June 4, 2014
the June issue of Marin magazine, Peter discusses
his work with Project Coyote, which promotes
coexistence between people and wildlife through
education, science and advocacy. He was asked when
he decided to become an advocate for animals. He
I grew up in the country and got
a gun when I was 10 years old. I loved hanging out
with our family’s ranch manager, Jim; he was an
ex–game warden with a passion for nature, and he was
my hero. He had protected the egrets in Florida from
milliners from New York hunting their feathers. He
took me hunting, taught me how to remove the human
scent from traps by boiling them in maple bark,
taught me how to set them.
One day we were walking in the
woods and we approached one of the traps we’d set. I
was so excited. I thought, I get to see a wild
animal up close. It was a weasel. It just sat up and
looked and me. It was injured, trapped by its hind
leg. I heard it, inside my mind, say, “What are you
going to do to me?” and I was so startled, I looked
at Jim thinking he heard it too. But he killed it.
The next day we caught a raven and it said the same
thing. I said, “Let’s not kill it, Jim. Let’s let it
go,” but it was wounded and he killed it. It’s one
of the reasons I always feed ravens today. It was
indisputable to me in that moment that they were,
like me, alive. I wish I could say I stopped hunting
at that point. I didn’t, but that experience planted
a seed that I couldn’t ignore.
If you grow up on a farm your
relationship to life and death is always bittersweet
— you feed your chickens and then you are eating
them, or you feed your pigs and then you eat them.
That bittersweet ambivalence has been with humans
for centuries. It’s why we have ceremonies, like
saying grace over our food. It’s a recognition that
life is complex.
What is his message to adults who feel they have grown
out of their animal-loving phase?
of people have pets and pets are usually the objects
of their uncritical affection. There is another side
to pets that we sort of forget, which is, if you
live with a dog or a cat, in short order you learn
clearly that you can communicate with them. You know
their moods and realize without a doubt that they
are sentient beings, with their own purpose for
being alive, not yours. People will talk about them
like they are members of their family: “So-and-so is
cranky today, or tired.” This relationship is
common, but it is the tip of the iceberg in the
experience of relating to another species. If you
stop to think about your pets, they are like a
challenged child compared to the intelligence and
emotional potential of a wild animal.
Key things to think about
Coyotes are the Jews of the
animal world. Since the 1920s they have been gassed,
snared, poisoned and hunted from planes with the aim
of eliminating the species. But they have survived
and flourished. All these efforts have managed to
accomplish is to spread coyote populations from
their original territory in the West and Midwest to
all over the country. We live in a county that is
over half open space. It is their territory where
they feed, where they get water. If I don’t make
some exception for them, if I don’t open my life for
them in some way, I am obliterating their
environment and I am actually expressing selfishness
no matter how “green” I may advertise myself to be.
reported back in February, Peter will be appearing in
the TNT crime drama series, PERCEPTION, which
begins its third season on June 17th. The two
on-location photos show Peter with his co-stars, Eric
McCormack, Arjay Smith and Levar Burton. The second
photo shows him with guest stars Edward Hermann and
JoBeth Williams. Peter will play James Alan Pierce,
Daniel's (McCormack's) father.
COMFORT, will be released on Blu-ray on July 8th.
The 1981 film may be one of the most underrated of
thrillers and ranks among one of my all-time favorites.
Starring Keith Carradine, Powers Boothe, Fred Ward and
Peter, the story follows a deeply unsettling and
murderous game of cat and mouse between some indigenous
Cajun settlers and a small unit of National Guard, who
have foolishly taken their canoes to cross the Louisana
bayou while on maneuvers. Squeamishly tense and
undeniably menacing, this film masterfully leaves the
audience on edge from start to finish. Its atmospheric
setting is further enhanced by the emotive score by Ry
Cooder. Interestingly, the film, set in 1973, has often
been described as an allegory for the Vietnam war;
however, the director Walter Hill has explicitly stated
that his film was not meant to be read in context of the
war. It has often been compared to "Deliverance" since
both are about survival in remote parts of the US. If
you haven't seen it, be sure to check out this gem!
The last photo below shows director Walter Hill with
cinematographer Andrew Laszlo and their crew.
has announced that it has cancelled
INTELLIGENCE after one season of 13
episodes. Cast members include Josh Holloway, Marg
Helgenberger, Meghan Ory, Michael Rady, John
Billingsley, P.J. Byrne, Tomas Arana, Lance Reddick and,
of course, Peter. The network was hoping for the the
series to be a ratings hit to fill their Mondays at the
10 pm time slot. Despite some impressive star talent and
special effects, the show failed to draw enough viewers.
The final episode aired on March 31st. You can view a
video of a scene with him and Marg Helgenberger
at this link.