By Missy Schwartz
Updated January 03, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

The cineplex is no place for Thumper these days. In Rabbit-Proof Fence, starring Kenneth Branagh, slain hares are used as clues to track Australian aboriginal runaways. In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Gollum and his hobbit companions whip up fresh rabbit stew. And in Gangs of New York, Leonardo DiCaprio revives his late father’s Dead Rabbits, a rough-and-tumble crew that marks its territory with — you guessed it — skinned cottontails. While no animals were actually hurt in making the films, Warner Bros. spokesrabbit Bugs Bunny laments, ”It’s a shame that these are still the only types of parts being offered [to my kind].”