Moviemaker Darren Aronofsky refused to use real animals while making new film Noah after working with primates on 2006's The Fountain.
The director admits he was "alarmed" by the conditions the apes hired for the movie lived in, and vowed to use computer technology to recreate creatures in the future.
And so when he had to film Noah's menagerie for the Biblical epic, he promised his leading man Russell Crowe he wouldn't be sharing the screen with giraffes.
In a new video for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), Aronofsky says, "When you're doing Noah's ark, of course you're going to be dealing with animals - that's the whole story. Immediately, it would be very questionable to start taking sentient creatures and sticking them on a set... It's kind of against the actual themes of the film.
"It's undoubtedly a more realistic, truthful film... because we were able to create our own animal kingdom."
And recalling his experience with live animals on The Fountain, he adds, "I was pretty alarmed with the condition that they were being kept in."
Aronofsky insists it no longer makes financial sense to use real animals in a blockbuster: "You're gonna spend a lot more time on set dealing with a live animal. There's really no reason to do it anymore because the technology has arrived... You can pretty much bring anything to life."
The director's decision has already earned him the inaugural Humane Filmmaker Award from activists at the Humane Society of the United States (Hsus), who have officially given their support to the Noah movie.