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Guilsfield's Hollywood ‘bad boy’

Created on 04/04/2012 @ 16:47
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The lush green fields of Guilsfield may be a long way from the sun kissed hilltops of Beverley Hills, but it has captured the heart of a Hollywood ‘bad boy’ who has wintered there for the last five years.
Acorn played a starring role in the 2005 family blockbuster Nanny McPhee as a hat wearing, dancing donkey alongside Oscar winners Emma Thompson (right) and Colin Firth, and in true Hollywood style, the ‘star’ splits his time – not between LA and London – but between his sanctuary in Shropshire and a small holding close to the Montgomeryshire village.
The donkey won the praise from film critics across the world after being chosen for the role ahead of dozens of wannabes, and he now regularly makes the top 10 of memorable film roles played by an animal. Acorn even has his own Facebook page set up by fans called ‘oh my, look how pretty she is’, ‘Nan, that’s the donkey from Nanny McPhee’.
But when it comes to wintering in Mid Wales, Hollywood is forgotten as he relaxes with his friend Alfie for six months of munching grass and entertaining children.
“He’s a very tame donkey, very responsive, a lot more-so when you're presenting treats, but he loves the attention just like a true movie star,” said Sheila Morgan, who looks after him. “He has come to us in October for the past five years and stays until May. He belongs to Stonehill Donkeys near Ellesmere, who hired him out to the film company after a vigorous selection process... well he was the only one who enjoyed wearing the hat!”
But, like other Hollywood A-listers, is Acorn (left) high maintenance?
“He’s got a custom-built shelter in the field, I wouldn't say it was the five-star luxury he experienced on set, but it keeps him dry!” said Sheila.
But it seems Acorn earned his bad boy reputation on set after leaving his mark on his Academy Award winning co-stars.
Thompson said she had “a real profound desire to hurt him” after Acorn refused to budge during some days of filming while Firth added that “there is the thing about not working with animals and children – I don't think that's true. Although you should never work with donkeys!”
Acorn is returning to his summer home next month, and if he doesn’t fancy Guilsfield next winter, he could always try a few miles up the road at AberMULE!
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