“Of course I have a stuffed raccoon — who doesn’t?” Les Misérables star Amanda Seyfried mused in a 2015 ES magazine interview. Perhaps no actor loves dead animals more than Seyfried, who has collected a small museum’s worth of taxidermy.
“I have a miniature zebra [Ted 2 director] Seth MacFarlane bought me, and a baby horse, but that’s the biggest I’ll go to. They’re twice the size of my dog Finn, and they’re called Kevin Sparkle and Antoine Woodberry. On top of that there’s an owl called Beatrix, a chick called Linda, and a deer called Sha’ Dynasty,” Seyfried explained of her obsession on Conan O’Brien in 2012. “It’s a real menagerie.”
Every time she adds another member to her pet cemetery, she gives each departed creature a loving name.
“I have a chick I just got, her name is Linda. Well, she’s not alive. Her name would’ve been Linda,” she continued. The chick was named in tribute to Seyfried’s idol, the late Deep Throat actor Linda Lovelace, whom she played in the 2013 film, Lovelace.
Her taxidermy obsession began in the late 2000s after Seyfried paid a visit to Deyrolle, a taxidermy store in Paris. “It's one of the biggest taxidermy stores in the world,” she told InStyle in 2013. “I love animals so much. From 20 feet away these look real.” Entranced at the realistic look of these animals, whose carcasses are given new life, she has said she considers them works of art.
While the memory of your family pet lives on in your home, its body may be in Amanda Seyfried’s. And she’s not alone in finding beauty in the formerly living. Other celebrity taxidermy enthusiasts include Martha Stewart, who hosts game birds at her Maine property, Jack White, who owns a $12,500 elephant head, and Angelina Jolie, who acquired a flock of deceased birds after her child, Shiloh, brought one home.
"Shiloh found a dead bird, so she came in and said, 'Can I have a dead pet?'" Jolie told Vogue in 2010. "And I'm ... 'Uh-uh, I don't think it's healthy, honey. I think they have to put him in a box,' and I had to run out to find, like, a taxidermy bird. I just worked it out for her […] I figured that I couldn't keep the actual dead bird from the yard, so I swayed her toward one that had been cleaned, at least."
Seyfried suggested that part of the appeal of taxidermy is that it’s much easier caring for dead animals than it is live ones. You don’t say …
The real question, however, is does Seyfried find being surrounded by a bunch of lifeless, glassy-eyed creatures a bit creepy? “No!” she told this magazine back in 2013.
“Well, certain faces can be creepy. You have to buy what feels right […] My baby deer, Sha' Dynasty, was the most expensive one because I bought her from a French artist in L.A.”
Seyfried has admitted that she does have dreams where “the animals come alive and talk with me,” she told Conan. “There is an energy that you walk into when you walk into your house, there are these animals staring at you.”
“That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard,” O’Brien interrupted. (O’Brien later surprised the actor with a fun gift: a taxidermied raccoon attached to a jet pack.)
Ethicists be warned: all of her animals died of natural causes, she’s quick to point out. Though all of Seyfried’s dead pets join her living Australian shepherd, Finn, Seyfried considers her dog when making new acquisitions. (Her miniature horse was intended to be Finn's new best friend “unless he tries to eat it,” she told the UK Press Association.)
Though she has bought a zoo, Seyfried has admitted she is not finished adding to her chosen family. For now, she and husband Thomas Sadoski, are working on building her other family — the couple welcomed their second child earlier this week. We can only imagine what the blending of these two families will look like.