SWEET TOOTH Creatives Reveal Their Research Process Took Place At Robert Downey Jr’s Petting Zoo (Exclusive)

Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes) may have been the face of the MCU since its inception, but his most recent project as a producer is actually a DC Comics adaptation. Sweet Tooth, which launched on Netflix last week, is based on the 2009 comic book of the same name by Jeff Lemire.

The world of Sweet Tooth is inhabited with human/animal hybrids, which meant that a lot of research went into the animals featured in the series and the hybrids’ senses. To ensure that the creative team nailed the creatures’ mannerisms, RDJ brought them onto his own personal petting zoo and worked with them during the process.

We learned about the zoo and the care that went in to explaining the differences between certain animals when we spoke with the team behind Sweet Tooth, including writer Beth Schwartz, comic scribe Jeff Lemire, and director Jim Mickle.

We also had the opportunity to speak with Christian and Nonso (interviews can be found here and here), but this chat focuses on what writer Beth Schwartz says. In addition to digging into how the pandemic affected the production more than the story and the adaptation process, she brought up doing animal research at Team Downey’s zoo, and director Jim Mickle excitedly jumped in to provide more details.

The full transcript for the chat with Beth and Jim is included below, but you can also hear us speak with all five talents by scrolling down to the podcast players at the bottom.

Literary Joe: When you were researching the comic story beats, was there anything that you had trouble translating to the script for Netflix because it was a different medium?

Beth Schwartz: I don’t think so. I feel like we used the inspiration from the comic book, and obviously, the tone is different, but we were heavily inspired by all the characters that Jeff created, as well as the magical elements and the imagination that he uses through Gus’s dream sequences that we tried to bring to the screen. And a lot of other elements, I don’t think there was anything that we felt like we couldn’t do on-screen. We just brought some characters in earlier. We moved around some things to make it feel more organic to our story, but the comic book heavily inspires us.

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Literary Joe: Obviously, you did a lot of writing that involved many different kinds of animals. So I was curious about your research process into animals and how deep you delved into those when writing this.

Beth Schwartz: Well, I happen to own my own small little adorable dog who got to go to the writer’s room to meet Jim’s adorable dogs when we had an actual writer’s room when we weren’t in a zoom room, but we had a group of writers that helped in terms of researching different emotions, and we looked at different hybrids in terms of that’s what their superpowers were. And, you know, for instance, Gus’s super hearing and sense of smell. And that’s how we adapted that in terms of what could their animal instincts bring to their characters that people can’t do.

Jim Mickle: Also, the Downeys helped because they have a small petting zoo on their property. There were some animals where they were quick to point out, like, ‘no, actually the difference between an alpaca and a llama is… because we know, we have both. (Laughs)

Beth Schwartz: Yeah, that’s true! They have a lot of animals. (Laughs)

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Literary Joe: Since you brought that up, did you spend a lot of time at the zoo to help decide how you wanted to direct the animals on screen?

Jim Mickle: Yeah, because I hadn’t been to the zoo in a very long time. And then when you go to New Zealand because they didn’t have COVID the way that we did, you could actually do things like go to the zoo. And it was actually one of the first things that we did when we landed there. So after however many months of being here and not leaving the house and then suddenly going to a zoo or an amusement park or something. But yeah, I hadn’t been to a zoo in a long time, and I was struck by how much you forget about being a kid and seeing those animals. So yeah, part of it sucks because they’re cooped up, but there’s also something about being that close to some things that are really mindblowing, but it helped us all stay in the world of nature and love of nature and all that.

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Literary Joe: Did you have to change anything due to the pandemic, or do you feel like that helped make it easier for it to be translated onto the screen?

Beth Schwartz: Jim actually started developing it in 2016 with the Downeys, and I joined in 2019 after the pilot had already been shot but still pre-COVID. And when I joined the project, we had broken down the entire season and written a few of the episodes before the pandemic had hit. And so we really didn’t change too much; if anything, it gave us a shorthand with the audience, where we didn’t have to convince them too much about this really happening in terms of making it grounded. The biggest change was production. We had to move our production dates later, and we had to change certain scenes to use fewer extras. And in one of our episodes, the setting is on a train. We were originally going to have a passenger train with a ton of people inside, which quickly got turned into a train with cargo instead of people. And so that was probably the largest change, in terms of, it was more about production and not really story-wise.

