and tries to conserve energy at home, and though he’d like to, “I haven’t been able to get off the grid yet,” he said. Making the movie required a different kind of energy, as it was physically taxing — Cusack was often cold and wet. “I got injured a few times,” he noted. “But it was more a matter of keeping my body warm for 12 hours a day.”
American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert (right), who sings the movie’s theme “Time For Miracles” (also a bonus track on his debut CD For Your Entertainment, due out Nov. 23), confided that he isn’t living green at home “because I’m hardly ever home.” Indeed, Lambert will be traveling for promo appearances and is planning a concert tour. After performing his CD’s title track on the American Music Awards Nov. 22, he’ll appear on Good Morning America and Late Show with David Letterman. He doesn’t believe in the 2012 doomsday prophecy. “I don’t think the world is going to end. I think it’s a symbol of the end of one time and the beginning of another, a change of consciousness and the beginning of a new way of thinking.” For his part, he said, “ I’m just trying to be positive and spread love and happiness.”
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Tiffani Thiessen has been renovating her Los Angeles home to be more eco-friendly, with “everything from organic fabrics to recycled furniture to using eco-friendly paints. We don’t have solar yet, but we’re redoing our landscaping to conserve water. We got smart timers that are on a GPS system that tell us what areas need water and we have things that catch the rainwater and we use it to water our plants,” says the White Collar actress. While she’s not a mom yet, “I want my kids to have a wonderful, beautiful place to live. We put too much stress on our environment.”
Lately, Thiessen has been commuting to New York for her Friday night USA series, in which she plays Elizabeth, the wife of FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). “This is the role that's the closet to me in real life that I've ever done,” says Thiessen, best known for Saved By the Bell and Beverly Hills 90210. “I like that I’m playing a married woman who’s my age and successful and smart, all the things that I want to be,” she says.
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“I recycle, I try to turn off lights as much as possible, I try not to leave the water running,” says Sarah Hyland (left) who plays sulky teenager Haley on the hit ABC comedy Modern Family. Her concern for the environment is just one of the ways the actress, who turns 19 on Nov. 24, is more mature than her character. “She cares about looks and materialistic things. I’m not really high maintenance. The only thing we have in common is I constantly have my phone in my hand,” compares Hyland, a native New Yorker who moved west after the cancellation of Lipstick Jungle (she played Brooke Shields’ daughter), booked Modern Family within three weeks, got her driver’s license, and lined up a car and apartment. “It’s so different here, but I love it,” she says.
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NCIS: Los Angeles is the highest-rated new drama of the season. It’s also an eco-friendly work environment. The stage housing its headquarters “has been totally renovated. We’re the first production here, so it’s as green as it possibly can be,” says producer Shane Brennan, who also bought biodegradable reusable plastic bottles for the cast and crew. “We’ve got water coolers so they can fill up. Everyone has embraced it. And we’ve had a financial savings, something like $1,000 an episode. It’s a small thing, but it’s a start.”
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Shooting the syndicated fantasy series Legend of the Seeker in New Zealand makes it easy to be green, says star Bridget Regan. “You get great local produce and dairy,” she explains. Co-star Craig Horner does something one can do anywhere, however: “I’m a water conservationist,” he says. “I have two-minute showers. And I haven’t flushed the toilet in a week!” The pair returns in the series’ second season on Nov.7.
Additional photo credits: Adam Lambert by Gerri Miller; Sarah Hyland by Bob D'Amico/ABC