Three years ago, Michael Clarke Duncan, star of The Green Mile and The Finder, was eating a lot of meat—and he was feeling very sick. So when he turned 51, Duncan decided to try going vegetarian. He was so impressed by his improved health—and his lighter conscience—that the decision stuck. And now, Duncan is showing off his stronger-than-ever physique in a new ad campaign for PETA that proclaims, “I Am Michael Clarke Duncan, and I Am a Vegetarian.”

Michael Clarke Duncan for PETA
Michael Clarke Duncan for PETA

“The best thing about being a vegetarian for me, number one is I know I’m not harming any animals,” Duncan explained in an exclusive PETA interview. “The number two thing is increased strength. I’m a lot stronger than I was when I was eating meat.” Duncan elaborates: “Most of your most powerful animals in the wild are vegetarian, so I’m trying to get my strength to that level. I don’t know if I’ll make it or not, but elephants are vegetarians. They’re pretty big, so …”

In addition to countering a few myths about protein (“Don’t think that you have to have these gigantic steaks to get your protein. … The protein you put in from the beans, legumes, fresh fruits, and vegetables will last way longer, and you’ll get more out of it than you will in that 12 ounces of meat”), the Oscar nominee also opened up about the video — PETA’s Meet Your Meat — that changed his perspective on eating and talked about the 11 animals, including six cats and two dogs, who make up part of his family.

Duncan joins a growing list of celebrities — including Sir Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Casey Affleck, Russell Simmons, Cloris Leachman, Joaquin Phoenix, Forest Whitaker and Alicia Silverstone — who have teamed up with PETA to promote healthy and humane meat-free meals.

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