To hear our full interviews with Sweet Tooth actors Nonso Anozie and Christian Convery and director Jim Mickle, writer Beth Schwartz, and comic book creator Jeff Lemire, click the podcast players below. And as always, be sure to share your thoughts in the usual spot!


This episode features the incredible behind-the-scenes talents that have brought Netflix’s latest DC Comics adaptation, Sweet Tooth, to life. We chat with Jim Mickle, who directed the upcoming series, Beth Schwartz, who wrote the Netflix show, and the creator and writer of the DC Comic series Sweet Tooth which the series of the same name is based upon. The team tells us about their research into animals, spending time with Robert Downey Jr. and Susan Downey at their personal petting zoo, and the process of adapting the pages to the screen.

What a wonderful and touching chat this is. Anyone who is interested in watching Netflix’s upcoming DC Comics adaptation Sweet Tooth when it launches on June 4th will want to hear what the stars have to say. We speak with the main actor, 11-year old Christian Convery, about his starring role as the titular character in Sweet Tooth and the research he did on deer to immerse himself in the scenes.

Nonso Anozie, best known for his Game of Thrones portrayal of Xaro Xhoan Daxos and his roles in Ender’s Game, Cinderella, and RocknRolla also took part, talking about doing his own stunts after six months of pandemic couch-surfing. We also dug into the charismatic relationship between the two actors’ characters and what they do behind the scenes to help build that comfortable comradery on screen in the series.

Sweet Tooth is currently streaming on Netflix.

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Fischer is swallowed – and survived – by humpback whale – SWR3

The story sounds incredible: A fisherman in the USA was swallowed by a humpback whale and spat out again a little later. Experts believe the report is credible.

He felt a violent jolt and then everything went black – it was the moment when Michael Packard from Provincetown, Massachusetts suddenly found himself in the mouth of the humpback whale. He was diving for lobsters about 13 meters deep when the whale swallowed him. At first he thought he was attacked by a shark. But there were no teeth, he didn’t have any severe pain. “That’s when I realized, oh my god, I’m in the mouth of a whale and he’s trying to swallow me“, Packard told the broadcaster CBSN Boston.

30 seconds of fear of death

Packard explains that he thought he was going to die. But the whale swam to the surface and spat it out again after 30 to 40 seconds. “I was thrown in the air and landed in the water.“He was saved without major injuries. “I have bruises all over the place but no broken bones“Packard continued. After a short stay in hospital, he was released. But he’s still limping a bit.

Young whale escapes after a rescue operation and has to be put down

Was Packard Really Swallowed By The Whale?

The story is hard to believe. But Packard has a witness: Josiah Mayo went out fishing and was on board the two of them. According to his own information, Mayo Packard helped out of the water and called the rescue workers.

Mayo is also the son of a researcher and expert on whales at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown. The research centre’s director of humpback whale studies, Jooke Robbins, joins him: “I know the people involved (…) so I have every reason to believe that what they are saying is true“She told the news agency AFP – even if she has never heard of such an accident before.

France instead of Alaska: gray whale turns wrong and lands in the Mediterranean

Can a humpback whale eat a human?

Anyone who is now afraid of being accidentally eaten by a humpback whale while diving is likely to worry for nothing. The whales are open-mouthed in search of food and swallow fish and water very quickly. “Their mouths are quite wide“, but “their throats quite tight“Says researcher Robbins. It is impossible for them to swallow something large like a man.

On Facebook, the researcher speaks of a rare accident and that swimmers, divers, kayakers and other boaters should keep their distance from the animals.

This morning the Center for Coastal Studies received word that a diver had been injured in an interaction with a…Posted by Center for Coastal Studies on Friday, June 11, 2021

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Drosten: Fur industry’s most plausible Corona source – Coronavirus –


Virologe Christian Drosten
©WHAT

The Berlin virologist Christian Drosten sees the path via the fur industry as the most plausible among the various hypotheses on the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

“I have no evidence for this, except for the clearly proven origin of SARS-1, and this is a virus of the same species. Viruses of the same species do the same things and often have the same origin,” Drosten told the Swiss online magazine “Republic”.

