Ben sees Dartmoor Zoo rebuilt in Californian hills
DARTMOOR zoo boss Ben Mee has described watching Matt Damon portraying him on a Hollywood mock-up of the Sparkwell attraction as "surreal".
Mr Mee, pictured right, recently visited the set "a mile or so north of Los Angeles" where the movie, based on his memoir We Bought A Zoo, is being filmed.
"I went to the set – it was surreal," he said.
"They have rebuilt Dartmoor Zoo in the Californian hills.
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"Lots is structurally similar. The tiger enclosure looks the same."
He said it was also strange to see himself as played by Tinseltown heartthrob Damon.
"I saw him and thought 'I remember doing' that and here he is doing it," he said.
The movie, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden-Church and Colin Ford, is due to be released on December 23.
"I have just seen the trailer," Mr Mee told The Herald. "It's incredible. It's really come to life."
The movie, directed by Cameron Crowe, is based on the real story of how Mr Mee and his family took over the run-down Sparkwell Wildlife Park and its 200 animals in 2006, renaming it Dartmoor Zoological Park.