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Where in the world is ‘Banshees of Inisherin’ star Jenny the Donkey?

She’s one of the most high-profile stars of awards season, a screen newcomer whose scene-stealing debut performance has been flooded into countless columns, and whose name has been mentioned in countless acceptance speeches. But Jenny the miniature donkey – plucked from Equidae obscurity by Martin McDonagh and thrown into the A-list cast of his dark Irish comedy The Banshees of Inisherinwhere she went from hoof to toe with Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon — has been completely absent from the campaign trail.

Considering the accolades handed out to her co-stars, THR – who was on the Emerald Isle for the Dublin International Film Festival – hoped to track down Jenny so she could enjoy at least some of the attention. Sure, with the Oscars race in its final straight, producers and publicists would love to help with any last media push in the sprint to the finish line.

Not quite.

While Searchlight reps initially seemed interested in helping, they soon fell silent, eventually citing – a full week before the trip – the “lack of time” to arrange such a meeting (was Jenny sitting back-to-backs? ). But it later became clear that claims of a hectic schedule were just a cunning ruse. Not only did Jenny just not do any press, but her whereabouts were strictly tracked on a need-to-know basis.

“Jenny’s location is a closely guarded secret,” an insider said THR once in Dublin, admit that even they – someone who had actually worked on it banshees – was not in the necessary circle of trust to have been told.

As has been widely reported, when they were shooting for the film in 2021, producers paid Jenny to take early retirement (“We just didn’t want her to do shitty movies,” McDonagh had previously explained to THR). Several articles and social media posts claimed that she was now living happily in the Midland region of Ireland. But in other interviews, her on-set handler, Rita Moloney of Fircroft Animal Actors, said Jenny was with other miniature donkeys (apparently about five) somewhere in County Carlow, a little further south. In any case, emails were sent to several donkey shelters that fit the bill.

However, an exec who worked on the movie claimed it was THR that Jenny “was” in Carlow but had since “relocated”. They didn’t know where either.

Whether true or not, it felt like a carefully orchestrated subterfuge operation was deployed to keep fans and journalists alike at bay, even those who made an absolute commitment not to divulge Jenny’s location to anyone else. And this became even more apparent when every shelter contacted failed to respond. It is clear that all of Ireland went to great lengths to protect the country’s four-legged star from the pressures and pitfalls of fame. As the exec later claimed, “We just want her to enjoy her retirement in peace.”

Unfortunately without the time to just drive across Ireland with a picture of Jenny asking strangers if they had seen “this ass” (apparently now a bit bigger than in the movie – Condon revealed that she “filled in” the pictures she had ” had seen), THR gave up his search.

Perhaps Jenny does indeed want her post-banshees lives away from the cameras and has no interest in enjoying her 15 minutes. Or maybe, with the Oscars looming and one wrong move enough to tip the balance, publicists just don’t want an ass without media training making a fool of itself.

A version of this story first appeared in the March 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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