In 2002 and 2003, a wave of infections emanating from China resulted in around 800 deaths worldwide. The condition has been called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The pathogen SARS-CoV-2, which was detected for the first time at the end of 2019, is very closely related to the virus of the time.

Raccoon dogs and crawling cats

With the first SARS virus, the transitional hosts were raccoon dogs and crawling cats, said Drosten. “That is assured.” In China, raccoon dogs were still used extensively in the fur industry. Wild raccoon dogs that may have previously eaten bats – which are considered the most likely origin of SARS-CoV-2 – are repeatedly brought into the breeding farms. “Raccoon dogs and crawling cats are lively pulled over their ears,” explained the Charité virologist. They emit death screams and roar, and aerosols are created in the process. Humans can then become infected with the virus. “

For him it was surprising that this breeding would even be considered as a possible starting point for a pandemic – until recently he lived “in the naive idea” that crawling cats and raccoon dogs, as known potential transitional hosts, are now being controlled. “It was a closed story for me. I thought that this kind of pet trade had been stopped and that it would never come back. And now SARS has come back.”

No concrete information

There are no concrete indications that the transition to humans took place via fur farms – there are no studies in this area at all, at least none have become public. It is therefore completely unclear whether raccoon dogs in Chinese farms or other carnivores in such breeds – such as minks – carry SARS-CoV-2. “In 2003 and 2004 there were large studies that were done in China that showed SARS-1 to be linked to raccoon dogs and crawling cats.” This time – at least so far – that apparently did not happen.

It may not make sense to take a closer look: “Of course, you have to be clear: If you were to examine such stocks now, you might not find the virus that was there – possibly – a year and a half or two years ago. If was culled in between. Or if the virus has died in some other way. “

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This giant rat received a gold medal for saving lives

UNUSUAL – Magawa, a giant African rat, will take a well-deserved retirement after helping to save lives by detecting landmines in Cambodia. He was also decorated for his bravery, as you can see in the video at the top of the article.

“He is starting to get a little tired,” explained Michael Heiman, responsible for the Cambodia mine clearance program of the Belgian NGO Apopo. “The best is to retire him”. Magawa will thus be able to savor his favorite dishes, bananas and peanuts, as he pleases.

During his five-year career, Magawa has helped clear some 225,000 m2 of land, the equivalent of 42 football pitches, according to the NGO that trained him for a year in his home country, Tanzania. In total, the large rodent detected 71 mines and 38 unexploded ordnance.

The first rat

Last September, Magawa was awarded a gold medal by the British association for the protection of animals PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), which annually rewards an animal for its bravery. Magawa was the first rat to receive this award, considered the animal equivalent of the George Cross, the highest honor bestowed on civilians.

According to PDSA, between 4 and 6 million mines were laid in Cambodia from 1975 to 1998, killing more than 64,000.

Active in Asia and Africa, the Belgian NGO Apopo, which also trains rats to spot tuberculosis, relies on these animals with a particular talent for repetitive tasks when they are rewarded with their favorite dishes and whose small size protects them from explosions.

A tennis court in 30 minutes

For the detection of TNT contained by explosives, she teaches them to scratch on the ground in order to signal its presence to the humans who work with them.

This technique, which is not based on the presence of scrap metal, allows you to work much faster than with a metal detector. From the height of his 70 cm, Magawa can thus comb the equivalent of a tennis court in 30 minutes, a task that would take up to four days for a human equipped with a metal detector.

According to the NGO, a group of 20 new specially trained rats who have just arrived in Cambodia have received permission from the authorities to begin their mine detection work.

But it will take time for them to match Magawa, “a very exceptional rat”, assures Michael Heiman. “It is obvious that he will be missed during the operations”.

See also on The HuffPost: This Los Angeles resident stands in front of a bear to save her dogs

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♬ VİP FURKAN – vipFURKAN